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    Delivering New Infrastructure for University Hospital Galway

    14 December 2015

    Delivering New Infrastructure for University Hospital Galway

    75 Bed Ward Block – Steel Frame (Image courtesy of GEM Elliott)

    The University Hospital Galway (UHG) campus is undergoing significant development with a number of projects currently under construction.

    RPS is providing civil and structural services to the HSE and UHG on a number of projects, including:

    Civil/Structural Technical Advisor on two design and build projects - a 240 space multi storey carpark, which was recently completed and a 50 bed Adult Acute Mental Health Unit (AAMHU), which will be constructed on an existing carpark on the campus

    Civil/Structural Designer on a three storey 75 bed ward block

    Providing civil / structural design services for a new three storey integrated medical laboratory services facility

    The three storey 75 Bed Ward Block is a challenging project, located on a site surrounded by three and five storey ward buildings and a maternity ward. As these wards are fully occupied with patients, careful environmental monitoring and management of noise, dust and vibration on site are critical.

    RPS has designed a steel frame structure for this extremely confined site, as it has the benefit of off-site fabrication and will meet the future flexibility requirements of the client. To mitigate risks and programme delays on this project, our team also designed an underground mechanical and electrical services tunnel to link the existing UHG maintenance plant rooms and service tunnels. All M&E services could then be installed and connected while services remained live. Site clearance and foundation works then commenced. This project is now ‘out of the ground’ and construction is due for completion in late 2016.

    Contact:
    Darren McCormack
    E: darren.mccormack@rpsgroup.com

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    Dublin Up – Article in CIWM Journal by RPS Director

    01 December 2015

    Dublin Up – Article in CIWM Journal by RPS Director

    Artist impression of completed waste to energy plant at Poolbeg

    RPS Director, PJ Rudden was recently invited to speak to CIWM on the implementation of the Dublin Regional Waste Management Strategy over 20 years. PJ is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and has led most of the regional waste management strategies and plans across Ireland since the mid-90s, together with a number of national studies on strategy, innovation, awareness building, recycling and communications.

    In a three-page article published in the CIWM Journal in November 2015, PJ charts the implementation of the 1998 waste strategy and the impact it will have on waste management in Dublin. This has meant introducing recycling followed by a waste to energy plant feeding electricity to 80,000 homes and district heating to a further 50,000 homes in Dublin City Centre. From a tradition of Dublin's waste being landfilled in surrounding rural counties outside of the city, to virtually none of its waste going to landfill by 2017, the implementation of the waste strategy will make Dublin one of Europe’s most sustainable cities in waste management terms. RPS has been responsible for strategy formulation, waste treatment studies, site selection, environmental assessment and procurement.

    The article ‘Dublin Up’ can be read in full here.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Carol Connery
    E: carol.connery@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Communications Director Conferred with Fellowship of Public Relations Institute of Ireland

    25 November 2015

    RPS Communications Director Conferred with Fellowship of Public Relations Institute of Ireland

    Image: Jason Clarke Photography

    RPS Communications Director, Neasa Kane-Fine has just been invited and appointed a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland in recognition of her contribution to the development of the Institute and the public relations profession in Ireland.

    Neasa leads the RPS Project Communications team which works with clients to engage with stakeholders and communities through the planning, construction and commissioning stages of infrastructure projects. She recently explained in Business & Finance Magazine how our dedicated team of communications professionals with engineering and technical backgrounds have been delivering engaging infrastructure projects for our clients.

    “Ignoring communications or thinking you can develop infrastructure by concentrating on getting planning permission without engaging with the people who will be affected by your project, is no longer acceptable,” says Neasa. “Communities and other stakeholders should be engaged with throughout, starting at the earliest opportunity when infrastructure projects are planned for their area; not just because the EU Aarhus Convention requires it – and it does – but because people can stop projects being built if they don’t appreciate the need for them and if they don’t have trust and confidence in the project promoters. On the other hand, we have so many examples of how informed stakeholders can enhance projects, thanks to trust that is gained over time.”

    Our communications people have backgrounds in construction, engineering, planning and environmental science. This allows them to appreciate and understand all aspects of infrastructure development. With their technical knowledge and experience, the team can interrogate issues deeply and develop robust content and focused strategies. This technical insight and expertise provides RPS with an edge to reach audiences with varying levels of knowledge.

    Infrastructure projects in which RPS’ communications experts have played an important role include Shell Corrib Gas Project, the M3 Motorway, the M50 Upgrade, Shanganagh Bray Wastewater Treatment project, Ballymun Regeneration, Dublin Waste to Energy, Greater Dublin Drainage, and energy projects for Coillte and EirGrid.

    Contact:
    Neasa Kane-Fine
    E: neasa.kane-fine@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS/GMIT Awarded Best Academic Paper at the Construction IT Alliance (CitA) BIM Gathering International Conference 2015

    20 November 2015

    RPS/GMIT Awarded Best Academic Paper at the Construction IT Alliance (CitA) BIM Gathering International Conference 2015

    Left to right: Dr. Mark Kelly, Mark Costello, Jim O’Connor and Gerard Nicholson

    RPS/GMIT were awarded Best Academic Paper for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Programme-Wide Implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) Processes using a Reciprocal Learning Framework” at the CITA BIM Gathering Conference on 13th November.

    This collaboration between the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and RPS has resulted in the development of an industry orientated Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Honours Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications). The delivery of this Higher Diploma to RPS staff on a pilot basis since 2013 has enabled GMIT to test, further develop and measure progress of this programme on the delivery of large infrastructure and building projects in the UK and Ireland while working in a collaborative BIM environment. It has enabled RPS to offer professional services on projects in the UK and Europe resulting in the award of major highways, water and gas projects. This has resulted in a significant increase in staff with a particular focus on employing ‘BIM-capable’ graduates.

    The winning paper charts the development and integration of BIM processes and learning requirements into the curriculum and research activities in the Department of Building and Civil Engineering at the GMIT over the last number of years, informed by a close collaboration with RPS. This academic-industry partnership has enabled the development of a reciprocal learning framework where industry best practice, curriculum development and research activities have been co-ordinated and utilised to address the educational challenges posed by the interdisciplinary nature of BIM. This collaborative initiative is the first of its type in Ireland and comes at a time when the demand from industry is at its peak.

    The authors of the paper are Mark Costello from RPS and Dr Mark Kelly, Jim O’Connor and Gerard Nicholson from GMIT. This is the second significant success for this industry - academia collaboration between RPS and GMIT. In late 2014, this initiative was shortlisted for the Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Company of the Year and Excellence Awards with a submission titled “The RPS BIM Revolution”. Another major outcome of this collaborative initiative is that RPS has become the leading local employer of GMIT graduates and a leader in the provision of BIM led project delivery in Ireland and the UK.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS pioneers in driving Environmental Sustainability in European Cities

    13 November 2015

    RPS pioneers in driving Environmental Sustainability in European Cities

    The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has recently published an article on ‘Environmental Sustainability of European Cities’ written by RPS. For five years RPS has managed the European Green Capital Award (EGCA), the European Commission’s flagship urban sustainability project. In 2015 this role expanded to include smaller towns and cities through the inaugural European Green Leaf (EGL) initiative which RPS has also managed. Through these flagship initiatives the European Commission strives to grow an environmental sustainability culture across Europe in line with the 7th Environmental Action Programme (7th EAP). The EGCA is open to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants and EGL is open to cities with a population between 20,000-100,000.

    Map of European Green Capital and Green Leaf Applicant and Winning Cities

    RPS has been Secretariat to DG Environment since 2010 and has provided extensive support and innovation in creating and developing these urban initiatives. An in-house multidisciplinary team approach has been used to provide this service using technical environmental and communication skills. RPS has delivered the challenging process associated with selecting the winning cities each year and communicating the award to stakeholders across Europe. This also included appointing and managing a panel of international experts across the 12 environmental indicators and 6 environmental categories for the European Green Capital Award and European Green Leaf competition respectively. RPS has been highly commended by the European Commission for the management of the initiatives.

    Today two thirds of Europeans live in urban areas; by 2050 four out of five Europeans will live in towns or cities. Sustainable development, and in particular sustainable urban living, will become ever more challenging over the next ten years as urban densities rise further. Europe is evolving into a primarily urban society and cities, by their nature, attract a range of environmental challenges that can be overcome using civil engineering solutions. In addition to this, sustainable urban living will be greatly assisted by the future digital age within which engineers and scientists will play a pivotal role in creating innovative new solutions. Urban areas exhibit the greatest stress on sustainable urban living measured through environmental indicators like traffic congestion, noise, climate change effects, issues of biodiversity, water consumption, wastewater treatment, waste generation, energy efficiency, eco-innovation and sustainable employment.

    The European Commission initiated the European Green Capital Award in 2010 and European Green Leaf in 2015 to reward the achievements of cities in terms of current environmental performance, plans for a more sustainable future and to act as a role model for other cities. This ICE publication paper describes notable civil engineering features of some of the winning European Green Capital cities to date which include Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, Ljubljana and most recently Essen. The Spanish city of Mollet del Vallès and the Portuguese city of Torres Vedras were the winners of the inaugural European Green Leaf 2015 announced in Bristol in June 2015.

    The ICE published paper can be accessed here.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Brenda McEvoy
    E: brenda.mcevoy@rpsgroup.com (European Green Capital Award)

    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com (European Green Leaf)

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    rx3 Final Report on Waste Prevention and Recycling Launched

    12 November 2015

    rx3 Final Report on Waste Prevention and Recycling Launched

    The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has just published the final report on the ‘rx3 – Rethink Recycle Remake’ market development programme managed by RPS consultants over the past 6 years.

    rx3 Project Manager Olivier Gaillot presenting the rx3 Final Report to Margaret Daly, Chair of Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government Market Development Group joined by Liz Fingleton and Kate Cronin, Founders of Obeo. (Image: Jason Clarke Photography)

    rx3 was a new national platform set up in 2008 to assist national waste recycling for paper, plastics and organics based on resource efficiency. The main focus was on closing the material loop, through the development of markets for reusable, remanufactured and recyclable materials. This closed loop recycling project correctly anticipated the new ‘circular economy’ policy by the EU Commission favouring eco-innovation, economic development and job creation.

    Three types of actions have been completed by rx3 and advisory reports are available online at www.rx3.ie and summary of outcomes are available in the final report:

    Technical – e.g. the development of materials standards and systems of quality control so that the market can have confidence in the product’s consistency and reliability

    Communications – overcoming barriers due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the possible benefits of recycled materials and their availability by creating dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders

    Economic Incentives – supporting innovation and jobs, product development and cross-sectoral initiatives between those managing the waste and those creating new products

    The final report found that the rx3 interventions were wide ranging and impactful. Despite the economic crisis that overlapped with the programme, rx3 contributed to economic recovery, value creation (including intellectual property), job creation and to an increase in municipal material recycling rates to 35% in 2012. Municipal composting and anaerobic digestion rates also increased.

    The project was of key strategic importance to the greening of the Irish economy and to the development of green enterprises in Ireland. The report found that rx3 had proactively contributed to addressing key strategic areas including: Environmental Innovation and R&D, Low Carbon Economy, Green Enterprise, Green Economy, Economic Instruments to enhance the Green Economy and Benefits of North South Cooperation. In recognition of these achievements, rx3 won the Green Public Sector Award at the 2013 National Green Awards.

    Accepting the Green Public Sector Award in 2013: Louise Connolly, Olivier Gaillot, Margaret Daly, PJ Rudden, Brenda McEvoy and Conor McGovern. (Image: Green Awards 2013)

    One of the beneficiaries of the market development programme was new start-up company Obeo who now make and sell compostable food waste boxes which are available in major retail outlets nationwide and online.

    ”We couldn’t have set up Obeo as a start-up out of NCAD without the guidance and support of rx3 who were of tremendous assistance” stated Kate Cronin, Obeo Founder.

    “This project represented a fundamental mind shift from the old ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ tag line to a more holistic approach ‘Rethink Recycle Remake’ emphasising the role of eco design thinking aimed at waste prevention and the need to close the manufacturing loop by reusing and recycling materials as far as possible” said PJ Rudden, RPS Director. “If you can’t recycle it, then you should not make it. Also central to the circular economy is the necessary recycling and recovery of waste to practically eliminate landfill” he concluded.

    Contact:
    Olivier Gaillot
    E: olivier.gaillot@rpsgroup.com

    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

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    LEEDing the Way in Sustainable Buildings

    05 November 2015

    LEEDing the Way in Sustainable Buildings

    Images: Donal Murphy Photography

    RPS has achieved LEED Gold Certification for the new 4,900m2 Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform offices in Tipperary Town.

    We were appointed in 2010 by Stewart and the OPW to act as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant for the project. LEED is the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) internationally recognised certification for the design, construction, and operation of high performance sustainable buildings and developments. Buildings are assessed across a number of areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. Buildings can qualify for four levels of certification: LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold and LEED Platinum.

    Our role on this project was to ensure that the development was specified according to the sustainability principles of the LEED certification system and that design and construction met the requirements of the LEED rating system to achieve the target of LEED Gold. This involved input to design team meetings and coordinating all of the stakeholders to ensure the delivery of the appropriate drawings and documents for review by the USGBC.

    RPS’ experience in sustainable design, including waste prevention, minimisation and management and energy efficiency has proved hugely beneficial in the LEED process.

    This is only the 3rd new construction project in Ireland to achieve LEED Gold certification. RPS currently has four other projects in the LEED process, including the development of the new IDA buildings in Castlebar and Sligo.

    Contact:
    Brian McIntyre
    E: brian.mcintyre@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Designers for A9 Dualling Kincraig to Dalraddy in Scotland

    29 October 2015

    RPS Designers for A9 Dualling Kincraig to Dalraddy in Scotland

    Aerial View – Extracted from RPS Scheme Model

    RPS has been appointed as Lead Designer by a joint venture of Wills Bros Civil Engineering and John Paul Construction for the A9 Kincraig to Dalraddy Design and Build Road Scheme for Transport Scotland.

    At the project sod turning ceremony on 10th September, Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Secretary, Keith Brown said the start of the work was “an important milestone in what will be one of the largest and most challenging infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history.”

    The A9 is a vital strategic route linking central Scotland to Inverness, the Highlands and Islands. This scheme is the first section of the ambitious A9 Dualling Programme, which will deliver approx. 130 km of upgraded road between Perth and Inverness by 2025. The £36m contract for almost 9 km of dualling is expected to be completed by summer 2017.

    A multidisciplinary team from RPS offices across Ireland and the UK will deliver the project:

    Highways, geotechnical and civil design (Galway)

    Structural and bridge design (Cork)

    Environmental Surveys, design services and Ecological Clerk of Works services (Edinburgh)

    Archaeological monitoring and advice (Edinburgh)

    Landscaping design and supervision (Belfast)

    Principal Designer under CDM regulations (Newark)

    The project is a clear demonstration of RPS capacity to deliver major multidisciplinary projects, using complimentary skills across many offices. It will be the second major DB project that RPS has delivered in Scotland, building on our design of the £400 million M8/M73/M74 Upgrade DBFO which involves people from eight RPS offices in Ireland and UK.

    Contact:
    Christy O’Sullivan, Highways Director
    E: christy.osullivan@rpsgroup.com

    Jill Simpson, Associate Director of Ecology
    E: jill.simpson@rpsgroup.com

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    New Pedestrian Bridge to link Cork Suburbs to City Park

    21 October 2015

    New Pedestrian Bridge to link Cork Suburbs to City Park

     
    Tramore Valley Park
    (Image: Peter Barrow)

    RPS has recently been appointed by Cork County Council to provide design and planning services for a new cycle and pedestrian bridge in Cork. The new bridge will span the N40 Cork South Ring Road near the Kinsale Road Interchange. It will link the city suburbs of Grange, Frankfield and Douglas with Tramore Valley Park, the new community amenity being developed on the former Kinsale Road Landfill.

    RPS completed the final phase of the engineering remediation work at Tramore Valley Park this summer, facilitating the continuing transformation of the site from an operational landfill to a multi-faceted parkland amenity. This work was part of Phase 1 in the overall park development and included engineering elements as well as more amenity-focused works.

    Amenities provided for the local community are:

    Munster’s only international standard BMX track

    5 km of paths and trails, including biodiversity trails and bird hides

    Multi-use events area

    Pavilion building with changing facilities and public toilets

    Parking for 200 vehicles

    Eastern access route into Douglas via Tramore River Bank

    International Standard BMX Track at Tramore Valley Park
    (Image: F22 Photography)

    The new bridge will make it much easier for families in the suburbs to access the parkland amenity, without having to navigate heavy traffic. Currently, there is no direct walking route and people going to the park from Grange or Frankfield have to go through the main city artery. The bridge will improve sustainable transport options for thousands of people to the city centre.

    Tramore Valley Park is a good example of RPS’ multidisciplinary capability, with our team providing civil & structural, environmental, mechanical & electrical and landfill engineering services associated with the development. The project also involves innovative reuse of construction and demolition waste, as park benches were formed from gabion cages filled with crushed concrete, recycled from demolished grain silos in the Cork City docklands.

    Contact:
    Kieran Ruane (Bridges)
    E: kieran.ruane@rpsgroup.com

    Frank Maguire (Tramore Valley Park - Remediation & Development)
    E: frank.maguire@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS to Deliver New River Liffey Bridge

    30 September 2015

    RPS to Deliver New River Liffey Bridge

     
    Image: Shutterstock

    RPS, in a joint venture with Flint & Neill UK, has just been appointed by Dublin City Council to deliver a new bridge over the River Liffey for pedestrian & cyclist use.

    The RPS Flint & Neill team is responsible for the options study, planning, detailed design and construction stages of the proposed bridge, which will be located between the East Link Bridge and the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Our team will design an ‘opening’ bridge to facilitate demand-led openings and maintain access for sea going vessels and the increasing water based activity and events in this thriving location.

    The bridge will be over 130m in length and construction is programmed to commence in 2017.

    Image: Tony Magee, RPS

    The new bridge is required as part of the North Lotts & Grand Canal Dock Strategic Development Zone (the planning scheme for Dublin Docklands), which proposes an additional 20,000 new jobs to the Docklands area. The new bridge over the Liffey is critical to reduce pressure on the Samuel Beckett Bridge and East Link Bridge at peak times for pedestrians and cyclists. The development of the proposed bridge will also link the north and south sides of the Liffey and the Grand Canal Dock area both physically and in people’s minds, which will assist in the promotion of an integrated Docklands destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) critical to the Irish economy.

    Tony Magee, Director Buildings & Structures, stated ‘’Both RPS and Flint & Neill are working on the Mersey Gateway Bridge, the landmark cable stay bridge in Liverpool currently under construction - Flint & Neill as Bridge Designer and RPS as the Technical Adviser to the lenders including construction monitoring. RPS and Flint & Neill have an enviable track record as designers of landmark and award winning bridges and bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Liffey Bridge project ‘’.

    Contact:
    Tony Magee
    E: tony.magee@rpsgroup.com

    Kenny Mason
    E: kenny.mason@rpsgroup.com

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    Research Paper Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin

    25 August 2015

    Research Paper Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin

    Oyster Trestle Cultivation (image J Forde)

    A peer-review research paper authored by RPS Marine Ecologist Dr James Forde has been published in Marine Pollution Bulletin.

    James, who is based at our Galway office, wrote the paper ‘Impact of intertidal oyster trestle cultivation on the Ecological Status of benthic habitats’ (Forde, J., et al., 2015) as part of a project undertaken by RPS on behalf of Ireland’s Marine Institute.

    The project’s focus included field work and research on the impact of aquaculture activities within Natura 2000 sites in support of national efforts on Appropriate Assessment as required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. RPS was commissioned to design and execute extensive benthic surveys at six oyster cultivation sites within designated Natura 2000 sites. The aim was to inform the development of a systematic approach to assess and compare impacts associated with oyster culture activity on intertidal sedimentary habitats (and associated communities) across multiple geographical sites.

    The novel approach developed by RPS involved using Water Framework Directive tools to compare communities and habitats across oyster trestle sites based on the sensitivity of faunal communities to disturbance impacts. The approach highlighted the potential of Water Framework Directive tools for the management of aquaculture activity and successfully delivered the information required to support national efforts in assessing impacts from aquaculture operations.

    The approach also provides a means for assessing the conservation status and the relative effectiveness of conservation objectives for communities and habitats under the Habitats Directive. Applying this common approach to assessments for the Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive has the potential to strengthen both Directives and may be used as justification for future attempts towards integrating sampling programmes. Integrating sampling programmes would present an efficient way of addressing Ireland’s monitoring obligations under the Directives.

    Contact:
    James Forde
    E: james.forde@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Secures Planning Permission for New National Forensic Mental Service Hospital

    21 August 2015

    RPS Secures Planning Permission for New National Forensic Mental Service Hospital

    Site Layout of Permitted NFMHS Hospital, Portrane

    An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for a new National Forensic Mental Service Hospital in Portrane, County Dublin.

    The new facility is to replace the existing Central Mental Hospital located in Dundrum, Dublin. The proposed 25,324m² development will comprise a 170 bedroom campus hospital on a site of approximately 12.9 hectares. This includes a 130 bed forensic service, a 30 bed intensive care rehabilitiation unit and a 10 bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit. It will be the only centre in the state providing mental health care in conditions of maximum and medium security.

    RPS has provided strategic planning support to the national Health Service Executive (HSE) and design team from the inception of the project to date. This included the management of a feasibility study for the lands to allow for a variation to the Fingal County Development Plan. RPS also prepared the SEA Report on behalf of Fingal County Council.

    The site, within the grounds of St. Ita’s Hospital (112 hectares), provided a number of challenges to the design and environmental team. St. Ita’s is a large red-brick building complex dating from the late 1800s/early 1900s which includes a series of protected structures and is an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). The site also has a number of Development Plan Designations for protection of woodland and amenities as well as protected views. The site is located in a ‘High Amenity’ zoning under the Fingal County Development Plan which presented challenges to the provision of the hospital.

    As part of the planning services for the project, the RPS Planning team led a series of pre-application consultations with the Board, the planning authority and local organisations. We also managed and co-ordinated the EIS for the project and prepared a response to the issues raised by local stakeholders in relation to the project. A Site Selection Report was also prepared by RPS examining potential alternative sites from an environmental perspective.

    Contact:
    Rory Kunz
    E: rory.kunz@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS wins Public Sector Planning and Environment Award for Dublin Waste Strategy & Poolbeg project

    24 July 2015

    RPS wins Public Sector Planning and Environment Award for Dublin Waste Strategy & Poolbeg project

     

    RPS has been named winner of the 'Planning and Environment Award' in the Excellence in Business Awards by Public Sector Magazine in Dublin this week.

    Pictured at the award ceremony are Gerry Carty MD RPS, Michael Phillips Dublin City Engineer/Assistant Chief Executive, Carol Connery Technical Director RPS, James Nolan Executive Engineer Dublin City Council and P J Rudden Director RPS

    RPS and our client Dublin City Council accepted the award for the 'achievements of the Integrated Dublin Waste Strategy and Poolbeg Project.' The full implementation of the strategy will mean practically no landfilling of waste from Dublin post 2017 with the commissioning of the Poolbeg project.

    The waste to energy project at Poolbeg is currently under construction and will process some 600,000 tonnes of waste per annum generating enough electricity for 80,000 homes as well as district heating potential for upwards on 50,000 homes.

    The project is part of the integrated waste management strategy recommended to the four Dublin Authorities by an international consortium of consultants led by RPS and adopted in 1998. The strategy set up new waste awareness measures and introduced maximum recycling for all Dublin households using source separation into green, brown and black bins. The green and brown bin waste goes for recycling and energy will be generated from the black bin waste at the Poolbeg project. The strategy represents a 20 year vision which now looks about to be realised thanks to the implementation efforts of Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. The strategy was formulated after an extensive period of public consultation and stakeholder engagement where the ‘public call for action’ was for waste prevention, greatly increased recycling and minimum landfill.

    'The original aim of the strategy was to reduce landfill of Dublin waste from 90% down to 15% within 20 years but we now believe that 'zero landfill' can be achieved by maximising both recycling and energy recovery. This is totally in accordance with the most recent Irish and EU waste policies making better use of our waste resources and supporting the transition to a circular economy. Waste is now recognised as a resource which should neither be landfilled nor exported but processed to create new materials, energy, enterprise and jobs at home' stated P J Rudden, RPS Director who was responsible for the original waste strategy formulation and the planning and environment aspects of the Poolbeg project.

    'We are very proud of this award as it recognises over 15 years of concentrated effort by RPS assisting the local authorities to make real change in how the capital's waste is managed more sustainably. We didn't expect it but are nevertheless grateful to see recognition of the success of the waste strategy by a combination of public and private enterprise to achieve the ambitious recycling and recovery goals. As a result Dublin is fast becoming a leading European city in sustainable waste management' he concluded.

    RPS has a national and international track record in environmental management. We managed the 'rx3 - Rethink Recycle Remake' project for five years (2008-2013) for Department of Environment Community and Local Government winning the Public Sector Green Award in 2013. Other recent environmental assignments include authoring the 'Guidance on Green Procurement for the Public Sector' completed for the EPA in 2014 and the consultancy of the European Green Capital Award Secretariat for the EU Commission across the 28 Member States since 2010 with winning cities Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, Ljubljana and Essen to date. This year RPS also assisted all of Ireland's local authorities in the formulation of the third generation of Regional Waste Plans (2015 – 2021) which were recently adopted based on 'circular economy' and 'zero landfill' concepts.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com


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    New Motorway Supervised by RPS Opens Ahead of Schedule

    17 July 2015

    New Motorway Supervised by RPS Opens Ahead of Schedule

     

    The M11 Rathnew to Arklow motorway was officially opened on Monday 13th July by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Brendan Howlin TD.

    The 16.5km project was completed seven weeks ahead of programme and will reduce journey times by between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. It comprises 16.5km of toll-free 2 lane motorway, two grade separated junctions, eight bridges, realignment of sections of the old N11 and link roads to tie into the existing road network.

    RPS is the National Roads Authority’s Representative on this €282m PPP project since 2009, which also includes the N7 Newlands Cross Junction Upgrade which opened in November 2014 and a motorway service area on the Gorey Bypass due to open shortly.

    The completion of this project provides approximately 280km of continuous motorway or dual carriageway between Gorey and Belfast. This scheme is expected to have significant safety benefits for the approximate 20,000 road users who use this route daily, as it removes traffic from the old N11 which has a series of dangerous bends at Ballinameesda.

    Speaking at the official opening, Minister Brendan Howlin said ‘Upgrading the existing national N11 route to motorway standard is an important step forward. Not only is it a new link to our existing motorway network but it will improve safety and operational efficiency and shorten journey times. For business, commuters, tourists and visitors, it will improve connectivity times in the east and to the south east.’

    Contact:
    Angela Grady
    E: angela.grady@rpsgroup.com


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    Iconic Gobbins Cliff Path Restoration Completes Soon

    08 July 2015

    Iconic Gobbins Cliff Path Restoration Completes Soon

     

    The iconic Gobbins Cliff path in Islandmagee, Co Antrim is nearing completion after a £6.4m path restoration and visitor centre building project.

    The Gobbins is an area of basalt sea cliffs, up to 60m in height, on the east coast of Northern Ireland.

    The Gobbins path was originally designed by visionary engineer Berkeley Dean Wise and built in 1902, and in its heyday attracted more visitors than the Giant's Causeway but fell into disrepair following the Second World War and was closed to the public in 1954. It is being reinstated at a cost of £4.2m, with an associated visitor centre that is combined with a local community centre built at a cost of £2.2m. Larne Borough Council provided more than half of the funding for the scheme, the balance is grant funding from EU INTERREG IV and Ulster Garden Villages. RPS were appointed by Larne Borough Council to lead an Integrated Consulting Team to undertake the project management, design, planning application, procurement, environmental monitoring and contract administration of the two construction contracts for the reconstruction of the Gobbins Coastal Path and construction of the visitor centre.

    The name ‘Gobbins’ comes from the Irish ‘An Gobain’, meaning ‘the points of rock’. Legends associated with the Gobbins include mythical figures such as Gobbin Saor, a terrifying giant who lived in the cliffs. The project will revive the original Gobbins cliff path, installed in 1902 by Berkeley Dean Wise, and consists of a series of spectacular bridges and gantries.

    The concept design for the Gobbins project was completed by RPS' Mark McConnell and Sinead Henry which involved the restoration of a 750m long coastal path, including the provision of approx. 23 stainless steel structures incorporating bridges which range from 5m to 35m in span, hand railing and walkway structures inside a cave known as The Tunnel. The team sympathetically designed the iconic 17m Hoop Bridge at the Man‘O’War sea stack site and also the suspension bridge at Gordon's Leap to replicate the original 1902 Berkeley Dean Wise designs. During the design and construction stage RPS engineers utilised their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to capture video and photography which enabled them to carry out cost effective site inspections.

    The project is located within The Gobbins ASSI (Area of Special Scientific Interest) that is designated due to the maritime plant communities, the large seabird colonies and the unique geology found at the cliffs. Working within an ASSI- RPS Planning Director Raymond Holbeach and his team completed detailed ecological surveys and liaised closely with NIEA to ensure the proposed works did not impact on the qualifying features of the Gobbins ASSI. Mitigation measures were agreed with NIEA in advance of the submission of the planning application. Such measures included limited works along the path between March-August to avoid any impact on the breeding seabird colony (including kittiwakes and razorbills of which 1.6% and 1.1% of the Ireland population are found at the Gobbins Cliffs), no netting of the cliffs, and controlled scaling of the cliff face with an ornithologist present.

    One of the key challenges was access explains Project Manager, Morgan Haylett– “The coastal path is located in a remote coastal environment, at the base of 60m high cliffs. The shallow water depths and exposed location precluded the use of marine plant for the project. Therefore the design of the structures and handrailing facilitates segmental/lightweight construction where possible and minimises the number of heavy lifts required over the cliff edge”.

    The Gobbins Coastal path is one of two RPS projects that have been shortlisted for the UK wide British Construction Industry Award, Civil Engineering Project of the Year – the awards are to be held in London this coming October.

    Tourism NI's Kathleen McBride said: “It showcases the shoreline, it showcases the people of Northern Ireland and it is just a great facility and a great new attraction to have, it complements what we already have on the Causeway Coastal route. We have the Giants Causeway, we have Carrick-a-rede, we have the shore road and the coastal road”.

    “This is a fantastic facility in Islandmagee and a fantastic attraction.”.

    The Gobbins Coastal Path is scheduled for completion in summer 2015.

    Panorama of Gobbins Cliff path restoration in progress earlier this year.


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    Work Underway on Resource Efficiency Project for the EU Commission

    22 June 2015

    Work Underway on Resource Efficiency Project for the EU Commission

     

    ‘Resource Efficient Use of Mixed Waste’ is a new European Commission project, led by BIO by Deloitte in partnership with RPS, BRE, the Belgian-based Institute for Consultancy and Studies in Sustainable Development (ICEDD), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCT) of NOVA University Lisbon.

    The particular focus of the study is on Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) and it will run until April 2016. The study aims to investigate the current CDW management situation in EU Member States, identifying obstacles to recycling and potential deficiencies that could lead to non-compliance with EU waste legislation.

    RPS is covering CDW management in Ireland and providing input in relation to the assessment of CDW statistics and identification of good practices related to creating conditions for a sustainable management of CDW.

    Good practice in terms of creating conditions for increasing CDW recycling and for improving the quality of recycling and recovery will be identified and a set of recommendations to address potential barriers will be formulated. Success stories of efficient CDW management will also be showcased in six case studies, illustrating key elements for success, as well as the necessary preconditions.

    Finally, the credibility of official CDW statistics will be assessed, identifying the sources of inaccuracy and proposing measures for improvement. The outcome of the study will be discussed at a seminar in Brussels in March 2016.

    This project is particularly relevant to Ireland, as:

    The construction and demolition sector is an area that is associated with significant resource use and waste production

    Ireland is emerging from the economic downturn, which had a disastrous effect on this sector and increased construction activity is needed to stimulate the economy, produce jobs and to alleviate a potential housing shortage

    There is significant potential to make these activities much more sustainable from design, construction, operation and demolition and to develop a “cradle to cradle” view of the sector.

    Contact:
    Olivier Gaillot
    E: olivier.gaillot@rpsgroup.com


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    Launch of Ireland’s Three New Regional Waste Management Plans

    26 May 2015

    Launch of Ireland’s Three New Regional Waste Management Plans

    Ireland's three new Regional Waste Management Plans were published recently, covering the new Eastern-Midlands, Connacht-Ulster and Southern Regions for the period 2015 – 2021.

    At the launch of the Southern Region Plan, left to right: PJ Rudden (RPS), Micheál Spillane (RPS), Philippa King (Regional Waste Coordinator, Southern Region), Warren Phelan (RPS), Pauline McDonagh (Waste Prevention Coordinator, Southern Region), Carol Sweetnam (Executive Scientist, Southern Region) and Margaret Murphy (Regional Waste Minimisation Advisor, Southern Region).

    In 2012, National Waste Policy reduced the number of waste regions in the Republic of Ireland from ten to three. The plans published this week, the third generation of waste plans for the state, are the first to reflect this new structure.

    Since early 2014, RPS has been assisting and supporting all of the local authorities across the three regions in the preparation of the Regional Waste Management Plans. We have also completed Strategic Environmental Assessments and Appropriate Assessments for each of the plans.

    The strategic vision of these regional waste plans is to rethink our approach to managing wastes, by viewing our waste streams as valuable material resources that can contribute to a healthier environment and sustainable commercial opportunities for our economy. They strive to improve the recovery and generation of energy by maximising the resource value and the energy embodied in our waste materials. They promote a move to a circular economy, in which we make better use of our resources.

    Key overall targets for all of the plans include eliminating unprocessed residual waste going to landfill from next year, increasing municipal recycling rates to 50% by 2020 and to reduce the amount of household waste generated by 1% each year over the six years of the plans. Each of the plans underwent extensive public consultation during their development; they have been informed and shaped by the people and stakeholders in the regions.

    The regional waste plans were formally made by the Chief Executives of each local authority on May 12th, with implementation to span six years. The treatment infrastructure required represents a potential investment of €500 million over the period.

    RPS' involvement in the preparation of these new generation waste management plans continues our long association with waste planning in Ireland since the first regional plans were published in the late 1990s.

    Contact:
    Warren Phelan
    E: warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

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    Reservoir Inundation Modelling for Scotland

    07 May 2015

    Reservoir Inundation Modelling for Scotland

    The RPS Belfast office has been providing flood risk management services under the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Framework for the last 3 years.

    This framework was established to assist SEPA in their role as the competent authority in delivering the requirements of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, thus ensuring Scotland's compliance with the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC).

    A key requirement of the Act was to assign a provisional risk designation to all reservoirs with a capacity threshold above 10,000m3.

    RPS won the contract to undertake the hydraulic modelling and inundation mapping of 361 dams of varying size and type across Scotland. Our team applied best practice methods in hydrograph generation for the uncontrolled release of water from each dam and used InfoWorks RS 2D to derive the potential flood extents.

    Reservoir Inundation Mapping was produced as required under the Act. This provided SEPA and the dam owners with the required information to develop appropriate inspection and maintenance regimes for each dam.

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    Engineering Excellence Award

    01 April 2015

    Engineering Excellence Award

     

    RPS has won the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering for its work on Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant Stage 3. The award was presented at the annual dinner and awards ceremony on Friday 27th March in Dublin.

    ACEI President Brian Homan presents the award (l – r): Sean Twohig (RPS), Padraig Doyle (Dublin City Council), ACEI President Brian Homan, Gerry Carty (RPS) Tom Leahy (Irish Water), Joanna Crummie (RPS), and Grellan McGrath (RPS).

    The Ballymore Eustace Plant is Ireland’s largest water treatment plant supplying 22% of Ireland’s entire population across Dublin City, Kildare, Dun Laoghaire and South Dublin. The plant provides up to 318 million litres of water daily with a peak capacity of 400 million litres. It is the culmination of a 30 year plan designed to provide Dublin with a state of the art, cost effective water supply. The facility is not only capable of meeting the current demands, but it can meet the needs of the greater Dublin area until a longer term new source is developed after 2020.

    RPS has been involved in the planning and development of the Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant since 1983. RPS completed the detailed design, procurement and construction supervision of this Stage 3 development on behalf of Dublin City Council. It took over six years to complete and involved staff from across our Irish offices. The €120m project included a combination of existing plant refurbishment and new plant construction, all delivered within a live treatment plant without interrupting supply or compromising water quality. It was substantially completed in 2013 and included over 1,500,000 construction man hours, 40,000m3 of concrete and 5,500 tons of steel.

    As well as providing a robust water supply, the innovative project minimises energy consumption and CO2 emissions, protects the environment via a purpose built wastewater management facility, and provides the lowest cost water in the country at 6.5 cent/m3.


    Contact:

    Grellan McGrath
    grellan.mcgrath@rpsgroup.com


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    Launch of Gas to the West Northern Ireland

    10 March 2015

    Launch of Gas to the West Northern Ireland

    On 4th March, the Gas to the West development was launched in Enniskillen by Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster.

    The £250m development, which will be built and managed by Mutual Energy and Scotia Gas Networks (SGN), will extend the natural gas network to connect 40,000 homes and businesses. It will supply a number of towns across the west of Northern Ireland, such as Enniskillen, Strabane, Dungannon, Coalisland, Omagh, Cookstown, Derrylin and Magherafelt via two projects.

    RPS has been appointed to provide planning, environmental and engineering services on the high pressure pipeline project to supply Enniskillen, Dungannon, Coalisland, Omagh, Cookstown, Derrylin and Magherafelt. An expert, multi-disciplinary team from our Belfast, Letterkenny, Dublin, Cork and Galway offices, has already begun work on this key infrastructure project. This project will involve construction of approximately 200km of pipeline extending from Portadown and linking the towns to the existing NI gas network with construction expected to start in early 2017 and first gas by the end of 2017.

    The route is predominantly rural but crosses the A4 trunk road and the A4, A5 and A29 major routes. There are numerous river crossings, including the River Blackwater and Lough Erne.

    Speaking at the launch, Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said “The Northern Ireland Executive is investing up to £32.5m to bring gas to homes and businesses in the west of Northern Ireland, and the award of licences by the Utility Regulator to Mutual Energy and Scotia Gas Networks is another key milestone in the process.”

    RPS is also providing environmental and planning service for the sister project to provide gas to Strabane by late 2016 via a 35km pipeline from Maydown. These two projects will bring greater energy choice for consumers in these towns and increase the potential for homes and businesses to use a cleaner, more efficient fuel.

     

    Contact:

    PJ Rudden
    pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Malcolm Brian
    malcolm.brian@rpsgroup.com

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    European Green Leaf Award Launched for Smaller Cities

    09 March 2015

    European Green Leaf Award Launched for Smaller Cities

    European Green Leaf is a new competition launched by the EU Commission from 2015. It is aimed at cities, with between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, to recognise their commitment to better environmental outcomes and achievements in green growth.

    The EU Commission already highlights European best practice through the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) and this new initiative will recognise the efforts of smaller cities to strive towards environmental excellence. The new award will be presented on an annual basis in conjunction with the EGCA from 2015. The environmental recognition will be given to a city that demonstrates a good environmental record and green growth commitment; actively seeks to develop citizens' environmental awareness; and can act as a “green ambassador” to encourage other cities.

    RPS has been appointed by the EU Commission to manage the initial pilot European Green Leaf competition after EU procurement procedures. “We have managed the EGCA project in technical, environmental and communications terms for the past four years, including appointment and management of the independent expert panel.” stated PJ Rudden, RPS Director, who is also Director of the European Green Capital Secretariat.

    “European Green Leaf will provide smaller urban communities with a platform to showcase their environmental achievements. The cities that will be bestowed with a European Green Leaf will be a valuable example for other cities and towns to learn from and compete with.” said Karl Falkenberg, Director-General for Environment, EU Commission.

    The competition is open for applications until 31st March 2015. A panel of internationally acknowledged experts will assess the applications based on six environmental categories:

    Climate change & energy performance

    Mobility

    Biodiversity & land use

    Quality of air & the acoustic environment

    Waste & green economy

    Water management (including wastewater treatment)

    Shortlisted cities will be announced in May 2015 and the Jury will then assess the shortlisted cities based on their video applications. The 2015 European Green Leaf will be awarded at the EGCA Awards Ceremony in Bristol in June 2015.

    For more information on the European Green Leaf initiative or the European Green Capital Award, visit http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_en.htm.

     

    Contact:

    PJ Rudden
    pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Louise Connolly
    louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    FreeTrade Ireland Shortlisted for Green Technology Award

    02 March 2015

    FreeTrade Ireland Shortlisted for Green Technology Award

    FreeTrade Ireland, the reuse website managed by RPS, has been shortlisted for the Green Technology Award 2015.

    The Green Awards, now in their 7th year, celebrate excellence in sustainability and environmental awareness among Ireland’s green organisations and individuals. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 8th April.

    FreeTrade Ireland is a national waste prevention service with benefits for households, communities and businesses. The initiative is free, accessible and facilitates a longer life for valuable items. Users of the service can pass on unwanted items saving the hassle and cost of traveling to a local recycling centre or of hiring a skip. There is the added benefit of helping someone else that wants the item.

    The service is funded under the EPA's National Waste Prevention Programme and is promoted by the local authorities around the country. It has been in operation nationally since July 2010 and has over 51,000 users. The service has enabled the reuse of more than 94,000 items diverting an estimated 1,044,000 kg away from landfill through reuse and saving its users more than €6.7 million. In 2015, FreeTrade will reach the milestone of 100,000 items reused since it began life as a Dublin based service in 2006.

    In addition to managing the innovative web-based service, RPS has also led the development of the FreeTrade Ireland App, one of the first smart phone services developed and funded by local authorities in Ireland.

     

    Contact:

    Warren Phelan
    warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

    Brian McIntyre
    brian.mcintyre@rpsgroup.com

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    Bristol Becomes European Green Capital 2015

    30 January 2015

    Bristol Becomes European Green Capital 2015

    In December 2014, Bristol was officially handed the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) title for 2015 from the EU Commission. Bristol follows on from Copenhagen, the 2014 European Green Capital and plans to emphasise the importance of finding shared solutions to environmental challenges, with a programme focused on Learning, Innovation and Leadership.

    Image: RPS
    Brenda McEvoy, RPS Project Manager of EGCA Secretariat; Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson; Mr Nicholas Banfield, Director of Strategy, DG Environment - EU Commission; and PJ Rudden, RPS Director of EGCA Secretariat at the handover ceremony in December 2014 in Copenhagen.

    Today more than two thirds of Europeans live in towns and cities. Urban areas concentrate most of the environmental challenges facing our society, but also can bring together commitment and innovation to resolve them.

    Bristol impressed the Jury with its investment plans for transport and energy. Carbon emissions have consistently reduced in the city since 2005, despite a growing economy. Almost a fifth of residents walk to work and 90% live within 300m of parklands or waterways. The city's low carbon economy employs around 9,000 people and in 2014 it was named 'best place to live in the UK' by the Sunday Times.

    Speaking at the handover ceremony, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “Citizens of Bristol should be very proud, and I congratulate them on winning the title of European Green Capital 2015. Bristol offers inspiration to other European cities that also want to evolve towards a greener future.”

    Commissioner Vella also launched the European Green Leaf, a competition for smaller European cities that show a strong commitment to green growth and a sustainable urban environment. “Size isn't everything – especially when it comes to the environment. The Green Leaf is aimed at cities with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, and more than 450 European cities can now apply. So many stories to share – make sure we hear them!” he said.

    The European Green Leaf, aimed at cities with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, will also be awarded on an annual basis by the European Commission. It will recognise commitment to better environmental outcomes, with a particular accent on efforts that generate green growth and new jobs. The competition is open for applications until 31 March 2015.

    RPS has managed the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) project in technical, environmental and communications terms on behalf of the European Commission for the past four years, including appointment and management of the independent expert panel. During that period, Vitoria Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014) and now Bristol have been holders of the Award. Ljubljana will hold the European Green Capital Award in 2016.

     

    For more information on Bristol as European Green Capital 2015 or the new European Green Leaf competition, visit http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_en.htm

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