Archived News

News Wins Best Public Sector Website at 2007 Golden Spider Awards

    17 December 2007 Wins Best Public Sector Website at 2007 Golden Spider Awards

    FREE Trade service helps to secure award for at Ireland's prestigious Golden Spider Awards. The website has won the Best Public Sector Website 2007 in Ireland's prestigious Golden Spider Awards. The website beat off stiff competition from five other candidates short-listed for the award. The ceremony was held at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin, and awards were presented by comedian Jason Byrne and model Glenda Gilson. was launched in 2004 by the four Dublin Local Authorities with RPS responsible for the project management and development of the website. The aim of the website was to encourage householders and the community to recycle more and to practice better waste management at home. The website provides extensive information on how to reduce, reuse and recycle your waste as well as keeping householders informed of local events and educational workshops.

    The RPS team have evolved the website over its lifetime to improve the effectiveness of the site with the addition of innovative interactive features most notably the FREE Trade service. This innovative service created by RPS encourages users to reuse and extend the lifespan of items and adopt more sustainable practices.

    The site provides advice on domestic waste, where recycling centres are, and features the FREE Trade service to re-home unwanted furniture and items.

    RPS Senior Engineer Warren Phelan says 'This is huge recognition for the enormous success of the website which has gone from strength to strength and is now receiving 100,000 hits per month'.

    For more information please contact:
    RPS Dublin (West Pier) - Waste & Energy Department
    T: +353 1 202 0870

    RPS Carnegie House Office Move

    12 December 2007

    RPS Carnegie House Office Move

    RPS employees at the Carnegie House office have moved to join fellow RPS employees at the West Pier Business Campus.
    This brings all of the employees in Dun Laoghaire together to form a 250+ base of expertise. The West Pier office now provides a wide range of integrated services including water, transport, buildings, structures, environment, geotechnical, waste, energy and Public Private Partnership consultancy.

    RPS can now be contacted at:
    West Pier Business Campus
    Dun Laoghaire
    Co. Dublin
    T: +353 (0) 1488 2900
    F: +353 (0) 1283 5676

    RPS Supports Environmental Futures 07 Conference

    21 November 2007

    RPS Supports Environmental Futures 07 Conference

    RPS presents at EA Conference to consider 'adapting to change' The Environment Agency 2007 annual conference and exhibition was held at the QE2 centre in central London on 5/6 November. The theme was 'adapting to change': very topical given the east coast flooding concerns.

    Politicians, senior officials and leading environmental experts, ably guided by the broadcaster Jon Snow, gave authoritative views on climate change and the implications for the economy, politics and the property sector.

    The RPS stand was prominent in the large exhibition area, and was well supported by staff from RPS offices. RPS also hosted two well-attended delegate seminars.

    On Monday the theme was 'Climate change: can planning live up to the challenge'. RPS and speakers from the RTPI, RSPB and Environment Agency considered how the planning system might better deal with the implications of climate change.

    On Tuesday the RPS Property and Construction seminar looked at the environmental progress being made with the planning, design, construction and operations of property assets.

    The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Town and Country Planning Association, Greater London Authority, and RPS gave linked presentations that assessed whether property owners and developers are getting an adequate act together fast enough to deal with climate change implications.

    The main message was that the technology and affordability are in reasonable shape; it is more a matter of raising awareness and taking responsibility. This seems particularly so with retro-fitting older property to improve performance, which is perhaps a bigger priority than targeting new developments, and the presentations provided an interesting insight of what might be achieved at a relatively low cost for individual home-owners and occupiers.

    To see the RPS presentation on Property and Construction please click here.

    For more information please contact:
    RPS Birmingham - Planning & Development
    T: +44 (0)121 213 5500
    RPS Swindon - Planning & Development
    T: +44 (0) 1793 818 100

    Multimillion Move for Fishing Industry

    16 November 2007

    Multimillion Move for Fishing Industry

    €60M Killybegs fishmeal plant relocation will more than double production and create more jobs.

    An Bord Pleanála has approved a planning application for a €60M plant relocation this month. The application was prepared by RPS on behalf of United Fish Industries Ltd (UFI). The project involves a relocation of Ireland’s only fishmeal processing plant to a new larger facility at the Fishery Harbour Centre in Killybegs. The project is expected to create up to 70 jobs during construction and will increase the capacity of the plant to handle up to 2,000 tonnes of fish processing per day.

    RPS prepared the Environmental Impact Statement for the project and provided consultancy services for the Foreshore Licence, as well as preparing the planning application and advising on planning matters relating to the plant and design – including project managing the design and build of the facility. An application for an IPPC Licence (Integrated Pollution Prevention Control) is also being prepared for submission to the EPA.

    The project was granted permission by Donegal County Council in January 2007 with 22 conditions attached. However, local objections required the decision to go An Bord Pleanála and RPS prepared further submissions on behalf of UFI. AnBP subsequently upheld the decision to grant (in October 2007) and directed that only 12 conditions be imposed.

    The existing fishmeal plant at Donegal Road in Killybegs has operated for more than 50 years and is vital to the local fishing industry – processing up to 800 tonnes of fish and fish by-products each day. The offal from fish filleting & processing plants is not wasted, rather UFI pay a dividend for this “waste” material and process it into fishmeal and fishoil through a cooking, drying and grinding process. UFI also use whole industrial fish, not destined for human consumption, caught in the January to April season to supplement their raw material supply. The scheme includes for reclamation of foreshore to allow construction of a dedicated berth to land industrial fish and convey it directly to the plant, together with new processing buildings, silos and offices.

    Killybegs is one of Ireland’s main fishing ports and the growth and continued development of the industry requires greater landing and processing provision to ensure that the efficient turnaround of domestic and foreign vessels keeps pace with industry development and needs. The new, larger facility will not only more than double production capacity, but will also increase the efficient fish landing capacity and minimise odour problems associated with the old plant – essential requirements of the business’ and industry’s development. The planned plant is designed to a first-class construction and environmental standard and is expected to be completed and operational by 2009.

    RPS Belfast (Elmwood House) – Planning & Development
    T: +44 (0) 28 9066 7914

    RPS Stakeholder Project Wins Best Awareness

    08 November 2007

    RPS Stakeholder Project Wins Best Awareness

    The Notice Nature Campaign managed by RPS Stakeholder Consultation Unit has won the E.U. Best Practice in Environmental Awareness Award.

    Environmental communications specialists from the 27 EU member states voted RPS' biodiversity awareness campaign for the Department of the Environment the award winner, and the announcement was recently made in a ceremony at The Hague, by the Dutch Environment and Spatial Planning Minister, Jacqueline Cramer.

    Launched in January 2007, Notice Nature aims to increase understanding of the value of biodiversity in Ireland, its human benefits, and how vital it is to conserve and protect our natural world. The campaign's initiatives have included developing best practice guidelines for construction, business and tourism industries, supporting the first biodiversity week in Ireland (May 2007), and hosting conferences and seminars around Ireland to communicate and promote the campaign's activities, aims and objectives. Notice Nature has also introduced a biodiversity prize to Ireland's Tidy Towns competition.

    The Irish Minister for the Environment, Mr John Gormley, welcomed the award and said, "It is a great honour for Ireland to be recognised in this way. The issue of biodiversity and the importance of protecting it is a complex subject to communicate. The approach we have taken in this campaign and the emphasis we have placed on stakeholder engagement has been well received by our EU colleagues.

    This award is a tribute to all those involved in the campaign, including environmental and community groups, local authorities, the construction, tourism, agriculture and business sectors, and members of the public who have engaged with us in Notice Nature."

    The Best Practice Awards are organised by the Green Spider Network, which is an active network of communication and information officers from environment ministries and national environment agencies in Europe.

    RPS Technical Director Elizabeth Arnett - Head of the Stakeholder Consultation Unit, is delighted with the award:

    "This award is very exciting for the Stakeholder Consultation Unit and our project partners Mary Murphy Associates. It gives European recognition to our unique stakeholder driven approach to information campaigning."

    For previous article on this subject please see: RPS Stakeholder Project Short-Listed for E.U. Award 04/07/07

    For more information please contact:
    Stakeholder Consultation Unit, RPS Dublin (West Pier) - Planning & Development
    T: +353 1 288 4499

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    Caladh Mor Sheltered Harbour Development

    28 September 2007

    Caladh Mor Sheltered Harbour Development

    Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Éamon Ó Cuiv marked the commencement of work on the Caladh Mór Sheltered Harbour Development Project on Inis Meaín with the traditional turning the sod ceremony this summer.

    (left-right): Mr. Finn Lyden (SIAC Construction), Ms Sinéad Henry (RPS Consulting Engineers), Minister Éamon Ó Cuiv, Mr. Darren McCormack (RPS Consulting Engineers), Mr. John Geoghegan (SIAC Construction). Image 2 shows Inis Meaín.

    Representatives from Galway County Council, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, RPS Consulting Engineers and SIAC Construction Limited were present for the ceremony.

    Inis Meaín is the middle of the three Aran Islands, between Inis Mor and Inis Oirr and is home to approximately 200 Islanders.

    The €14M Caladh Mor Sheltered Harbour Development includes the removal of approximately 34,000m³ of limestone rock to form a sheltered basin to a depth of -3.0m Chart Datum. A precast concrete caisson pier will be constructed and protected with concrete armour units, increasing the berthing capacity of the Island. Also, a 125m long offshore breakwater will be constructed to provide sheltered berthing facilities for those using the harbour. The new development will provide a sheltered harbour for vessels and will encourage visitation by leisure craft, boosting tourism on the Island.

    RPS Consulting Engineers were responsible for seeing the project through its various stages including carrying out an EIS, preliminary design, contract documentation and administration.  RPS Consulting Engineers are the Lead Consultant on the project and are currently supervising the project onsite

    For more information please contact:
    RPS Consulting Engineers, Belfast (Elmwood House)
    T: 028 9066 7914

    Award for UCC ERI Project

    20 September 2007

    Award for UCC ERI Project

    RPS-Consulting Engineers has provided complete civil-structural design and environmental impact assessment/monitoring services for the University College Cork Environmental Research Institute (UCC ERI) Building project - which is a dedicated research facility, purpose built to accommodate an inter-disciplinary group of UCC Researchers in the field of environmental, marine and coastal engineering.

    The ERI Building is situated on an extremely environmentally-sensitive site on the floodplain and river-edge of the River Lee close to the existing Cork City Council Waterworks intake.

    Sustainability is the main principle to underpin the design, construction and operation of the ERI Building. It was designed and constructed as an eco-friendly 'green building' utilising the current best available design features, specifications, fittings/materials, construction methods and control systems that conform to the principles of sustainable development and minimisation of environmental impact.

    The site for the Environmental Research Institute is situated to the west of the City Council Waterworks site and is bounded to the north by the Lee Road, and to the south by the River Lee. The original site was reasonably flat, with the ground level varying from approximately 3.6m OD. close to the River Lee edge rising to approximately 8.2m OD. at the north-eastern corner of the site.

    The proximity of the River Lee and its tendency to occasionally flood part of the proposed site was the key factor in determining the finished floor level of the building. Some foundation and trenching construction work had to be carried out below the variable groundwater level, which necessitated the use of pumps to control groundwater levels during construction.

    Ground investigations in the ERI site indicated a sub-soil layer of soft silty sands, approximately 5m deep, overlying a gravel bed on bedrock. Design assessments and life cycle analyses for various foundation options (using the Building Research Establishment's "Envest" software package) indicate that concrete piled foundations onto bedrock were the most suitable foundation type.

    The building structural frame was proposed as an exposed reinforced concrete frame of columns and beams with concrete floor plates, all of which provide a significant thermal mass capability for increased heating and cooling efficiency. The floor plates have flat soffits, with few down-stand beams/drop panels which allows for free and uninterrupted distribution and routing of building and laboratory services.

    The ERI entrance/parking area is a shared facility between the ERI site and the Cork City Council Waterworks development area incorporating the recently completed Sustainable City Campus-Lifetime Laboratory project. A section of dedicated cycleway has also been developed as part of the entrance and road-widening plans. The shared entrance facilitates access to a shared parking facility to cater for 50 cars.

    A unique aspect of the ERI Project is the proposal to equip the building with environmental sensors providing real time data on lighting, heating, energy consumption etc along with external environmental and climatic changes such as wind speed, air temperature etc. The building will serve as an interactive demonstration, teaching and research facility for the design of future 'green buildings'. A living integrated computer model of the building will be developed to address information gathering, monitoring and control features (e.g. energy use, waste management etc).

    As part of the ERI project design approach it was decided to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment/Report. Whilst the scale and nature of the project did not formally necessitate that an EIA be conducted to satisfy statutory requirements, it was entirely in keeping with the project concept of sustainable design that a comprehensive environmental impact review be carried out. The assessment evaluated the impacts and mitigation measures for aspects of the project such as air emissions, climate, construction, ecology, geology, material assets, noise, transportation, vibration, waste, and many more.

    The RPS-Consulting Engineers environmental impact assessment scope included production of a complete EIA Report highlighting likely impacts, necessary mitigation measures and residual impacts for the design, construction and operation phases of the project. Ongoing monitoring of site-environmental issues during the construction phase was also carried out by RPS-personnel with formal monthly reporting at progress meetings etc.

    This unique "up-front" approach to addressing the environmental aspects of a building-development type project greatly assisted in the statutory Planning Permission process - thereby minimising subsequent adjudication delays with requests for any additional information etc.

    A dedicated ERI Commuter Plan was also developed to examine the transportation elements aspects of the ERI project. The aims were to ensure consistency with the existing UCC Commuter Plan and to promote the concept of transport sustainability as a central theme of the ERI project. This plan involved issuing a questionnaire to each of the staff operating in the ERI building. The plan examined many options such as park and ride facilities (current and future), public transport facilities, car sharing incentives and parking facilities for non-car users.

    A dedicated ERI Building-Waste Management Plan has also been developed, as part of the ERI project, outlining the objectives and policies relating to the waste management over the lifetime of the project. This document sets out the philosophy to be followed from initial design stage through to construction and operation with regard to waste management. The design philosophy for the building was one of waste minimisation at each stage of the project. This includes practical initiatives ranging from recycling of paper to possible energy recovery in the building, minimising wastewater production from the building and utilising building materials that are recyclable. The Waste Management Study involved issuing a materials and waste questionnaire to each of the identified ERI personnel representatives in order to accurately determine details of likely materials-in and the building wastes produced. The Waste Management Plan is a whole life evaluation of the waste arising from/within the building. This plan sets out the requirements with respect to waste management at each stage namely construction, operation and potential future decommissioning.

    For more information please contact:
    RPS Dublin Cookstown
    T: +353 (01)404 5700