Clean Air Day: Reducing Your Impact

Clean Air Day falls on the longest day of the year today, the summer solstice, which gives us a chance to most appreciate the benefits and wonders of the sun. However human fossil fuel combustion also means that longer days also lead to a greater chance of photochemical smogs – an interaction of pollution and sunlight.

Clean Air Day which offers a chance to think about our own pollution generating activities and how we can reduce this. Can we use public transport more? Can we car share, walk or cycle? Can we reduce our domestic and workplace energy use?

Let’s mark Clean Air Day by doing one action with that will reduce our contribution to air quality.

Clean Air Day: Industry Impact

There may be measures you can take as an individual to reduce your personal contribution to air pollution, but industrial processes also have a significant impact on the air we breathe.

Industrial processes such as the production of cement, the chemical industry, iron and steel and solvents create air pollution. To find out about more please take a look at this infographic provided by cleanairday.org.uk

If you’re concerned about your project or business venture, REC can look at the bigger picture; working with developers to provide advice on offsetting and reducing air quality impact. We are familiar with new proposals and smoothing the path to permitted and sustainable development.

Expertise

If you’d like to know more about how to manage air quality in relation to your scheme or business activity then please contact our resident air quality expert Conal Kearney on ckearney@recltd.co.uk or call us on 0845 676 9303.

Woodburners, stoves and their impact on air quality: An insight from REC

Campfire And TentWith the UK already in breach of EU air quality laws and facing multi-million pound fines by the European Court of Justice, the ambitious Clean Air Strategy sets out to clean up the UK’s polluted air with a series of new measures over the next 25 years.

REC’s Air Quality lead – Conal Kearney – with his local authority air quality planning background – provides some insight into what this means.

 

Why are wood-burning stoves and open fires particularly bad for UK air quality?

The use of open wood fires and stoves has risen in popularity due increasing energy costs and fashions for cosy ‘old world’ home aesthetics. The burning of wood causes pollutant emissions, largely in the form of fine particles or ‘particulates’. The rise of wood burners in the UK’s larger urban areas, where background pollutants are already high has led to concerns that the accumulation of particulates could reach levels harmful to health in terms of respiratory and cardiovascular illness.

 

Is wood burning really contributing to more air pollution?

It has been estimated that domestic wood burners in London contribute up to 9% of particulate matter in the winter. In addition, smoke and odours can cause nuisance to neighbours with local authority officers dealing with an increased number of complaints. REC believes that more research is also required on the impact of wood burners and open fires on indoor air quality and health impacts.

 

Does this mean that we can’t use wood burners anymore?

As part of the new Clean Air Fund, the Government has responded by announcing that all new wood burners should meet certified emissions standards and has recommended that only sufficiently dried wood should be used as fuel. More powers are to be passed to local authorities but this has raised questions on their ability and resources to enforce the suggested measures.

It remains to be seen how effective measures will be in curbing air pollution and indeed this will relate to tackling other air quality challenges such as emissions from by diesel vehicles. Irrespective, it is yet another consideration for proposed development schemes in urban areas and potentially could lead to further permissions such as planning or Environmental Permits being required for larger scale wood combustion plants..

 

If you would like to know more about the details in this article, or need advice on how they might impact your activities, call us on 0845 676 9303 for a free, no obligation 1:1 advice session with a consultant who will be happy to help.

REC Ltd is a leading UK-wide environmental consultancy with extensive experience in air quality advice for planners and developers. We offer advice on the requirements, design and execution of air quality impact assessments. Please email info@recltd.co.uk

Izzy Samphier, expert noise consultant, joins REC Winchester

At REC we are delighted to announce a new addition to our Acoustics team in the South. Izzy Samphier joins REC in our Winchester office from KR Associates.

Izzy has over  5 years’ acoustics experience with particular expertise in BS4142 noise assessments for commercial stores such as supermarkets and retail chains.

Having attended Winchester University and with an acoustics diploma from Southampton University, Izzy is local to the South living in Portsmouth.

Regional Director South – Stuart Phillips said ‘REC is continuing to diversify its services in the South and provide a truly multi-disciplinary offering. Acoustics assessments are a key and growing part of that offer and having Izzy on board further strengthens that’.

Izzy said ‘I’m delighted to join REC. Their professional but commercial approach really appealed to me and one month in I’m really enjoying being part of the Southern team and growing our client base here’

ABP Southampton: REC makes a splash

REC’s southern team joined forces with Associated British Ports Southampton last week, to participate in their Rio Olympic Golds Charity Challenge 2017. ABP is the UK’s leading port operator and their Southampton port is one of the nation’s largest including being the UK’s number one port for cars and cruise.

Helping raise funds for the charity, The Rainbow Centre, the event was hosted at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in London, where teams from REC, ABP Southampton, Raymond Brown Construction, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Terminals and Stride Treglown got together to try their hands at kayaking for the day.

REC Team

Health and safety a top priority, everyone’s day began with a swim test at the former Olympics 2012 site and it was with relief that those who had committed themselves to a day in the rapids could, indeed, swim. The teams then took to the water in pairs, with the main aim to complete the course and not capsize the boats. Although it is questionable as to whether teams spent longer in the water than they did in the kayaks, all teams succeeded and the day was followed by a celebratory BBQ.

 

REC’s Regional Director, Stuart Philips, said of the event,“ABBoat capsizedP Southampton has taken on a mammoth challenge of re-enacting all 27 Gold Medals won by Team GB at the Rio Olympics and have certainly set their sights high. The team has more than risen to the occasion, and with help from members of the port community along the way, their charity challenge 2017 is a great success story. REC is delighted to contribute to ABP’s cause and raised a total of £400 for the charity through the kayaking event. We hope that ABP continues to inspire others through such events and we look forward to taking part on other Team GB gold medal challenges”.

Marc an Ali RECSean Cooper of ABP Southampton added, “Since beginning the 27 Gold Medals challenge earlier this year, the ABP Southampton team and the port’s community have rallied together to build relationships and raise much needed funds for our charity of the year, The Rainbow Centre. Hitting the ground running  as the lead sponsor of Southampton’s marathon in April which included a 10k race, the ABP team has since gone from strength to strength and gone onto raise almost £1,500; a quarter of our £6,000 target. We look forward to our upcoming challenges and thank everyone who has supported us so far”.

All money raised will go to ABP’s chosen charity, The Rainbow Centre, which provides conductive educational support to children with Cerebral Palsy and adults with a stroke, MS and Parkinson’s, adult Cerebral Palsy, Head Injury and their families. The Rainbow Centre relies upon donations to raise the £66,000 a month to provide its services. To find out more about ABP Southampton’s challenge, go to their charity page here, or to find out more about The Rainbow Centre itself, you can visit its website here.

 

REC team short-listed for Women In Construction Awards

REC team members, Olivia Winter (Senior Ecological Consultant) and Charlotte Toth (Senior Geo-environmental Consultant), have made the short-list for the Women In Construction 2017 award ceremony.

An annual event, the awards provide a showcase for the brightest and the best female achievers in the construction and built environment industries. Having ran for eleven years, the awards are more popular and prestigious than ever, which is why REC is delighted to announce that both their candidates have made the short-list for finalists; Charlotte Toth for Project Manager of the Year award and Olivia Winter for the Rising Star award.

Kicking off tonight at 18:30 at the Hilton hotel in Manchester, the award ceremony welcomes a panel of six distinguished judges from across the industry, including Emma Richman of Six Town Housing and Christine Towley of The Construction Youth Trust. Categories cover a host of skills and achievements, ranging from awards in civil infrastructure, quantity surveying and electrical to lifetime achievement awards.

REC Women In Construction Award Nominees

Olivia Winter – Candidate for Rising Star award

Olivia Winter is a Senior Ecological Consultant at REC. A first class graduate from Northumbria University, Olivia has progressed from Graduate Ecologist, to becoming a strong project manager and senior consultant within her first two years at the company – and is now the central lead for REC’s Manchester Ecology team.

 

Charlotte Toth – Candidate for Project Manager of the Year award

Charlotte Toth has over five years’ experience as an Environmental consultant. A Senior Geo-environmental Consultant at REC Ltd, Charlotte runs a multi-disciplinary office, specifically leading the Land Quality team in the Winchester’s region, as well as being part of the wider southern team, contributing to growth plans and strategy therein.

 

Best of luck to both candidates!

REC to deliver contaminated land talk at RTPI Scotland

RTPI logo500

Assessing Contaminated Land Constraints – The Importance for Planners

Presented by Senior Consultant – Land, Phil Thompson and Owen Stevens,Technical Director – Land, the talk will look at contaminated land sites and challenges from a planning perspective; from initial assessment (site history, potential environmental constraints which might impact site viability) through to detailed site investigation (and the importance of investigation which can heavily influence recommendations and development costs).

Who should attend?

Planners who come across contaminated land considerations as part of their work and need a better appreciation of the subject and how it informs the work that they do.

Where and when is it?

Thursday, 23 February 2017 at 12:30PM – 2:00PM

Urban Room, City of Edinburgh Council, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG, UK

In association with

RTPI Scotland and CBRE

Bookings

To book your place, please contact samantha.jackson@cbre.com by 13th February.

REC Croydon moves to newer, larger premises

Due to continued growth in the South East region, UK environmental consultancy REC Croydon has relocated one of its 11 UK offices to new larger premises at the Capital Business Centre in Croydon. REC, a multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy, specialising in a comprehensive range of environmental services, inspection, regulatory and risk management has had a base in the South East for over eight years and has been based at the Capital Business Centre since 2013.

Croydon has undergone an economic surge of late which has been fuelled by Croydon Council’s £5.25bn investment to help enhance the local economy and infrastructure. According to Accountancy Group, Croydon topped the list of 173 areas as the fastest growing UK region with an annual growth rate of 9.3%. Also, earlier in 2016 the minister of state responsible for digital policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Matthew Hancock, visited Croydon and described it as ‘the blueprint for the future’.

The new larger premises, which are just to the South of Croydon town centre, not only represent REC’s ongoing commitment to its customers in the South East but also provides REC with the opportunity to better manage its growth, providing further flexibility to expand.

Regional Director-South, Stuart Phillips of REC Croydon explains “We’re thrilled to be moving to these new premises. The move is testament to the increasing amount of work we have in the area and we look forward to continuing to support both our existing and new clients here.”

REC’S Managing Director, Gary Winder added “The new office provides us with bigger premises from which to serve our South East client base and continues to provide strong links to our other offices too, underlining our commitment to being a national environmental consultancy that delivers locally.”

REC consultants explore the UK’s most invasive weeds

As part of their Continued Professional Development, some adventurous REC staff up north have been out and about along Manchester’s watercourses this week, exploring not-so beautiful patches of infamous invasive weeds such as Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed.

Our Principal Ecologist, Dr Neil Madden (second from the right) took the team on a perilous tour to identify some of the UK’s most invasive weeds – first up being the attractive, but all-invasive Japanese Knotweed. Brought over by the Victorians to Britain in the 1800s due to its decorative aesthetics, it wasn’t realised at the time that this weed spreads like wildfire, and has a growth of 20mm a day.

Not as invasive, but incredibly hazardous to humans, the team went on to train about Giant Hogweed. Thriving in places like riverbanks or derelict land, the weed looks as harmless as any other, but when touched in the presence of sunlight, it burns the skin. Thankfully, thanks to Health and Safety, Neil didn’t make any of the team demonstrate this.

FCFAvABYc3T9a6Xxw0K5AfxfFlzmPb5gNosAAAAASUVORK5CYII=

Japanese Knotweed

wEMs1lmDR+zcgAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==

Giant Hogweed

C535sbgvdsHUAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC

Himalayan Balsam

Lastly was the exotic sounding Himalayan Balsam – Britain’s tallest, annual plant that’s also incredibly invasive, halts other plants’ growth, and thus subjects slopes to stability complications.

All of these plants can cause environmental harm through either being incredibly destructive to structural foundations, endangering animals and other plants’ development, or both. Identifying these Invasive species and eradicating them is a much needed service in all sorts of industries, and fortunately, is all part of the day job at REC. So if you’re experiencing any difficulties at all with these types of weeds, then please don’t hesitate to call on our specially trained Ecologists and Land team to help.

Email nmadden@recltd.co.uk or ring 0161 868 1300 to find out more.

REC attends annual British Herpetological Society meeting

At REC we are committed to keeping our staff’s continuing professional development profiles up to date by attending conferences and training courses. Last month, REC attended the 2014 Joint Scientific Meeting organised each December by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the British Herpetological Society in Bournemouth.

The event comprised a series of presentations on research studies undertaken by leading UK universities and conservation bodies. Particularly relevant for our ecological consultants were talks on the great crested newt and the grass snake. By having a better understanding of the biology and ecology of our protected species, we can deliver a more efficient service to our clients and also ensure the conservation of British wildlife. Additionally, the event offered REC’s consultants a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow ecologists and scientists.

REC’s ecology team comprises professionally qualified consultants who specialise in the delivery of protected species assessments, including amphibian and reptile surveys. All REC ecologists regularly take part in-house and external training activities, allowing us to maintain and improve our skills and provide pragmatic solutions for our clients.

For further information on REC’s Ecology services and to see how we can help you, please contact your local office or contact us online.

eDNA service now provided by REC Consultants

REC LTD PROVIDES new eDNA SERVICE

eDNA is an innovative technique which potentially enables great crested newt surveys to be undertaken more quickly, more accurately and more cost effectively.

Resource and Environmental Consultants Ltd (REC Ltd) in-house service will be undertaken in a state of the art laboratory following the specific protocol determined by Natural England, and allows REC Ltd to be extremely competitive with great crested newt occupancy studies.

Dr Neil Madden, Principal Ecologist at REC Ltd says: “the use of this sampling has marked a change in the way great crested newt occupancy studies are co-ordinated. eDNA can allow planning applications to be submitted earlier as you no longer need to wait for the usual four survey visits to be completed. As the technique develops, it is anticipated that the service will be expanded to include other vulnerable species and this could have huge implications for the way ecology services are offered.”

Seasonal Constraints

Traditional survey methodology requires four survey visits between mid-March to mid-June with at least half of the visits between mid-April and mid-May. The test can be useful to establish presence at any time of the year but absence can only be proven with samples taken between the 15th April and 30th June. It is thus imperative that surveys are carefully planned to reduce the risk of costly delays to projects.

Why Choose REC Ltd for eDNA Testing?

  • Collection of samples for analysis by trained and licensed ecologists
  • 5 day turnaround when booked in advance*
  • In-house refrigerated courier service for the transfer of samples
  • National coverage

*based on first come, first served

Would you like to know more? REC would be happy to discuss the potential benefits of eDNA for your business. Please contact us for more information or to book a great crested newt survey.