5 June 2019
5th June marks World Environment Day, an important reminder for us to continue championing awareness and action to protect our planet.
This year’s theme is air pollution. At WYG, we are committed to working with clients to reduce development impact on air quality through a variety of projects and initiatives. Part of that includes continuing to provide our air quality services to help our clients minimise impact on the environment through their schemes.
The same also goes for the support we provide through Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), not just in the UK, but in other countries like Poland that rank particularly highly in pollution. Since 2009, we have completed 58 EIAs for a variety of Polish local, regional, and national road projects totalling circa 440 kilometres of road.
On top of analysing anticipated levels of air pollution arising from traffic, we have made sure to recommend essential countermeasures. These include planting greenery to absorb pollution in places where levels exceed the threshold values, and establishing alternative paths situated far away from housing.
Alongside that, we also carried out 36 EIAs for railways and tram lines totalling 868 kilometres in length. While their electric nature means they don’t heavily pollute air, associated construction machinery has the potential to contribute to air pollution. Our team has been involved in the technical design of many of these railway and tram projects to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Achieving an environmentally friendlier UK
Domestically, we are approaching environmental pollution from multiple angles. Being appointed to projects like the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Framework means we can support local authorities to engender meaningful changes via our environment and air quality services.
From a transport perspective, WYG’s Associate Director Sarah Wixey has shared multiple commentaries in the media to further champion the reduction of traffic-induced emissions and air pollution. Two of her pieces featured in Air Quality News and Infrastructure Intelligence. She also recently completed a case study with WestTrans and JLL on Kings Mall Shopping Centre in London, which highlights how a site occupier can reduce the impacts of their delivery and servicing activity.
Beyond air quality
While air quality is the dominant theme this year, we are equally proud of the many other works within our environment discipline.
Waste is an especially important area where we are working hard with public and private partners to reduce landfill use and develop new regulation-compliant waste & resource management facilities. Our specialist teams of engineers and hydrologists are also supporting initiatives like the Northern Ireland Water Professional Services Framework to improve water quality in the Belfast Lough.
Over in Southern Africa, our international team on the DFID-funded Climate Resilience Infrastructure Development Facility continues to help national institutions tackle water infrastructure challenges across the region. In addition to case studies, the team supplies technical workshops on implementing projects and securing funding through different avenues. You can learn more about their mission on the official CRIDF website.
Caring for the little critters
We’d be remiss not to also thank our ecologists for the amazing work they’re doing to help protect species habitats. One of the projects they’ve undertaken is a suite of species habitat surveys in relation to Wakefield Council’s £6m Glasshoughton Southern Link Road scheme.
The team conducted surveys for great crested newts, reptiles, breeding birds, bats, badger otters and water voles. Going forward, they will design landscaping around the road to prevent habitat fragmentation and enhance woodlands and areas of heathland planting to encourage the re-growth of habitat where it was once present.
In total, our ecologists will install 10 bat boxes, 15 bird boxes, and 10 kingfisher boxes. Amphibian tunnels under the road will provide safe passage between ponds and wildlife refuges for the likes of reptiles and hedgehogs.