5 June 2014
In recognition of World Environment Day (WED), we take a look at how our team of environmental specialists are contributing to preservation of the global environment and helping to develop worldwide awareness of key issues.
Ensuring that the world’s growing population is served with necessary energy and water infrastructure whilst minimising carbon impact and climate change presents challenges to developed, emerging and third-world economies alike. With a wealth of international project experience tackling environmental issues, we are providing solutions that make a difference to the communities affected.
Dr Steve Mustow, Head of Environment, UK said: ‘Throughout the world, WYG is making a significant contribution to addressing the key environmental concerns of our time. These range from global issues, such as climate change, water resources and biodiversity, to local and regional issues such as air quality, noise and contaminated land. Our specialist teams work with clients to develop creative, implementable solutions based on extensive experience and appreciation of the complex interaction of environmental processes.’
Sustainable treatment of contaminated soils
WYG has recently been involved in remediation and soil contamination works at two former gaswork sites in the UK. The contamination at Neepsend and Barnsley, South Yorkshire comprised hydrocarbons including tars and spent oxide.
Remediation at both sites comprised soil excavation, on-site treatment prior to re-use and off-site disposal. Groundwater treatment was not required at either site on the basis that groundwater monitoring following the remediation of soils demonstrated that natural attenuation was resulting in sufficient degradation of residual contamination. WYG were able to demonstrate that such monitoring was successful by assessment of the retrieved data and sign off by the Environment Agency and the local council for both sites was achieved.
At one site, our experts undertook ecology surveys identifying both badgers and bats and therefore implementing exclusion zones around the badger sets. Work also included measures to avoid the spread of invasive species and their removal from some locations as well as an archaeological assessment since the site was of industrial archaeological interest.
WYG is currently working as a key partner in the IPF3 (Infrastructure Project Facility) Consortium on an assessment of the River Sava in Zagreb. Work will include providing flood protection to the city and downstream communities but also to help address the need for a sustainable, optimal, and balanced use and distribution of available water resources amongst the different functions of the Sava River. This includes water supply, navigation, energy (hydropower), (irrigated) agriculture, water for industry, urban and rural development, recreation and sports and nature.
The area is facing a series of unresolved problems including issues with the system of flood control, lack of water supplies, issues of wastewater disposal, deepening and instability of Sava's riverbed, the lowering of groundwater tables and a reduced supply of water for consumption, industry and irrigation purposes in summer.
Gordon Lamond, Global Sector Head for Environment said: ‘This is the largest assignment under the EUR 22.4m IPF3 contract with the EC, and is the first project under the IPF programme spanning Croatia’s transition from pre-accession status to full EU member state. The study activities include a full Strategic Environmental Assessment in accordance with the EU SEA Directive, work that our Croatian office environmental team is spearheading.’
Supporting climate change in Southern Africa
WYG is currently part of a consortium responsible for DFID’s (Department for International Development) Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) supporting water resource management projects in countries in Southern Africa.
CRIDF supports any action or project that better enables people to predict, manage, or mitigate the impacts of extreme climate events through infrastructure interventions. They help build the capacity to cope with climate extremes, whether they are due to the existing natural climate variability or rather exacerbated by shifting climate patterns.
Over the next two years, the facility will deliver sustainable, small-scale, infrastructure development. The demand-driven programme focuses on water services, water resource management and agriculture, creating a lasting impact on the region’s water, food and energy security.
Preserving the Global Environment
Other notable projects demonstrating how WYG are contributing to preserving our global environment include: