31 January 2003
WYG has continued to develop and expand its relationship with the Highways Agency by securing an important 3-year, £400,000 Research Project which will investigate the effects of highway run-off on its surrounding watercourses. The Environment Agency are also sponsoring the Project, providing both a co-project sponsor and funding.
The project is being driven by WYG's Leicester office and will combine the expertise of WYG in Leeds with the considerable research and laboratory capabilities of King’s College London, whose newly acquired Thameside campus at Waterloo will provide state-of-the-art facilities for assessing the impact of pollutants on aquatic organisms.
The study will identify and quantify the effects of different levels of soluble pollutants within highway drainage run-off on a range of aquatic species such as brown trout, minnows and sticklebacks, larvae of flies, crustaceans, worms and algae, enabling the development of new water quality assessment tools and a more accurate prediction of the resulting impacts on the ecology of receiving watercourses. A second significant part of the investigation will identify and monitor a selection of ‘typical’ field sites/streams around the country to validate the study findings and generate a model for predicting the effects of road run-off in the aquatic environment.
Ultimately, the study will lead to the production of new advice in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB), which will provide guidance and direction for drainage and design engineers to follow when assessing the impact of proposed and existing highway discharges on rivers and streams. Designers will have a better basis on which to determine whether treatment measures are required and how effective they need to be.
An interesting and challenging project for the Highways Agency and the Environment Agency and a new direction of flow for WYG.