Environment Agency proposes to transfer selected flood management work to other authorities

The Environment Agency is proposing to transfer flood risk management activities on a number of stretches of watercourses to internal drainage boards (IDBs), lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) and district councils.

The Agency said the plans would mean that IDBs, LLFAs and district councils can take on more responsibility for their local flood risk where appropriate. The Environment Agency has been working with a number of IDBs, LLFAs and district councils to consider proposals to re-designate sections of watercourses in a number of locations. The watercourses will be re-designated from main river to ordinary watercourse – known as de-maining.

The Environment Agency proposes to transfer flood risk management activities on the following sections of river and assets from the Environment Agency to the IDBs, LLFAs and district councils listed below.

Suffolk Rivers, Suffolk – 3 stretches of low risk watercourse (approximately 22.4 km) are proposed for de-maining to East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board and Suffolk County Council (some flood risk management activities will transfer to Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council)

South Forty Foot, South Lincolnshire – 5 stretches of low risk watercourse, all tributaries of South Forty Foot Drain (approximately 16.8 km) are proposed for de-maining to Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board

Stour Marshes, East Kent – 10 stretches of low risk watercourse across Stour Marshes, (approximately 36.7km) are proposed for de-maining to the River Stour (Kent) Internal Drainage Board

The Agency said it will only implement the proposals where the organisations concerned have the appropriate skills and governance arrangements in place to do so and the local community supports the change.

The consultation, which will open on 15th January 2018 and close on 12th February 2018, will set out the Agency’s proposals, in detail, including information about how the proposed sections of watercourses are currently managed and funded. The consultation also provides details on future management and funding if de-maining goes ahead.


Extra £136m cost and delay for M4 route proposal

Controversial plans for a new stretch of motorway around Newport has taken a step further today.

The Welsh Government today unveiled it had reached an agreement with the port owner and operator Associated British Ports over the plans around Newport Docks.

The new plan is expected to come at an extra cost of £136m and open much later than anticipated.

ABP had previously objected to the scheme which would see the new road bridge over Newport Docks with concerns it could affect trade.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates has now announced both the Welsh Government and ABP have reached an agreement for works to integrate Newport Docks with the M4 Project.

These would include:

  • the construction and refurbishment of quays,
  • rearrangements of tenants
  • replacement of cranes, shaped around the new section of motorway and its new junction connecting the docks to the Trans European Motorway Network.

The port currently supports around 2500 jobs and is contributes £173m a year to the Welsh economy.

The accommodation of the extra work is estimated to cost an extra £136m and will push the opening of the new road back to Autumn 2023.

A Public Inquiry is ongoing to scrutinise whether the M4 Project, in collaboration with the Cardiff City Region Metro, is a solution to the problems with M4 around Newport.

The Welsh Government says if the plans are approved work could start as soon as summer 2018.

“I must stress that the works would only be constructed, and funding allocated for this purpose, if a decision is made to build the M4 Corridor around Newport Project. I anticipate that final decision can be made in the Summer in light of all views being heard at the Public Inquiry and the inspectors’ report being received.I would like to again make it very clear that the goals and ways of working of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act will be central to that decision making, which I am keen to ensure is made in an open and transparent way to members. Continuing the spirit of previous updates I have provided to members, I have made this announcement to ensure that the best and most up-to- date information is available to all on this major project.”


Jacobs completes CH2M acquisition – global water market is $100bn p.a. opportunity

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has announced the completion of its acquisition of CH2M via a cash and stock transaction. The combination, which had strong support from CH2M shareholders, is expected to further drive the company’s profitable growth strategy.

The Group said it would increase Jacobs’ proportion of higher growth, higher margin business while maintaining its lower-risk portfolio and investment-grade credit profile.

Jacobs Chairman and CEO Steve Demetriou commented:

“This is a transformative step-change that brings together the industry’s foremost expertise and services to fulfill our vision to provide leading-edge solutions for a more connected, sustainable world,”

Demetriou stressed the combined firm’s continuing emphasis on talent retention and hiring as a top priority. “People are the heart of our organization, and we are calling on the best and brightest to join the new Jacobs to drive our growth strategy and be part of our exciting future.”

Focused integration discipline

Jacobs formed an Integration Management Office (IMO) early in August to begin integration planning following the announcement of the proposed CH2M acquisition. The IMO identified rigorous processes and protocols to drive realization of cost and growth synergies, for which Jacobs’ executive team and Board of Directors will continue to provide active oversight.

Both organizations reported strong performance in 2017, bolstering confidence in prospects for enhanced value creation in the newly combined firm and reinforcing the expectations for integration synergies and returns on the transaction.

According to Jacobs, the broader, combined solutions offering of the combined company, including CH2M’s proven leadership in program management and construction management, presents potential for longer-term revenue upside extending both companies’ complementary offerings across their combined client base and broader global footprint.

Focused and simplified operating model

Jacobs also announced its intention to streamline its operating model into three global lines of business, including: Aerospace, Technology, Environmental and Nuclear (ATEN); Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities (BIAF); and Energy, Chemicals and Resources (ECR).

The company expects to move to reporting results by the three global business lines by the second half of fiscal 2018:

Water represents an approximately $100 billion-a-year opportunity

Jacobs said the acquisition enhances its position in infrastructure, including water and transportation. Water represents an approximately $100 billion-a-year opportunity, expected to grow at a 4 to 5 percent compounded annual rate, presenting significant potential to extend CH2M’s leadership in design, management and lifecycle services for government and industrial clients, including operations and maintenance, and resiliency services mitigating climate threats.

Jacobs is expected to benefit by expanding these capabilities globally, backed by its strong operating and project delivery platform. The combined company will have a leading global water business with the scale, critical mass and experience to capitalize on infrastructure and industrial growth trends.

Environmental work separately represents an approximately $160 billion annual opportunity, growing 4 to 5 percent on a compounded annual rate. The combined company will have among the broadest and deepest environmental technical and project delivery capabilities in the industry.

In addition, CH2M’s environmental expertise complements Jacobs’ existing business with the U.S. federal government, positioning the combined company with leading capabilities for government clients that also are transferable to private-sector clients, creating opportunities for substantial upside potential for the company.

Highways England to continue archaeological survey work on A303 Stonehenge scheme

Government sets out plans to strengthen surface water flood risk management

Next Generation Road Communications Network Contract Let

Highways England today paved the way for the future technology which will keep road users as safe and informed as possible on the country’s motorways.

The Government company has let the contract for the next generation road communications network which will help reduce congestion, make journeys more reliable, and help drivers who get into difficulty.

The National Roads Telecommunications Service (NRTS) connects the company’s seven regional control centres, the national traffic operations centre and the 30,000 roadside technology assets including message signs, CCTV cameras and emergency roadside telephones.

Today 18th December 2017  Highways England has announced the award of the £450 million second NRTS contract, to telent Technology Services Ltd.

Chief Information Officer at Highways England, Tony Malone said:

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do and this network, the central nervous system for England’s motorways, enables us to operate safe roads. We are pleased to be working with telent Technology Services to deliver the reliability, resilience and innovation that will enable us to keep drivers safe and informed on our roads.”

The 30,000-plus items of on road technology equipment for which Highways England is responsible, include 3,327 CCTV cameras, 3,774 message signs, 229 weather stations and 7,155 SOS phones. The network enables traffic information services to provide accurate, real-time travel information to drivers and travel news providers. The message signs help warn drivers of potential hazards and display real-time journey information.

The new service will renew equipment and deliver a service that will provide an open, flexible and scalable telecommunications network to meet the future needs of the business; it will also enable and support Highways England in the development of innovative services such as ‘connected vehicles’ and 5G.

Additionally the technology will continue to underpin the development and operation of the smart motorway and expressway programmes that are central to the modernisation of England’s motorways and will help ensure the network continue to drive economic growth and prosperity.

The new contract will run from 16 March 2018 for 7 years.

Yorkshire Water targets 40% leakage reduction by 2025

Yorkshire Water has announced an ambitious package as it looks to reduce leakage by over 40 per cent by 2025 and become one of the leaders in the water industry.

Implementation of the plan starts with immediate effect – the announcement comes as industry regulator Ofwat has sets new targets for water companies to reduce water lost by billions of litres per year as part of the upcoming Price Review in 2019.

Yorkshire Water said it would commit “significant and material investment” over the next two years to reach the target. This includes recruiting fifty new front-line leakage inspectors, together with using new detection technology and data.

The reduction in leakage is part of a wider plan to transform the performance of the company, which will also significantly shorten any interruptions to customers supply and also see many fewer pollution incidents.

Currently, Yorkshire Water deals with around 5,500 leaks on its network each year which costs around £19,000 per day to investigate and repair. With demand for water set to increase as the population in the region is predicted to rise to nearly six million by 2024, water resilience is a number one priority for the firm.

Traditionally, water leaks have been repaired by excavating and clamping the damaged pipes. However, Yorkshire Water is now trailing different types of cutting-edge technology to help stop millions of litres of water escaping from its network.

In Halifax and Keighley for example, satellite space technology traditionally used to hunt for water on other planets in the solar system has been tested to help identify underground water leaks from its pipe network.

The technology has helped identify 44 underground leaks in both towns that were then quickly fixed by Yorkshire Water’s response team and helped save 330,000 litres of water a day escaping from its network.

Other technology being used by the firm includes up to 15,000 acoustic loggers attached to fittings on water pipes throughout Yorkshire that will be capable of listening to the flow of water in a pipe. The noise and flow pattern of this water will then allow expert data scientists to understand the sound of water to help reduce the risk of bursts or leaks caused by high pressure.

The company’s long-term objective is to fully meet the needs of a growing population, whilst using substantially less water than at present.

Liz Barber, director of finance, regulation and markets at Yorkshire Water said:

“Our customers have been very clear to us that they really dislike the fact that so much water goes to waste.  When we explain the size and scale of the network we have, they do understand how tough it is to reduce leakage, but they still expect us to do better. By doing this, we’ll improve the security of everyone’s supply and also have much less impact on the environment.”


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