Balfour Beatty completes £6.5m Dundee flood protection scheme

The new flood protection scheme is set to reduce the risk of flooding and to protect homes and main roads between Camperdown Dock and Dundee Airport.

The project utilised building materials such as reinforced concrete, concrete blocks and natural stone to build a defense wall as well as flood gates to allow pedestrian, cycle and vehicle access.

To ensure as little disruption as possible, Balfour Beatty built a specialist fence to seperate the build and to maintain a right-of-way for members of the public.

Iain Lumsden, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s North Scotland Delivery Unit, said: “The local community and visitors to the new Dundee Waterfront area can now fully experience the extensive benefits of the scheme, which will protect numerous nearby properties and roads from the risk of flooding.

“Through Scape’s framework, we have worked closely with Dundee City Council to make a real and sustainable contribution to the local economy, including the delivery of over 600 apprentice hours through the Angus Shared Apprentice Programme.”

Commenting on the transformation, Mark Flynn, Deputy Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee said: “The Dundee flood protection scheme has been a significant piece of work which has created greater piece of mind for residents and business potentially at risk of higher water levels in the future.

“The project has been delivered effectively and efficiently and has had lots of positive comments from people saying that it has enhanced some of the waterfront walks.”

The company are the sole delivery partner for the £1.5 billion Scape National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, which allows public sector clients to commission works through a procurement process that provides the fastest route to market and to deliver the best value solutions for clients.

Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group, comprised of over 28,000 employees.

In addition to projects in the UK and Ireland, US and Far East, Balfour Beatty has worked in Scotland for over a century – employing over 2,000 people across Scotland.

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Ground-breaking multi-megawatt turbine has potential to transform wind power market

A ground-breaking next generation multi-megawatt turbine developed by the EU-funded ECOSWING project has the potential to transform the wind power market – the turbine looks set to change the way wind turbines operate and greatly expand the wind-energy sector.

Capable of producing more than three megawatts of electricity, enough to power a thousand homes, the two-bladed wind turbine will feature a unique high-temperature superconductor generator developed in the EU-funded ECOSWING (Energy Cost Optimization using Superconducting Wind Generators) project.

Weighing 40 % less than conventional generators, the state-of-the-art machine requires fewer manufacturing resources and is more cost-effective to build, transport and install.

Already successfully tested in the lab, the field test on the turbine, which is operated by lead partner in the project Envision Energy in Thyborøn, Denmark, will pave the way for the commercial deployment of a next generation of multi-megawatt turbines. This has the potential to open up new markets for wind power, supporting the global transition to renewable energy and ultimately lowering electricity costs.

The wind turbine has been operating at a demanding coastal site in Western Denmark, Thyborøn, near-shore to the North Sea.

Breakthrough superconductor technology with potential to replace heavy and costly permanent magnet direct-drive generators

The ECOSWING project, involving nine industrial and academic partners, represents a breakthrough in the application of high-temperature superconductor technology for wind turbine generators as a potential replacement for today’s heavy and costly permanent magnet direct-drive generators.

Comprised of partners from industry to academia, the consortium represents the whole needed value chain from superconductors to end-user:

  • Envision Energy (Denmark)
  • ECO 5 GmbH
  • Jeumont Electric SAS
  • Delta Energy Systems GmbH
  • THEVA Dünnschichttechnik GmbH
  • Sumitomo Cryogenics of Europe, Ltd
  • DNV GL Renewables Certification
  • Universiteit Twente
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES)

Project communications manager Dr. Jürgen Kellers at ECO 5 in Germany, ECO 5 GmbH as an established engineering house in superconductivity which provided the core design, commented:

“The ECOSWING consortium has been successful in designing, developing and manufacturing the first full-scale multi-megawatt superconducting wind generator. This demonstration in a real-world operational environment will lay the foundations for a groundbreaking product that will change the way wind turbines operate and greatly expand the wind-energy sector,”

Lighter, cheaper, cooler

Current generators work much like a traditional dynamo, with rotating magnets inside a set of copper coils. The rotation creates a variable magnetic field in the coils, which generates an electric current.

In the ECOSWING superconducting generator, the magnets are replaced by coils of ceramic-metallic tape that become superconductive under extremely cold conditions, achieved by containing the coils within a vacuum drum super-cooled with small amounts of cryogenic gas.

At temperatures of around -240°C, about 30°C above absolute zero, electricity passes through the coils with almost no resistance, enabling energy flows 100 times greater than in standard generators.

The much lower resistance means that far less material, including valuable rare-earth metals, are required in a high-temperature superconducting generator compared to a traditional model to achieve the same energy output, resulting in substantial cost and weight reductions.

Benefits of tehcnology will enable scaled up turbine manufacturing capacity 

The same benefits will also allow wind turbines to be scaled up. The ECOSWING team envisions future superconductor generators producing 10MW or more, with the reduced weight and size of next-generation devices helping to overcome barriers from high construction, transportation and installation costs at both onshore and offshore wind farms.

If the ECOSWING field test proves successful, that goal should be within reach in a matter of years. The project partners have already greatly advanced the technological and commercial readiness of many components, overcoming key challenges to the effective deployment of high-temperature superconducting technology in wind turbines subjected to harsh environmental conditions, vibrations and continuous unsupervised operation.

Jürgen Kellers continued:

“We have improved and scaled up manufacturing capacity within this project for many new components. For example, ECOSWING has had a big impact on the quality and stability of high-temperature superconductor wire manufacturing capabilities, increasing production from metres to kilometres per week – a rate so far unmatched in Europe.”

“Each partner has been able to improve their individual product offerings, and together we have developed a groundbreaking product that is demonstrating a key enabling technology for renewable energy, one of Europe’s key growth markets.”

Denmark , Germany, France, UK and the Netherlands participated in the € 13.8 million project, which concluded earlier this year.

Highways England repairs project on Oldbury Viaduct enters next phase

Leakage – Yorkshire Water trials new valve technology and installs 30k+ acoustic data loggers

Yorkshire Water has trialled an innovative valve technology designed to reduce supply interruptions to customers when water pipe repair work is carried out.

The new technology, known as EZ Valve, means that water does not have to be re-zoned when carrying out repairs, which will result in less supply interruptions and discolouration issues.

Typically, water main repair involves rezoning several kilometres of water pipes or temporarily shutting off supply before damaged pipework can be isolated, clamped and fixed.

However, the new rubber valve technology means that small sections of pipework can now be controlled to close off water flow, which will allow for pinpoint repairs of leaks and bursts without having to interfere with customers’ water supply or disrupt the network.

The trial was carried out in Harrogate with the valve installed by R2M Site Services, working for contract partner Morrision Utility Services.

Adrian Roberts, field technician at Yorkshire Water, said:

“Through speaking to customers we recognise the impact interrupting water supplies can cause and so we aim to reduce average supply interruptions customers experience each year to just two minutes by 2025. The trial of this new valve technology which can be inserted under pressure, if successful, could result in proving to be very useful to help meet this target.”

Yorkshire Water is aiming to reduce its leakage rates by 40 per cent by 2025 to make it an industry leader. To help achieve this, over 30,0000 acoustic loggers are currently being fitted by the firm into its pipe network that will enable data scientists to listen to the flow of water and detect audio signals that highlight discrepancies that indicate a leak or a burst.

The new approach by the firm is part of improving visibility and creating a CALM network to combat the issue of pressure surges.

Environment Agency seeks planning permission for £42m tidal flood scheme for Hull

The Environment Agency has submitted a planning application for a £42 million Humber Hull Frontage Improvement Scheme to provide better protection from flooding for 113,000 homes and businesses at risk from tidal flooding.

Image of Hull’s flood defence scheme proposed for Victoria Dock Village East


Proposals for the £multi-million Environment Agency-led scheme to protect thousands of properties from flooding from the Humber has been put forward to Hull’s planning chiefs. Planning permission is being sought for the scheme to improve a 7-8 kilometre stretch of tidal flood defences in the Humber Estuary.

If the scheme gets planning approval, work will start at the end of the year and will be completed by the end of 2020.

Nine sites have been identified as part of the scheme including St Andrew’s Quay, Albert Dock and Victoria Dock Village for improved defences.

Contractor BMM JV – a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Mott MacDonald – has been appointed to develop a detailed design and build plan along Hull’s tidal waterfront to help improve flood risk along the city’s 19 kilometre waterfront.

In the past 65 years, there have been three major tidal events in Hull, the last was in December 2013 when 264 properties were flooded due to the overtopping of the existing defences.

Water levels have potential to rise to around 1 to 3 metres above some parts of the city during high tides

During high tides, water levels have the potential to rise to around 1 to 3 metres above some parts of the city.

Over the last few years, the Environment Agency has reviewed the existing Humber flood defences from Fleet Drain to the west of the city, through Hull, to Lord’s Clough in the east. The work has identified the nine sites where work is now being proposed.

Helen Tattersdale, project manager at the Environment Agency, said:

“It is vital for Hull to have improved defences to protect against the potential devastating tidal flooding from the Humber Estuary.

“This investment has enabled us to assess a significant length of the current flood defence walls and embankments that run along the Hull frontage to come up with a scheme that will better protect the city both now and in the future taking into account climate change.”

“Over the past few months, we have been gathering feedback on aspects of the design from local residents and landowners, and other interested organisations including Natural England, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Hull City Council which have been taken into account in our proposals.”

The improvements in Hull are supported by a further four kilometres (2.5 mile) of new and raised tidal defences on either side of the city in the East Riding of Yorkshire, at Hessle and Paull, delivered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council in partnership with the Environment Agency.

The Humber Hull Frontage Improvement Scheme is one of a number of tidal flood alleviation projects that form part of the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy. The Environment Agency and local partners are now in the process of developing an advanced approach to managing flooding in tidal areas by the River Humber for the next 100 years.

Digging down to victory on triple decker roundabout

Work to create the North East’s first triple decker roundabout is coming to an end as 80,000 cubic metres of soil is removed, enough to fill 32 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The £75m Highways England scheme in North Tyneside is now 80% complete and involves lowering the A19 underneath the Silverlink roundabout and A1058 Coast Road.

The new road is expected to be used by 35,400 vehicles on average a day and expected to improve safety and reduce collisions.

Highways England assistant project manager Steven Cox said:

“You can really see the junction starting to take shape with the 3 layers and it’s fantastic that we are now entering the final stages. Work to remove the 80,000 cubic metres of soil has now been completed and this marks yet another major milestone on this vital scheme.

“We have 6 months left on site and we will be pulling out all the stops to ensure this scheme is completed on time. We still have some important work to complete such as the drainage, the pedestrian and cycle bridges and resurfacing the entire junction but providing the winter is kind to us we should be on track.”

Since work started in June 2016:

  • 55 bridge beams transported from West Mead in Ireland have been used, weighing 35 tonnes each at a length of 22 metres
  • 3 new bridges have been constructed to carry the existing layout
  • 580 piles installed which end to end will cover 7-miles
  • 2 miles of new drainage has been put in
  • 80,000 cubic metres of soil has been removed which will be used on the roundabout further south at Testos to create the embankment needed for that scheme – that’s enough to fill 32 Olympic sized swimming pools
  • On average 120 people work on site each day
  • The scheme employs 6 graduates or apprentices
  • 60% of its workforce lives in the North East
  • Two years without a loss time injury
  • They have received more compliments than complaints

Improvements to the 1,175 metres of cycleway and an extra 247 metres will be created, the same length as Tyne Tunnel. The gantries for improved signage will be installed and the roundabout completely resurfaced.

A time capsule has also been buried on site and will be unearthed in 100 years’ time. Local businesses and schools have all contributed items to be used in the time capsule and a plaque was unveiled by the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Norma Redfearn CBE.

She said:

“This really is history in the making. It’s a landmark project unlike any other in the North East and I’m delighted that local people have been able to get involved with filling and burying the time capsule.

“The work to provide the new triple decker roundabout will bring benefits not just for people living here and now but for many generations to come. It’s great to think that those same people will one day reopen this capsule and be able to appreciate what life was like as the project was taking shape.”

The scheme is on track to be completed by the end of March 2019. Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme can subscribe to receive updates about the scheme via Highways England’s website (

You can watch a flythrough of what the junction will look like once complete at


Carlisle council’s £5m confidence vote for southern link road

Irish Water – national Leakage Reduction scheme saves 3.5m litres of treated water in Limerick city

Irish Water, in partnership with Limerick City and County Council and supported by RPS and Roadbridge, have recently completed a 12 month contract to find and fix leaks on the public water network.

As part of the project, leak detection and repair crews have been finding leaks on roads, footpaths and other public areas, and carrying out repairs. Leakage has also been addressed by upgrading valves throughout the network. Approximately 100 valves along the public network in Limerick have been replaced. In addition, almost 3km of aged and problematic water mains have been replaced.

As a result of the work, over 3.5 million litres of treated water which had been lost to leakage every day is now available to supply homes and businesses in the city. Project has secured a more reliable water supply for homes and businesses

This has resulted in a more secure and reliable water supply for homes and businesses throughout the city, improved water quality and savings in the cost of providing treated water to the community.

Irish Water offers First Fix Free Scheme for free leak repairs on customer property

As part of the national Leakage Reduction Programme, the water company is also continuing to deliver a programme to remove lead from the public side of water service connection pipes. A water service connection is the water pipe that connects a customer’s property to the public water main in the street*. Over 350 public side lead services across the city have been removed as part of this improvement programme.

Another scheme ongoing across County Limerick as part of Irish Water’s national Leakage Reduction Programme is the First Fix Free Scheme which provides for free leak repairs on a customer’s property.

Information obtained from reading the meters installed during the domestic metering programme allows the utility to identify possible leaks on individual properties. The First Fix Free scheme offers free leak investigations and free repairs for qualifying properties where a constant flow of water is found on the outside water supply pipe.

Alan Morrissey, Irish Water’s Leakage Reduction Programme Regional Lead, commented:

“Communities across the city will benefit from the leakage savings we are making as part of this programme. We would like to thank householders and businesses across the city for their patience and support as we deliver these essential water network improvements.

“We all have a role to play in saving water and I would appeal to people in Limerick to continue to report leaks in the public water network and to avail of the First Fix Free scheme to address leaks on their own property.”

Leakage of treated water is a big problem for Irish Water due to the age and poor condition of much of the country’s water supply network. To address this, the water company is investing €500 million over the next four years to tackle leakage across the country.

Oxfordshire’s roads to be used as ‘virtual driving tests’ for driverless cars

Driverless car companies are hoping to simulate Oxfordshire’s roads in order to take their creations for a virtual test drive.

The OmniCAV project will see a 32km circuit of the county recreated, including rural, urban, main roads and intersections.

The exact route has not yet been announced, but it is expected to include familiar spots for thousands of city residents.

Ordnance Survey (OS), one of 11 partners in the £3.9m project, is leading on the capture and processing of the high-resolution mapping data.

It will feed in to create a world-first artificial intelligence-based simulation model for testing the safety of autonomous cars, before they are taken out onto real roads.

The simulation will be able to create and run different scenarios to test the vehicles, and can be used by certification bodies, insurers and manufacturers as they develop their businesses for an autonomous future.

Roads will be mapped according to their real-life characteristics, including various roadside features in order to prepare cars for deployment in the real-world.

OS will use similar techniques to other initiatives, known as Atlas and E-CAVE, that are helping the government shape the country’s infrastructure so it can support a nationwide network of autonomous vehicles.

Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, CEO of project lead Latent Logic said: “OmniCAV’s vision is ‘CAVs for All’: bringing safer, smarter, self-driving mobility for urban and rural areas.

“But first we need to know that driverless cars really can handle our challenging road conditions, on country lanes as much as crowded city streets.

“Virtual reality ‘driving tests’ are the only way of doing this, which is why we’ve brought together these 11 leading organisations to build a world-first, A.I.-based simulation of real Oxfordshire roads to securely and reliably test autonomous car safety.”

Oxfordshire has become a hot-spot in the driverless car revolution in recent years with many of the companies pioneering the new technology based in the county.

Summertown’s Oxbotica have already taken its vehicles out onto the roads of north Oxford after successful trials at the Culham Science Park and are hoping they will be able to drive themselves to London by the end of the year.

CEO Graeme Smith told the Oxford Mail earlier this year that Oxford’s roads were seen as the perfect training ground to test the cars, given they were initially designed for use by horse and carts.

Another firm, Streetdrone, has also set up in Osney and will be testing cars at Bicester Heritage.

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New study uses cutting edge technology to monitor water quality

Experts are testing cutting-edge techniques designed to enhance the monitoring of water worldwide as part of the €5 million MONOCLE project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

Around 20 scientists from the University of Stirling, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and colleagues from across Europe are gathering at Loch Leven, Kinross-shire, where they will study the feasibility of using drone and other in situ technology to monitor the quality of water.

The work, which takes place over the next three days, will dovetail with a Stirling-led project that is using satellites to monitor water quality from space. Scientists hope that information gathered from drones or loch-side devices will help address gaps in conventional monitoring and support data collected with satellites.

Professor Andrew Tyler, Deputy Dean and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Stirling, leads the £2.9m GloboLakes project, which uses satellites of the European Space Agency to monitor water quality, including the detection of algal concentrations, harmful algal blooms, and mineral and organic matter.

loch levenWhile the project team believe the technology has the ability to help monitor the millions of lakes across the world, the latest study, MONOCLE, addresses specific gaps in data.

Professor Tyler said:

“Only a small fraction of the world’s 100 million lakes are routinely monitored – largely due to their geographical spread and the logistical and political difficulties of monitoring water.

“The GloboLakes project has shown that, by using satellites, we can measure the constituents that contribute to water quality by their absorption and scattering of characteristics within the water column associated with lakes, reservoirs, rivers and estuaries.”

However, there are often gaps in this data –for example, due to cloud cover, or because the bodies of water are too small to be monitored by the satellites., he continued. The MONOCLE project is now seeking to fill the gaps in the data by using in situ and drone based technologies.

MONOCLE involves 12 partners and is led by Stefan Simis, Earth Observation scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. He said:

“It is essential to obtain regular and widespread measurements of water quality in lakes, estuaries and coastal waters, both to support satellite observations and in their own right – we use satellites to relate water colour to water quality, while measurements in the field are essential to monitor further chemical and biological properties.”

“Deploying sensors is unfortunately still a costly effort and one of the aims of MONOCLE is to bring down this cost. Our international colleagues visiting lochs in Scotland this week are developing methods to use consumer drones and sensors which you can build yourself, alongside highly accurate measurement instruments. “

After trialling the technology at Loch Leven, further tests will take place in Sweden, Hungary, Romania and Tanzania – assessing and comparing both low to high cost solutions and promoting the engagement of citizens in the monitoring of water.

The project at Loch Leven is the first in a series which will look at how different instruments work, how they compare and what factors influence the comparison.

Prof Tyler added:

“We hope that, by the end of this project, both low and high-tech solutions will be available to provide information that validates existing satellite technologies and provide solutions to the gaps in space and time from satellite data covering these dynamic yet vulnerable environments.”