Dee Valley and Portsmouth top developer services league table

Dee Valley Water and Portsmouth Water have jointly topped the latest water industry league table, having both achieved a perfect score.


According to company performance data on meeting developer services targets, published by Water UK on Thursday, both companies met 100 per cent of their water services targets between July and September.

The aim of the standards, which were voluntarily agreed to by the industry in December last year, is to allow developers to compare the performance of the water and sewerage companies over a range of services including handling enquiries, providing quotations, connections, and the adoption of developer laid assets.

For the second time running Affinity Water was the worst performer with a score of 66 per cent.

However, the company also showed the biggest improvement since quarter 1 (April to June), following a recovery plan launched in May to increase resources to its customer contact, administration and construction teams.

All water firms improved or remained the same compared with Q1, except Bournemouth Water who’s score slipped by 2 percentage points from 99 per cent to 97 per cent.

Meanwhile on the sewerage side, both Welsh Water and Yorkshire Water improved since Q1 to achieve perfect scores. The worst performer was Wessex Water, whose score slipped six percentage points to 90 per cent in Q2.

All other firms improved or remained the same compared with Q1, except Northumbrian Water whose score fell by 1 per cent.

Overall the average rating for meeting the developer targets for water services was 93 per cent, an improvement on 89 per cent in Q1. For sewerage services the average score increased from 94 per cent in Q1 to 97 per cent in Q2.

Chairman of Water UK’s Developer Services Standards Group, Richard Warneford, said: “While the measurement and publication of these figures is still relatively new, an early trend is emerging with evidence that reporting is already driving improvements in performance.

“Over the past quarter there have been some inevitable increases and decreases in some of the 24 measures but we will use these results to engage with our key stakeholders to ensure the measures remain appropriate and properly reflect the levels of service expected of water companies.”

-This article first appeared on Utility Week.

LED street lighting roll-out ‘to save city £77m over 20 years

Councillors have approved plans to upgrade street lights across Edinburgh saving the city an estimated £77m over the next 20 years.

Members of the transport and environment committee agreed proposals to convert 54,000 street lights to energy-efficient LED (Light Emitting Diodes) on Tuesday.

The move follows a project to replace 7000 obsolete lanterns with LED lights last year, aiming to reduce the cost of energy consumption for the city’s street lights, which was in the region of £2.97m per year.

With energy rates expected to double within the next ten years, the use of LEDs will allow the council to reduce electricity usage while mitigating the expected rise in carbon costs.

Transport and environment convener, councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The city-wide roll-out of LED lights is a huge step towards an efficient, sustainable future for Edinburgh. Not only will it reduce carbon emissions but will have a real impact on energy costs in the long term.

“Our aim is to draw on experience gained from the first phase of white lights which has allowed us to gauge demands on lamp brightness and control for residents and traffic.”

The results of last year’s White Light Project have enabled the council’s street lighting section to formulate a robust business case for a city-wide roll out.

This includes a comparison between a ‘do nothing’ scenario and a change to LEDs over a 20 year period, which estimated a £77m difference between the two, calculated on maintenance savings and reduced energy use.

Lessons learned from the initial project, when some residents considered lights to be too dim, have been taken into account. This has resulted in the proposed installation of brighter LEDs with the facility to remotely adjust lighting levels, rather than individually, where necessary.


Carrington West Match Their Donations in Great South Run for 2nd Charity Partner!

Members of the team from Portsmouth based recruitment firm Carrington West took part in the Great South Run on Sunday 25th October, and their company decided to match pound for pound the money raised for charity. Traditionally, Carrington West has supported the Tom Prince Cancer Trust and this year was no different raising £580 through their Just Giving page. Carrington West decided to match the £580 for their second charity partner “The Café Project” which provides support, training and employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities through its community café in Basingstoke.


Simon Gardiner Director and runner said “Tom Prince is a great cause that everyone locally will be aware of and we were delighted to support them for a 4th year running. During the last 12 months we had inducted a 2nd charity partner here at Carrington West. After discovering the Café Project did not have a Just Giving page we decided the best way forward to get maximum impact for our charity partners through the run would be to match the donations we received pound for pound”.


Fellow runner and Carrington West Lead Consultant Blayne Cahill said “the run was tough this year and everyone wants to do their best for the charities we support and what better than the company doubling the donations. I notice the entry for next year’s run is open already but we will probably at least wait for the legs to stop aching before signing up!”


The runners from Left to right this year were: Matt Ulysses, Simon Gardiner, Ron Fagan, Jason Kohle and Blayne Cahill.



Around the globe | Chinese street lighting lets you charge electric cars

A new breed of ‘smart’ road lamps has just arrived in Shanghai, China.

The new lamps allows users to charge their electric cars, hop onto the internet and even monitor pollution, reported People’s Daily Online.

15 of the lamps, unveiled October 27, were rolled out for the first trial with more expected in the future.

Although the lamps’ primary function will be to light the street, it has been equipped with several different functions.

To start, it can act as a free wifi hotspot, allowing users to get online after registration.

There is a direct call button for emergency services, making reports of incidents much faster.

For tourists, there’s the possibility of speaking to a central directory to get useful information such as road traffic and details of local businesses, bars and restaurants.

The lamps also offers a whole host of new environmentally friendly functions including allowing those with electric cars to charge up their vehicles.

Motorists will need to download an app and swipe the QR code for the lamps in order to pay for the electricity used through their phones.

A representative for the Shanghai Construction Committee hopes that this will encourage the development of more electric cars in the city in the future.

What’s more, the lamps could be used to monitor levels of pollution in the atmosphere.

However, the cost of the smart lamps is also substantial compared to the cost of a typical lamp, which starts from about 500 Yuan (£50).

Each smart lamp costs 20,000 Yuan (£2,000) to build and another 20,000 Yuan to be fitted with all of the gadgets.

The cost of operating the light is unknown.

At present, the 15 lights are operated on a trial basis in central Shanghai near Dagu Road, Shimen Road and Chengdu Road North.

The trial is expected to be rolled out to tourist hotspots such as Nanjing Road and the Bund in 2016.

Source: Daily Mail

Highways England “game changer” for Road worker safety

A Highways England initiative which has virtually eliminated the millions of occasions road workers had to cross carriageways a year – improving safety and reducing risk – has been hailed a ‘game-changer’.

The initiative means road workers no longer have to put up traffic-management signs in the central reservation of two, three or four lane dual carriageway roads – saving 3.7 million crossings a year. This mainly applies to overnight work taking place over a short period.

Highways England worked with partners the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the Road Worker Safety Forum (RoWSaF) to research the safety implications of carriageway crossings for both road users and road workers.  On-road trials were carried out which found that road user safety was unaffected when signs were only installed on the nearside verge.

Now Highways England, TRL and RoWSaF have scooped a prestigious “Special Merit Award” in the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards, where the initiative was described by judges as a “game changer” for safety in the industry.

Highways Magazine said: “Usually there are only three or four entries each year which the judges feel have substantial benefits to be considered for this special award. This year was no exception but there was one clear winner.”

Ian Smith, team leader for Highways England health and safety division based in Bedford, said:

“This is a great achievement but we will not stop here.

“We are already working on innovative techniques which will further improve road worker safety while working on live lanes and near to traffic management vehicles. We are aiming to massively reduce these remaining levels of risk by the end of 2016.”

Mark Pooley, road worker safety programme manager based in Guildford, said:

“The removal of carriageway crossings, while installing and removing temporary traffic management, has resulted in a huge reduction in risks to road workers right across our network.

“Typically six crossings had to be undertaken by road workers to install and remove a single sign on the central reservation (the A frame, sand bags and the sign). Up until recently there were typically five temporary traffic management signs on the central reservation, so you can imagine how much working practices have been improved.”

The service providers that carried out the on-road trials during normal, scheduled road works were Enterprise Mouchel, Chevron, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald, HW Martin and Connect Plus.

The on-road trials started in 2010-11, with the industry safety guidance for road works being revised progressively.

Plans for Brighton’s West Street to become like La Rambla in Barcelona

One of the most run-down parts of the city could be transformed into Brighton’s answer to La Rambla as part of a regeneration masterplan.

The newly unveiled plan would transform “tacky” West Street – currently a magnet for antisocial behaviour and blighted by “awful buildings” – into a Barcelona-style walkway including hotels, a restaurant, trees and street furniture.

Developers hope the development could act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the area, and coincide with the much-mooted Standard Life redevelopment of Churchill Square, as well as the £9 million rebuilding of Shelter Hall on the seafront.

Under the proposals, 78 West Street, formerly Hedkandi and Tru nightclub, and 79 West Street, currently Walkabout, Smart Brighton Beach and Backpackers Hostels, will be replaced with new hotels and a ground floor area spanning between 78 West Street and 7-8 Middle Street, including a hotel reception and high quality restaurant.

The eyesore former nightclub will be replaced by a modern building “reminiscent of the original Victorian dancehall”.

Another building will replace a former hotel on Middle Street, which currently towers over the synagogue and other neighbouring listed buildings and its graffitied front will be rebuilt and opened up.

Meanwhile “unattractive, unlit” South Street will be made into a safe secondary thoroughfare, with entrances and windows to the new hotel and a small block of four apartments.

Architect Morgan Carn Partnership is also behind the recently approved Hanningtons Lane, Puget’s Lane and Brighton Square plan to regenerate The Lanes and North Street.

John McLean, director at Morgan Carn, said: “This is tremendously exciting for our city, West Street is a huge disappointment and lost opportunity.

“Thousands of visitors and local residents flock to the seafront from the station and their first impression is an inhospitable, car dominated street spoilt by some awful buildings.

“West Street suffers from a tacky image and many of the current uses are a magnet for antisocial behaviour, with the dead frontages created by the nightclubs and amusement arcades contributing nothing to the quality of the public realm.

“This is the primary route between the station, seafront and the eagerly awaited i360 and should be Brighton’s equivalent of the Rambla in Barcelona, a wonderful, vibrant, tree lined avenue with street performers and alfresco dining, an attraction in itself.

“We are hoping to upgrade the pavements and introduce trees and street furniture as part of the proposals and encourage neighbouring landowners to do the same.”

Geoffrey Springer, director at developer London & Regional, said: “The proposed development will bring a disused and semi-derelict site back into occupational use, generating jobs, enhancing the appeal of the Old Town to tourists and creating economic and physical regeneration in the heart of Brighton. We want to ensure that we deliver the very best development, as Brighton deserves.”

Afshin Foulad, director at Smart Space, said: “This is a burning aspiration that we have been working towards since our acquisition of the site and we hope will provide a catalyst for the future enhancement of West Street and the Old Town. We look forward to discussing our ideas with local stakeholders and the general public in due course.”



United Utilities floats £3.5m of solar panels on reservoir

Water company has plans to install a floating solar power system near Manchester in a bid to reduce costs.

Water giant United Utilities is to install Europe’s biggest floating solar power system on a reservoir near Manchester, as it seeks to cut its energy costs.
The 12,000 panel, £3.5m development will be only the second of its kind in Britain, dwarfing an 800-panel pilot in Berkshire last year, and will be the second biggest in the world after a scheme in Japan. Installation of the panels is due to begin today at the Godley reservoir in Greater Manchester, where it will provide a third of the power for a water treatment works.
The system is scheduled to be completed before Christmas, to qualify for subsidies before they are due to be drastically cut in the new year.
United Utilities’ three megawatt (MW) scheme is currently eligible for subsidies of almost 6p per kilowatt-hour (KWh), but ministers have proposed to cut the rate to about 1p per KWh, under plans which have caused widespread anger in the solar industry.
United Utilities is also exploring plans for a second project near Lancaster, but Neil Gillespie, its director of energy strategy, said it was “doubtful” whether that would go ahead if the subsidy cuts were as harsh as planned.

The water giant’s use of the floating solar technology at Godley is a coup for Mark Bennett, an entrepreneur who introduced the technology to the country last year with the pilot project on his own farm in Berkshire.

The UK’s first floating solar panel system has been installed on a reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, Berkshire

United Utilities is also in the process of installing up to 100 MW of solar panels on its land. It aims to install up to 40 MW in time to qualify for the current rate of subsidy, but Mr Gillespie said it was hopeful it would still be able to proceed with many of the remainder of the projects even if subsidies were cut.

Highways England will alter road markings on ‘confusing’ Carkeel A38 roundabout

Confusion on the A38 at Carkeel means part of the road will be closed for two nights after motorists complained roundabout changes were confusing.

Between 8pm and 6am on Tuesday October 27 and Wednesday October 28 Highways England will change the road markings. Spokesperson Alexis Field said: “Improvements worth £3.27 million were recently completed at the roundabout and while the road markings passed our safety checks, drivers told us changes might help them navigate the roundabout and that is why we are carrying out the work.”

A signed diversion route will advise drivers to use the B3271 while the road markings are being altered.

Traffic on the A388 Callington Road towards Saltash will now be directed by road markings to the right hand lane. Markings will also be altered to give more guidance for merging traffic on the westbound exit onto the A38.

Previous work at the roundabout widened the westbound approach to three lanes and created a two lane exit. A footpath for pedestrians on the A38 eastern arm was also installed.

Highways England say the improvements will increase traffic flow and reduce queue lengths for the roundabout. They added the works should also support growth in the surrounding area, such as development at Carkeel and Saltash.

A second phase of works by Cornwall Council on either side of the roundabout will aim to make further improvements to the road network.


Saltend sewage: Yorkshire Water to spend £30m to tackle stench

A water company is set to invest £30m to stop smells from a sewage treatment works near Hull after protests from campaigners.
The Saltend facility has been blamed for the “rotten eggs” stench in the nearby town of Hedon for several years.
Yorkshire Water spent £3.5m on an odour control unit at the site in 2013.
But residents said they were “frustrated” and handed a 2,250-signature petition to East Riding of Yorkshire Council in August.
The company said it had developed a £30m action plan consisting of around 50 different improvements which will change how waste water coming into the works is treated.
It hopes the action plan, which follows a full review of the site by independent investigators in July, will be put in place by summer 2016.
Yorkshire Water also said it was setting up a £75,000 community fund for local community projects in order to thank people for their “patience”.
‘Broken promises’
Mike Bryan, from Hedon Town Council, said: “I’m delighted Yorkshire Water is now responding. It’s looking like we are getting some constructive way forward.
“The residents of Hedon deserve this. You can’t go out in your garden to sit and relax in the sunshine or even put your washing out. The campaign’s been going on for many, many years.
“We’ve had many broken promises in the past and hopefully this [investment] will be a solution.”
The petition called for the council to issue an abatement order on Yorkshire Water under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council confirmed it had served the notice in August, ordering Yorkshire Water to stop the nuisance of the smells emanating from the treatment works.
Yorkshire Water previously said recent complaints came after the site received unprecedented levels of waste.
The firm said it was “transporting healthy seed bacteria from other waste water treatment works” and “dosing additional chemicals” to combat the problem.

Speed cameras cause motorists to take ‘erratic measures’ to avoid being caught and fined

Speed cameras are creating ‘dangerous braking black-spots’ as drivers desperately try to avoid being caught, a new report claims today.

The number of motorists who suddenly slam their breaks on is, on average, around six times higher at fixed speed-camera sites, according to the study.

In the worst cases, the incidence of hard-braking near speed cameras was 11 times the norm.

Headed ‘Speed cameras don’t work,’ the controversial report says: ‘Our new analysis reveals the braking black spots they create across the UK.’

The results were compiled by leading driver data firm Wunelli whose technology tracks driver behaviour. It says speed cameras ‘encourage poor driving behaviour.’

Experts analysed more than 1 billion miles of driving behaviour data. This, it concluded, ‘revealed the braking black spots across the UK created by speed cameras, based on motorists braking excessively just before speed cameras to avoid being caught’.

It did this by measuring the number of incidents of ‘hard-braking’ within 50m of the camera, and comparing it to the same number in the distance between 50m and 100m at fixed sites in residential areas with limits of 30mph,40mph and 50mph.

From this, the report highlighted what it described as the ‘top 10 most dangerous speed camera sites in the UK.’

The report defines a ‘hard braking event’ as a change in speed of 6.5mph or more over a 1-second time-period ‘which is enough to propell a bag on the passenger seat into the footwell’.

On this basis it said the most ‘dangerous’ camera site was on the M4, Eastbound, near Boston Manor train station, London where there were 57 cases of hard-braking within 50m of the speed camera compared to just 5 between 50m and 100m – an 11-fold increase.

Second worst was the speed-camera at Rochdale Road, Middleton, Manchester (South of the M62 and north of Slattocks Link Road (A627M), which recorded 43 cases of hard braking close to the camera compared to just four further away – also am 11-fold increase.