Christmas Jumper Day

Jumper joy’s spreading all over the nation this Christmas Jumper Day, especially here at Carrington West.

Each and every member of staff has got involved by wearing their silly festive jumpers, they will be generously donating to our festively wrapped up donation box for our chosen charity.  Our employee Bryony James baked some Christmas themed cakes to sell throughout the day.

We will be revealing our grand total at the end of the day.

Happy Christmas


UK Govt tenders £7m contract to build climate change and natural disasters resilience in Nepal

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is scaling up its efforts to build resilience to natural disasters and climate change in Nepal via DFID’s Nepal Resilience Portfolio – DFID has gone out to tender with contracts for two major new programmes worth an estimated £7 million.

Nepal is subject to a wide range of disaster risks and impacts, including both earthquakes and climate related hazards such as floods, droughts and landslides. Disasters cost the government about six percent of its annual development expenditure per year. Recent estimates indicate that the negative impact of weather variability is equivalent to around 2 % of current GDP per year rising to 5 % or more in extreme monsoon flood years.

The impacts are expected to increase significantly due to climate change – to address the challenges; DFID Nepal is now taking forward two major new programmes, ‘Climate Smart Development for Nepal’ and ‘Strengthening Disaster Resilience in Nepal’.

DFID has gone out to tender to implement two contracts in support of the implementation of the two major new programmes.

Lot One seeks a supplier to act as a Portfolio Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Unit, and Lot Two seeks a supplier to act as a Policy and Institutions Facility (PIF).

The MEL will synthesise monitoring data and conduct analysis to help DFID Nepal flexibly manage the programmes, ensuring strong value for money.

The MEL will also generate evidence through evaluations on DFID Nepal’s disaster resilience and climate smart development programmes, sharing findings and facilitating learning with a range of audiences.

By building the systems for Government of Nepal to lead on disaster resilience and climate change, DFID said the PIF will help to strengthen Nepal’s policy and institutional framework for disaster resilience and climate change. It is also expected to help to deliver a sustained and transformational impact on Nepal’s resilience to climate disasters and earthquakes beyond the beneficiaries directly supported through programme activities.

DFID intends to award up to two contracts for up to 5.5 years –the total budget available for the MEL is approximately £3.5 million and approximately £3.5 million also identified for the PIF.


Staffordshire bridge work completed early

Motorists in Staffordshire have been given a festive boost – after it was announced work on a bridge over the M6 has been completed ahead of schedule.

The work on the bridge in Eccleshall was due for completion on 23 December, but has finished more than a fortnight before.

Highways England Project Manager, Arasu Gurusamy, said:

We’ve worked hard to complete this early and well in time for the Christmas and New Year break. All cones, signs and diversions are being removed so it is fully open for drivers.

We’d like to thank motorists and residents for their patience over the past few months.

The work involved replacing sections of the bridge on the B5026 Eccleshall Road as well as barriers to improve overall safety. Re-waterproofing, resurfacing and re-marking of the road has also been carried out.

The news comes after other projects finished weeks ahead of schedule.

Highways England completed the first phase of the A34/A500 Talke Junction, Stoke, more than two weeks early last month (November).

Elsewhere a scheme to strengthen the southbound carriageway of the M6 Great Barr finished more than three weeks early.

Environment Agency awards £4m+ flood defence contracts

The Environment Agency has awarded a number of  flood defence contracts which could be worth upwards of £4.3 million in total.

The Agency is seeking to improve its incident response capability by increasing its stock of temporary flood defences for use in a variety of flooding incidents which will form an essential part of its flood incident response.

The successful suppliers will be required to supply all fittings, fixings and consumables to permit uncompromised deployment and operation of the equipment throughout its life. The equipment is stored at a network of depots distributed around England.

A contract for the supply of 1.0 m high metal frames temporary flood barriers has been awarded to Aquobex Ltd, Geodesign Barriers Ltd and Swedish firms  Inero AB and Geodesign Latitud , four of four companies who bid for the work.

A separate contract with an estimated total value of £3.5 million for the supply of 1.0 m high metal frames temporary flood barriers has also been awarded to Aquobex Ltd, Geodesign Barriers Ltd and Inero AB , the only companies who bid for the work.

Finally, Leeds-based Hesco Bastion Ltd has been awarded a contract for the supply and delivery of temporary flood protection products of filled containers either permeable filled containers that consist of cellular barriers made of permeable materials such as geotextile or geosynthetic fabrics and filled with aggregates or other materials to form a barrier against floodwater or impermeable filled containers that consist of barriers made of impermeable materials such as polyester, polyethylene and plastic, which is filled with water or aggregates to provide additional weight.

Duration of all the contracts is four years.

Consultation begins on M42 Junction upgrade

Options to upgrade junction 6 of the M42 in the West Midlands are being put to the public.

Three options to upgrade junction 6 of the M42 in the West Midlands are being put to drivers, business owners and residents as consultation gets under way this week.

Highways England is proposing changes to improve the capacity of the junction to accommodate increasing traffic demand and to support access to Birmingham Airport and the NEC, as well as prepare for the new HS2 station.

The seven-week consultation runs from Friday (9 December) until 27 January, with three options proposed as the best way forward. They are:

This would provide a new 2.4km dual carriageway link between the Clock Interchange and a junction allowing north and south access to the M42 north of Solihull Road.

This would provide a new 2.3km dual carriageway link between the Clock Interchange and a junction allowing north and south access to the M42 north of Solihull Road.

This would provide a new 1.6km dual carriageway link between the Clock Interchange and a south facing junction on the M42 north of Shadowbrook Lane.

There are also plans to improve traffic flow at the roundabout by providing dedicated left turn links at the NEC, National Motorcycle Museum and north east area of the roundabout.

Highways England Senior Project Manager Jonathan Pizzey said:

We’re delivering major investment in the West Midlands as part of a nationwide commitment to improving our roads.

We want people to have their say on the options we are proposing ahead of developing the scheme further to a preferred route.

People attending the consultation events will be able to see detailed plans of the proposals, find out more about the scheme and ask questions of the project team.

The events take place as follows:

  • Friday 9 December: 2 to 8pm. The Arden Hotel, Coventry Road, Solihull, B92 OEH
  • Saturday 10 December: 10am to 4pm. Catherine-de-Barnes Village Hall, Hampton Lane, B91 2TJ
  • Monday 12 December: 10am to 6pm. Fentham Hall, Marsh Lane, Hampton-in- Arden, B92 0AH
  • Wednesday 4 January: 10am to 5pm. The Core, Touchwood, Solihull, B91 3RG
  • Saturday 14 January: 9am to 6pm. The NEC, North Avenue, Birmingham, B40 1NT – (between atrium entrances 2 and 3)

United Utilities awards £6m structural surveying services contract

United Utilities has awarded a contract for structural surveying services worth an estimated £6 million.

Services to be provided under the contract cover structural engineering surveying services to be undertaken on company assets or at customer properties.

The derivation of the select tender list was conducted by issuing pre-qualification information to suppliers registered on the Achilles UVDB system.

Manchester firm Byrom Clark Roberts Ltd has been awarded the contract, one of three companies who bid for the work.

Christmas Community Lunch

For 5 years running, Lakeside host, with the help of the Lakeside CSR Group*, a Christmas Community Lunch for local individuals and families in crisis.

200 people got to enjoy a Christmas that they will never forget when they joined Lakeside for a free three course meal in the Atrium Café. The children got to meet Santa to make sure they all have a lovely Christmas present to take home. This year they also got to meet some beautiful Pony’s, listen to some live music courtesy of Carrington West own DJ Paul Ballett, experience magnificent magic, have their face painted, watch how puppets are made and much more.

All the people invited, including individuals, families, children and young adults, are currently being supported by the You Trust, The Roberts Centre, Two Saints, Mind the Gap, Portsmouth Young Carers and other community groups.

Carrington West did not just donate a generous amount by paying for 50 peoples Christmas dinners…lots of the staff got involved and others took part throughout the day too. Paul Ballet gave up his time to DJ from 11.00 o’clock for the arrival of the children and Lucy Rimmer attended all the Christmas meetings held at Lakesides to help contribute to the event and waitressed all day.

“The whole experience was remarkable. Everybody was so grateful, it was a very lovely and emotional day. I am over the moon that I was able to take part”. Lucy Rimmer

“it was a very rewarding experience, for a great cause”. Paul Ballett

Motorists face A9 disruption with work starting on two major bridges

Motorists are facing disruption on the A9 this week as improvement works on two major bridges begin.

Dornoch Bridge is to be closed overnight from tonight for the structure’s expansion joints to be upgraded as part of a £190,000 project.

And Bear Scotland has also confirmed the bridges at Raigmore Interchange are also now set for overnight works starting this week.

Two bridges carry the dual carriageway Inverness to Thurso road over the major junction and they are now due to have joints replaced to ensure safety for years to come.

The improvements will take place overnight, from 7pm to 7am, and is scheduled to take up to eight nights to complete.

Works will be completed on both bridges on the northbound carriageway before switching to complete the structures on the southbound side.

Due to the nature of the improvements the relevant carriageway of the A9 will be closed each night and during these times traffic will be diverted a short distance via the slip roads to the roundabout then back onto the A9.

The bridge closure and all traffic management will be lifted by 7am ahead of the morning rush hour.

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west representative, said: “The eight nights of bridge work will allow our teams to safely replace the bridge joints across both sides of the A9 at the two bridges over the Raigmore Interchange, helping to make sure the bridges remain in a safe condition.

“We’ve scheduled the works to take place overnight to minimise disruption to motorists and have arranged for the work to take place over consecutive nights to reduce the overall impact of the programme.

“Our teams will look to complete the works as quickly and safety as possible however we’d encourage motorists to allow some extra for their journey.”

The Dornoch Bridge will be closed overnight between 9pm and 6am for the next eight nights, resulting in a lengthy diversion via Bonar Bridge.

Pedestrians and cyclists can be escorted through the site when safe to do so and emergency vehicles will be allowed through upon notification of the site team.

The second phase of the works will take place during the day and the bridge will remain open with temporary traffic lights in operation with the road reduced to one lane.

Portsmouth Water consults on quality of performance data for customers

Portsmouth Water has launched a new consultation asking its customers to help it determine how it will continue to ensure the information it provides on company performance is relevant, reliable, complete, accurate and timely.

The consultation is seeking views on a statement prepared by the water company on the risks, strengths and weaknesses associated with providing information to customers and other stakeholders. Historically, Portsmouth Water has published information on the company’s performance in the “Risk & Compliance Statement.”

In July 2016 it reported in the new “Annual Performance Report”. The report included details of its performance during the first year of the AMP6 period (2015-2020) and enables stakeholders to assess how it has performed against the measures of success that are regarded by customers as being the most important factors.

The targets for the Performance Measures were agreed with customers as part of an extensive customer engagement exercise carried out when it was preparing its business plans for the 2015-2020 period.

Portsmouth Water is asking the following key questions in its consultation document:

  • Do you have any comments on our overall approach to this Risk Assessment?
  • Do you agree with our assessment of the “Risks, Strengths and Weaknesses” summarised in this Statement?
  • Which particular performance measure is of greatest importance to you?
  • Is there any data not included in this assessment which you do rely upon and would like us to consider including in our reporting?

The water company has performed a risk assessment for each of the Performance Measures (and the data used to calculate them) using methodology set out by Ofgem and recommended by Ofwat as best practice.

Following the risk assessment Portsmouth Water will design an appropriate data assurance plan setting out company plans for assurance of the Performance Measures and the underlying data that drives them.

The outcome of the new consultation will form the basis of an Annual Assurance Plan Portmouth Water will prepare and consult further on ahead of the publication of its 2016/17 Annual Performance Report in summer 2017.

The water industry regulator’s assessment of the utility’s reporting in 2015/16 published yesterday looked at eleven areas of assessment and concluded that the company had met the majority of Ofwat’s expectations for assurance practices.


Speed bumps could be removed to cut traffic pollution and save lives

Speed bumps should be removed from roads as part of wide-ranging proposals by the health watchdog to cut thousands of deaths from air pollution each year.

In a report looking at how to make air cleaner, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), said that measures which help motorists stay at a constant speed, rather than accelerating and decelerating, were preferable to humps.

It follows a study earlier this year by Imperial College which found that forcing drivers to slow down and speed up again produces significant of harmful emissions.

Other schemes proposed by Nice include separating cyclists and cars using foliage; moving living rooms to the rear of houses away from busy roads and banning ‘car idling’ outside schools and retirement homes.

Draft guidelines published today say planners must take into account the effect of air pollution when designing speed reduction schemes and that any ‘physical measures’ must be designed ‘to minimise sharp decelerations and consequences accelerations.’

They suggest signs that display speed could be used as an alternative to speed bumps and greater use of average speed cameras, as well as variable speed limits on busier roads.

Ralph Bagge, leader of South Bucks District Council and deputy chairman of the Nice guideline committee, added: “Smooth driving reduces emissions and stop-start acceleration and deceleration braking is harmful. It is putting out more through the tail-pipe but secondly braking is also grinding bits of very fine particulate matter which goes into the atmosphere.

“Where a 20mph limit is appropriate humps and bumps aren’t the most effective way of doing it because most people tend to accelerate up to about 30mph, hit the brakes and do about 15mph over the hump and then accelerate again.

“So in emissions terms that’s a very ineffective deterrent. We would say we would like their to be a better way of doing it than that.”

The Imperial study found that in one north London street with a speed limit of 20mph and fitted with road humps, a petrol driven car produced 64 per cent more Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) than in a similar 20mph street fitted with road cushions. It also produced 47 per cent more Particulate Matter  (PM) and nearly 60 per cent more Carbon Monoxide (CO2) emissions.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said rethinking speed bumps was worth ‘serious consideration’

“The suggestion that local authorities should think again about speed humps which cause motorists to brake and then accelerate again is an eminently sensible suggestion and has the potential to improve the quality of air locally.

“Nice also acknowledges the importance of improving the flow of traffic – since air quality is often at its worst where congestion appears, a point that the RAC has made on a number of occasions.”

Air pollution plays a contributing factor in 25,000 deaths in England each year,  triggering heart attacks exacerbating respiratory conditions. But road usage in Britain is at record levels, with an estimated 320 billion vehicle miles travelled in the year ending September 2016,  contributing to about a third of air pollution in urban sites.

Nice is also calling for “no-idling” zones around the nation’s schools to prevent parents leaving their cars running during the school run.

And road planners should avoid cycle routes on heavily polluted routes and where it is unavoidable, should consider installing foliage to screen cyclists from vehicles.

Towns and cities with pollution problems should consider implementing clean air zones and look into the possibility of introducing congestion charging zones, they advise sa well as considering public awareness initiatives such as “car free days”

The health watchdog is also encouraging house builders to place living rooms at the back of houses away from roads while planners should ensure newly built schools, nurseries and retirement homes are built away from busy roads.

The guidelines are out for public consultation until next summer but the government is under pressure to radically improve air pollution or face hefty fines for missing European targets on clean air.

Professor Paul Lincoln, chief executive of UK health forum and NICE guideline committee chair said: “The guidance is very timely given the imperative to meet EU and national air quality standards.

“I hope, when finalised, that this guidance will prove influential in reducing the amount of air pollution we are exposed to every day.”

However some experts said that the report did not go far enough in tackling major polluters, such as diesel cars.

Prof Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London, said: Although the report clearly points the finger at emissions from diesel vehicles, it gives the impression that targeting diesel is not particularly effective.

“Without an effective national diesel policy, such as a scrappage scheme, local initiatives are either likely to fail to deliver, or at best make small changes in exposure with limited health benefits.”

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said: “Action is needed both to ensure vehicles on the road are clean and that there are fewer of them. Diesel vehicles, which are the most polluting, must be phased out and our transport and planning policy needs a radical overhaul.”

But The British Lung Foundation (BLF) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the proposed measures were a welcome step in the right direction.

“Air pollution contributes to tens of thousands of early deaths every year. It increases the risk of lung cancer and impairs children’s lung development,” said Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the BLF.

“Given the severity of the problem, we welcome this draft guidance and look forward to seeing the finalised plans.”