UK ceramic membrane water project moves ahead

PLYMOUTH, UK The UK’s first large-scale ceramic membrane drinking water treatment plant is on track with 300 days of construction complete.

The £60 million Mayflower Water Treatment Works is being designed by Dutch technology company PWNT for utility South West Water.

Tested at a prototype facility from 2013 to 2015, the technology uses suspended ion exchange with a resin regeneration system, inline coagulation and ceramic membrane microfiltration.

It is the first time that this combined technology has been used in the UK.

Mayflower Water Treatment Works will replace the outdated treatment works at Crownhill in Plymouth, which was built in the 1950s and is reaching the end of its useful life.

UK ceramic membrane water project moves ahead

The development is scheduled to become operational in September 2018, with the existing Crownhill works retiring from service a few months later.

The project is South West Water’s biggest single capital investment in its 2015-20 business plan.

Stephen Bird, managing director of utility South West Water, said: “We’re approaching the halfway point of the construction timetable and while there is plenty more to do, real progress is being made and the team have been working tirelessly in all weathers to ensure we’re on target to finish the main building work by next Spring.”

Firms named for £434m northern highways framework

Highways England has teamed up with 18 contractors to improve highways in Cumbria and North Lancashire, and the North East of England.

The new-style framework, worth up to £434m, will start in April and covers 10 different specialisms of work split into 15 separate lots.

The framework covers a range of activities that include renewal work to roads and bridges, and improvement schemes on the Highways England road network.

Interserve, Carnell Support Services and Galliford Try feature among the main civils packages.

The framework is part of the Asset Delivery contracts which will see Highways England directly managing both routine maintenance and the delivery of capital renewal and improvement schemes.

This marks a change from previous way of working, bringing the management of key functions in-house and taking greater control of the road network.

Specialist Construction Works Framework – North
Lot 1 Supplier
Corrosion Protection RH Painting (trading as Whittle Programmed Maintenance )
Lot 2
Structural Concrete Repairs Concrete Repairs
Lot 3
Structures Waterproofing and Expansion Joints Route One Highways
Lot 4a
Road Lighting and Electrical Works Carnell Support Service
Galliford Try Infrastructure
Lot 4b
Road Lighting and Electrical Works Carnell Support Service
Galliford Try Infrastructure
Lot 5a
General Civil Engineering A E Yates
Carnell Support Service
Interserve Construction
Lot 5b
General Civil Engineering Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering trading as Birse Civils
Carnell Support Service
Interserve Construction
Lot 6
Technology Imtech Traffic and Infra (Trading as Dynniq)
Lot 8a
Road Markings DeAngelo Brothers UK
WJ North
Lot 8b
Road Markings DeAngelo Brothers UK
WJ North
Lot 9
Restraint Systems (Vehicle and Pedestrian) Colas
H W Martin Safety Fencing
Lot 10a
Specialist Drainage Carnell Support Service
Lot 10b
Specialist Drainage Carnell Support Service
Lot 11a
Temporary Traffic Management Carillion Traffic Management
HW Martin Traffic Management
Lot 11b
Temporary Traffic Management Tarmac Aggregates
HW Martin Traffic Management

The first of these types of contracts began operation in the East Midlands region in July last year.

The new framework contractors will work alongside Kier Highways which has maintenance responsibility in Area 13 and CH2M Costain joint venture has Area 14. Amey OW has the design service contract in both regions.

David Poole, Executive Director for commercial and procurement at Highways England, said: “These contracts demonstrate our commitment to increasing capability and understanding within Highways England and bringing Highways England closer to our customers.

“Collaboration with our supply chain is key to our new way of working and we are looking forward to establishing a successful, long-term relationship with the appointed contractors.”

Highways England will be working with the successful contractors to ensure that they are mobilised and ready to begin delivering key services from 1 April 2017.

Severn Trent looks at new delivery models for £4bn programme for AMP7 and beyond

Severn Trent Water is considering its strategy for above and below ground capital works, services and goods for future regulatory periods including AMP7 from large capital projects to smaller scale repair and maintenance.
The programme value is expected to be up to £4 billion depending on the size of the regulatory cycles included.

The water company is now exploring a number of different delivery models ranging from turnkey solutions to sourcing strategy for materials, plant, equipment and labour.

Severn Trent is interested in hearing companies who operate in these markets, including:

Design and construction or construction;
Material supply e.g. supply only and supply and installation of plant;
Labour supply;
Construction equipment supply and/or operation.
The utility is expecting to issue a contract notice in May 2017.



A new app is aiming to cut young driver deaths by offering rewards such as pizza and days out for safe driving.

The free Shotgun app, launched by insurer Direct Line, uses GPS technology to track routes and monitor braking and speed on each journey.

The app scores different elements of the user’s driving before giving feedback and allowing them to earn points with brands such as Pizza Express, Starbucks and Virgin Experience Days based on overall performance.

Shotgun lasts up until users clock up 1,000 miles – typically six months on the road.

In 2015, 402 teenage car drivers were killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads, equating to seven 17 to 19-year-olds a week, according to Direct Line’s own accident statistics.

Direct Line said its data had shown that one in four teenage drivers will crash in their first year on the road.

It said the app is not an insurance product and is available to all new drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 regardless of the insurer they have chosen.

Kerry Chilvers, brands director at Direct Line, said: “There are over half a million teenagers on our roads and every week more than seven of them are killed or suffer life-changing injuries. These are figures we have to change.

“We want Shotgun to act as a new driver’s personal wingman beside them, to support them through those important first 1,000 miles of driving.

“We know that scare tactics don’t work for this audience, who believe they’re invincible, so we worked with behavioural psychologists to develop a solution which incentivises good driving and the leader board element appeals to competitive natures.”

In 2011, The Co-operative launched a cashback reward on its insurance for young drivers who kept to speed limits, avoided excessive harsh braking and acceleration and took corners carefully with the help of “Smartbox” telematics technology to monitor how a car is driven. 

Irish Water signs contract on €5.5m Co. Monaghan water mains project

Irish Water has signed a contract for the delivery of a significant water project in Co. Monaghan which will ensure badly needed improvements in water services for consumers in Monaghan Town and Clones.

The €5.5 million investment by Irish Water in Co. Monaghan will be delivered by GMC Utilities Group Limited in partnership with Monaghan County Council.

The investment includes the replacement and rehabilitation of 9.1 km of aging watermains in the Monaghan Town (4.8km) and Clones (4.3km) areas. The project also includes the replacement of 430 customer service connections and 134 common backyard services as well as the removal of any lead pipework encountered on the public-side of the water distribution network.

The total amount of water which will be saved as a result of the replacement of old watermains that are prone to leakage and regular bursts and which cause interruptions to supply is estimated at 54 million litres of water per year.

The works are scheduled to commence in March and will take approximately 18 months to complete.

Commenting on the investment Declan Cawley, Irish Water’s Water Network Regional Lead for the North West Region, said:

“This investment will greatly improve the water infrastructure for residents and business owners in the Monaghan and Clones areas. The replacement of these aging watermains that are prone to frequent bursts will improve the security of supply to customers and will also ensure that the existing and future residential and commercial development needs of the town are served. Irish Water is committed to reducing network leakage to less than 38% by 2021 and this investment will help us to meet this target.”



Final phase of £192 million A556 dual carriageway work unveiled

Drivers will shortly be able to use the new £192 million A556 Knutsford to Bowdon dual carriageway in Cheshire, with the final phase of work starting next month.

Highways England, which is building the new link road between junction 19 of the M6 at Knutsford and junction 7 of the M56 at Bowdon,  today detailed the final phase of road works for the project – paving the way for the new road to open in March , providing a faster and more reliable link between the 2 motorways.

Full weekend closures – of the existing A556, junction 19 of the M6 and junctions 7 and 8 of the M56 – are needed and are scheduled to start in mid-February.   The closures will allow the old road to be sealed off from through traffic and the motorway junctions to be tied into the new dual carriageway.


Highways England project manager Paul Hampson said:

“We are on course to open the new dual carriageway by the end of March, if not sooner.  As well as starting work next month to connect the new dual carriageway to the M6 and M56 link roads, we’ll be using the weekend closures to do some preparation along the existing A556 which will become a B road with much-improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

“We’re working hard with partners and stakeholders like the emergency services and Manchester Airport to plan for these weekend closures and to make sure they’ll be well-publicised once the full details are confirmed.”


Drivers are being advised the schedule for the final phase of work is dependent on the weather. The schedule currently involves:A556-Dual-Carriageway-2

  • A full weekend closure of the existing A556 and associated M6 and M56 junctions between 9pm on Friday 17 February and 5am on Monday 20 February
  • A full weekend closure of the existing A556 and associated M6 and M56 junctions from 9pm on Friday 3 March to 5am on Monday 6 March – with the new road opening to drivers that morning for the first time.
  • A final full weekend closure of the old A556 and new A556 between 9pm on Friday 10 March and 5am on Monday 13 March to finalise work to seal off the old road.

Highways England is working with partners and stakeholders such as Manchester Airport, major football clubs and the police to plan for and publicise the road works so drivers can plan journeys affected by the weekend closures. More .information and advice will be released nearer the time of the closures.

Construction of the new A556 link road, between the M56 and the M6, started in November 2014 and is part of a £15 billion government investment in motorways and major A roads by 2021 which is being delivered by Highways England as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative. 

Find out more about updated plans to improve the A63 in Hull

Public are invited to find out more about proposals to improve almost a mile of the A63 in Hull.

Motorists, hauliers and local residents are invited to find out more about proposals to improve almost a mile of the A63 in Hull, reducing congestion, and improving the city’s east to west links.

Two public consultation exhibitions are taking place at the Mercure Royal Station Hotel later this week. Highways England is seeking views on the A63 proposals and there will be an opportunity to speak to the project team.

The exhibitions will take place on:

  • Friday 27 January 12.30pm – 8pm
  • Saturday 28 January 10am – 4pm

Highways England’s plans to upgrade a major route running through the city of Hull, went on show to the public last week. The Statutory consultation period launched on Monday 16 January and runs until Monday 13 February.

The section between Ropery Street and the Market Place/Queen Street junction carries around 45,000 vehicles per day and as a result, the road suffers from congestion, particularly at peak times.

Highways England project manager Jimmy Holmes said:

We are committed to improving the A63 through Hull and would really like people to get involved in the consultation event and give us their feedback, particularly on the new information which is now available.

The A63 Castle Street scheme will improve access to the Port of Hull by widening some sections of the road, upgrading the Mytongate junction and a bridge over the A63.

I understand people may have felt they have already done this but things have changed and it is vital we have the most up to date views available.

Highways England last consulted on the scheme in 2013, since that time we have been developing the scheme further and completing additional environmental and traffic assessments.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder for Transport at Hull City Council, said:

This is another key step in Hull’s changing fortunes, and the upgrade of this arterial route will enhance the city’s connectivity to key routes such as the M62, which is crucial for the city’s position as a key player in the Northern Powerhouse.

Once completed, I anticipate it will also contribute to a significant reduction in traffic congestion elsewhere in the city, caused by traffic currently queuing to join Castle Street from the City Centre and by those using alternative routes to avoid the congestion on Castle Street.

We’ve had significant private sector investment in the city and have welcomed global businesses like Siemens to Hull, creating well paid jobs for local people, and making Hull one of the fastest growing economies in the North. Coupled with the capital investment in our cultural and visitor infrastructure, perceptions of the city are changing and both public and business confidence and aspiration are at an all-time high.

We want to continue this momentum, and this can only be made possible by developing a transport network that is fit-for-purpose. 

London congestion charge should be scrapped, according to a new study

London’s congestion charge should be scrapped, according to a new study.

Replacing it with a system of charging motorists based on when, where and how much they drive would do more to reduce traffic jams, the London Assembly Transport Committee claimed.

Such a road pricing scheme could be rolled out across the whole of Greater London, the committee said in its London Stalling report.

Transport for London data shows the annual cost from traffic delays in the capital soared by 30% in the two years from 2012/13 to £5.5 billion.

A survey of 1,000 Londoners commissioned by the Transport Committee found 50% of respondents were in favour of charging drivers based on how much they drive, with just 20% opposed and 30% undecided.

The congestion charge was introduced in 2003 and means non-exempt drivers pay £11.50 to enter central London between 7am and 6pm on weekdays.

Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon claimed the system only covers ‘a tiny part of London’ and fails to target vehicles travelling for longer and at the most congested times.

The Liberal Democrat Assembly Member said: ‘Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London’s roads.

‘The issue is costing our city money and costing Londoners their health and well-being.

‘Transport for London is doing a lot to tackle congestion, but not enough. Road pricing would be a fairer approach as road users would pay according to how much they contribute to congestion.

‘It’s a bold move but our survey shows that road users are in favour and the current congestion charge is far too blunt an instrument and too narrow in scope.

‘Gridlocked London needs to start moving again and tinkering here and there is not going to achieve that.

‘A total rethink about who uses our roads and how is imperative to get the veins and arteries of our great city flowing freely again.’

The report also recommended reducing restrictions on night-time deliveries, piloting a ban on personal deliveries for London Assembly staff at work and devolving vehicle excise duty to the mayor.

Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross said the report contained ‘some innovative new ideas’ and she pledged to ‘look closely’ at them.

She added that a number of practical steps to tackle congestion in the capital are already being taken, such as making cycling and walking easier and safer and improving the affordability of public transport.

Bridget Fox, of the Campaign for Better Transport, claimed road pricing would be ‘a real improvement’ on the congestion charge as it would improve the way traffic is managed and reduce ‘lethal air pollution’.

Matt Winfield, acting director of cycling and walking charity Sustrans, said Londoners should not ‘surrender our city to traffic’ and urged mayor Sadiq Khan to ‘take a fresh look at putting a price on road use’.

AA president Edmund King warned the company’s own research has found 93% of motorists do not trust politicians to deliver a fair system of charges based on how much they drive.

He added: ‘We would like to see a thorough consultation with Londoners to gauge their real opinions on road pricing.’

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Colin Stanbridge said businesses must not be used as a ‘money-spinner’ by punishing them when no other transport alternatives are available. 

Severn Trent Water awards phosphorus removal contract

Severn Trent Water through its key capital delivery partner Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB) has awarded a phosphorus removal contract to Bluewater Bio Ltd.

The supplier’s high rate multi-media filtration technology, FilterClear has been selected for the provision of a tertiary solids removal plant at the utility’s Codsall Sewage Treatment Works in Staffordshire.

BwB are providing a fully automated 4v2040 tertiary solids removal plant capable of treating up to 100 L/s of flow, to enable the site to meet the new consent of 0.5 mg/l for phosphorus, under the Water Framework Directive.

The contract award follows an extensive evaluation of competing technologies when it was concluded that FilterClear offered the lowest TOTEX solution.

By using FilterClear Bluewater said MMB were able to realise significant cost savings as a result of utilising the vessel headspace for flocculation, thereby eliminating the need to provide additional upstream flocculation with mechanical mixing.

The relatively low head loss also offered operational cost savings against higher head systems. The low operator intervention needs of a sealed filtration system further strenghtened the solution’s attractiveness for the Severn Trent Operations team.

Fergus Rooksby, Commercial Director of Bluewater Bio, commented:

“We are delighted to work with both Severn Trent and MMB on this P removal scheme. This award allows us to showcase FilterClear as an ideal option for a chemical dosing approach to low phosphate concentration consents. We are seeing increasingly stringent discharge consents coming into force across the UK in AMP 6, with many water companies needing to implement enhanced P removal across numerous sites. Its modularity and excellent DfMA credentials make it an attractive solution to both tier one and end users. We believe FilterClear is well placed to capture a significant proportion of these schemes.”

The contract with Severn Trent marks the Company’s second P removal scheme in the past 12 months, with FilterClear currently being assessed by Yorkshire Water as part of the National Chemical Investigation Programme (CIP) at its Bolsover Sewage Treatment Works.

Major plans to widen main road comes as part of £1 billion scheme

Major works to widen the A12 are due to start within three years, to help connect people across the county.

The scheme is part of a £1.1billion investment in East of England roads which will begin before 2020.

As part of the plans, the dual-carriageway is set to be widened between Chelmsford and the A120 junction in Essex.

Highways England on Monday (January 23) will launch a public consultation on the plans.

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “(The improvements) are much needed by the half a million drivers who use them every day.

“Each scheme has been developed by working with local partners and through this consultation we are welcoming views on them.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in these roads – whether they drive on them, live near them or depend on them for trade – to get involved.”

The A12 scheme, which will be completed alongside improvements in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, was initially announced in December 2014.