We are pleased to announce that Carrington West have been awarded the GOLD standard accreditation with Investors in People!

Only a small percentage of organisations obtain the GOLD standard and we are extremely proud of our growth as a business which is testament to the dedication and hard work of all of our employees.

Carrington West first gained accreditation in 2015 and have proactively embraced Investors in People to help achieve focus and drive improvement in key aspects of our ambition to be the employer of choice. We have been maintaining and building on the strengths identified during our first assessment 3 years ago. Doubling the headcount has resulted in double the number of people who feel valued and supported by the leadership team. We work hard to ensure our employees see and appreciate the opportunities for career progression, additional earnings and personal development.

3 years on, we have now been benchmarked as the 11th best Employment Agency on the IIP accreditation across the whole of the UK. We received ‘High Performing’ in most categories during the internal IIP assessment survey. We will be reviewing all areas of the IIP assessment 2018, to ensure we maintain and continue to improve to ensure we are offering our employees the standard they deserve.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “We’d like to congratulate Carrington West, Investors in People accreditation is the sign of a great employer, an outperforming place to work and a clear commitment to success. Carrington West should be extremely proud of their achievement.”

Investors in People is the international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. Underpinning the Standard is the Investors in People framework, reflecting the latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry. Investors in People enables organisations to benchmark against the best in the business on an international scale.

Number of vehicles on England’s roads jumps by 2.5m in five years

The number of vehicles on England’s roads has increased by nearly 2.5 million over the past five years, it has been revealed.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), there were 32,153,000 vehicles on the country’s roads last year – a 7.7% rise from 29,692,300 in 2013.

The organisation has warned that England is facing a “growing congestion crisis”, with “road space” increasing by just 0.6% (1,119 miles) over the same period.

There are now 170 vehicles per mile of road, compared to 158 five years ago, it said.

Councillor Martin Tett, LGA transport spokesman, said: “England’s roads are currently gripped by a growing congestion crisis.

“Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road, yet government funding on the strategic road network is 52 times higher than for local roads.

England’s roads are currently gripped by a growing congestion crisis”

“Spending more on improving our national roads will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.”

The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, said UK drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic last year, at a cost of £1,168 to each motorist.

It is calling on the Government to reinvest two pence per litre of existing fuel duty for local roads maintenance and to help deal with a £9.3 billion backlog of repairs.

Mr Tett added: “Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion but need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that motorists were attempting to avoid gridlocked urban roads by switching to longer, rural routes.

Data from the Department for Transport found that traffic levels on Britain’s urban A roads had fallen by 1% since 2012 while usage of rural A roads was up 12.8%.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

EU approves French support for tidal energy demonstration plant

The European Commission has found that a French project promoting electricity generation from tidal energy is in line with EU State aid rules.

The Normandie Hydro plant is a demonstration plant for producing electricity from tidal energy. It will be developed by OpenHydro and operated by EDF EN and will be located at Raz Blanchard, west of the Cotentin peninsula, on the English Channel.

The demonstration plant will comprise seven turbines with a power generation capacity of 14 megawatts. The turbines will have a rotor diameter of 16 meters and will be installed on the sea floor.

France intends to support the development and operation of the Raz Blanchard tidal energy demonstration plant. The objective of the public support is to test the novel technology and verify the potential for tidal energy in France before deploying it on a larger scale. The project will facilitate the development of tidal energy and will help France meet its 2020 renewable energy target.

The demonstration plant will receive operating aid and investment aid. Part of the investment aid will be paid in the form of repayable advances that will be reimbursed if the technology is successful.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:

“Tidal energy is one of the technologies that can contribute in the transition towards a climate friendly energy supply in Europe. The French project approved today will help showcase tidal energy technology, while limiting distortions of competition”

The Commission assessed the scheme under its 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, which allow Member States to support renewable energy, subject to certain conditions. It found that the project promotes market penetration of a novel renewable energy technology and that the level of aid is proportionate and will not lead to overcompensation, in line with the Guidelines.

The Commission has concluded that the project will promote the use of electricity generated from renewable sources without unduly distorting competition.

Heatwave continues – Met Office issues health alert with temperatures into the mid 30s Celsius

The Met Office has issued a health alert as the heatwave continues with temperatures set to rise into the mid 30s Celsius this week.

Very hot conditions are expected to persist across eastern and south-eastern parts of the UK through the working week.

The heatwave of 2018 continues across much of England this week, with temperatures expected to reach the high-20s Celsius across the Midlands, southern and eastern England with 32-34 °C possible in a few places as the temperatures peak on Thursday or Friday.

Matthew Lewis, Deputy Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

“The heatwave conditions will continue across much of England through this week, with temperatures possibly into the mid 30s Celsius in places on Thursday and Friday.

“More changeable conditions are expected across Northern Ireland and western Scotland with showers or longer spells of rain at times with maximum temperatures nearer normal.”

The highest temperature recorded so far this year is 33.0 °C at Porthmadog on 28 June. The highest temperature recorded in 2017 was 34.5° C at Heathrow on 21st June. Prior to this, the most recent heatwave prior to this was in July 2015 when temperatures peaked at 36.7 °C at Heathrow on 1 July, a temperature that is currently the July all-time maximum record. The all-time record in the UK is 38.5° C at Faversham on 10 August 2003.

The dry spell has been most prolonged in East Anglia and Southeast England.

A Level 3 heat-health watch alert has been issued for a large part of England, in association with Public Health England. The Met Office Heat Health Watch Service is designed to help healthcare professionals manage through periods of extreme temperature.

To aid preparation and awareness before and during a prolonged hot spell, a heatwave plan has been created by Public Health England in association with the Met Office and other partners. It recommends a series of steps to reduce the risks to health from prolonged exposure to severe heat for:

  • The NHS, local authorities, social care, and other public agencies
  • Professionals working with people at risk
  • Individuals, local communities and voluntary groups

Dr Thomas Waite, Consultant in Health Protection at Public Health England, said:

“Temperatures are likely be high in parts of England this week, which may leave older people, young children and those with long-term conditions, including heart and lung diseases, struggling to adapt to the heat. So keep an eye on friends and family who may be at risk.

“To beat the heat, try to keep out the sun from 11am to 3pm, walk in the shade if you can, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat. Also try to carry water with you when travelling.”

Business leaders hail M49 junction construction as boost to economy

Business leaders in the South West have welcomed a multi-million pound road improvement which will create thousands of jobs, reduce congestion and boost the regional economy.

A new junction Highways England is creating on the M49 will improve road access and provide a much-needed connection into the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area from the motorway network.

The junction, which comprises two bridges, will also promote economic growth in this area of Bristol, and reduce the numbers of HGVs and other vehicles on the local road network.

At a groundbreaking ceremony, key regional business leaders joined Highways England, the company responsible for the country’s motorways and major A roads, and local authorities to welcome the £49 million scheme, which calculations are forecasted to help create 14,000 jobs in the area.

Nick Aldworth, Highways England’s South West Regional Delivery Director said:

“We’re delighted to be breaking ground on this strategically and economically important scheme for the South West and Bristol area.

Every £1 invested in this scheme will bring more than £30 into the local economy, generating more than 14,000 jobs in the long term.”

Highways England is working with partners, including South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, on the scheme which involves using the existing bridge at Farm Lane with a second bridge being built immediately next to it.

Located to the south of the Western Approach Distribution Park and west of the village of Easter Compton, the two bridges will be incorporated into a single roundabout spanning the motorway with new access and exit slip roads connecting fully with both northbound and southbound traffic.

The scheme has also been welcomed by joint venture partners Robert Hitchins Ltd and Harrow Estates plc, who own the neighbouring 300-acre Westgate employment site.

Simon Tothill, Property and Development Director for Robert Hitchins, said:

“We have worked closely with Highways England for the last three years to enable the opening up of this area and are delighted to see progress being made.

This project is all about the creation of jobs and economic growth. We have absolutely no doubt that it will be a huge boost to the region, deliver significant new investment into the area and unlock the large and incredibly well-located Westgate site, which already benefits from planning permission for employment uses.”

SevernNet, who represent business and residents in the Severnside area, added:

“SevernNet is delighted with Highways England’s commitment to construct the M49 intermediate junction for Severnside – a direct link to the strategic road network will support those businesses already established and facilitate further growth within the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area, and also relieve congestion in and around Avonmouth.”

At the ceremony, Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, was joined by Peter Mumford, Highways England Executive Director of Major Projects, and Highways England Regional Investment Programme Director David Haimes, together with construction partners Galliford Try, South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and West of England LEP representatives.

The new M49 junction project is the first Road Investment Strategy scheme to start construction in the South West, one of six multi-million pound road schemes aimed at boosting the economy, tourism and heritage in the region.

Another key milestone in the South West within the next six months includes next steps in the planning process for the A303 Stonehenge tunnel and dualling scheme and the A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross dualling scheme in Cornwall.

The upgrades are funded by the Government’s biggest-in-a-generation £15 billion investment in motorways and main A roads, and delivered by Highways England.

Construction of the new M49 junction is due to be completed by December 2019 and local communities and business will be kept informed on progress by the Highways England project team and construction partners Galliford Try.

Duncan Elliott, Managing Director of Galliford Try’s Highways business, said:

“We’re delighted to get cracking on a much-needed scheme that will bring far-reaching benefits. We have considerable experience of motorway work from our participation in the Smart motorways programme and will bring this to bear on the Avonmouth junction scheme. We will keep any disruption to a minimum and keep road users updated about progress.”

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

LafargeHolcim’s £500m UK roads contract

LafargeHolcim’s UK company, Aggregate Industries, has won a four-year contract with Highways England, the government-owned company which operates, maintains and improves roads in England.

The total value of the works is estimated to be more than £500 million (€560.84 million). Highways England has awarded Aggregate Industries five of the six major regional lots, under the new Category Management Framework.

Marcel Cobuz, Aggregate Industries’ regional head, Europe, and member of the group executive committee, said, “Our ongoing investment in key production and manufacturing assets around the UK, along with investments in the latest digital technologies and our people, will enable us to continue to deliver the most sustainable and high quality pavement solutions.”Under the contract, Aggregate Industries will deliver asphalt and cement bound works on Highways England’s Regional Investment Programme over the next four years.

The company said that the appointment continued LafargeHolcim’s recent success in the UK, following the selection of Aggregate Industries to deliver the surfacing works for England’s largest road improvement project, the A14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon.

Over a 30-month period, Aggregate Industries will create more than 20 miles of new, multi-lane carriageway using local primary and secondary aggregate supply sources. The project will require the supply and installation of 700,000 tonnes of asphalt and 500,000 tonnes of cement bound granular material.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

EA announces £40m extra funding to boost regeneration and better protect thousands of homes against flooding

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced that thousands of properties across England will be better protected against the threat of flooding thanks to a multi-million pound investment by the government.

Across the country 13 flood schemes will benefit from £40 million of additional funding which will unlock flood defence schemes and help support economic growth and regeneration in areas that have suffered from flooding in recent years.

The extra funding will better protect more than 7,000 properties, including over 5,000 homes.

The Environment Agency said the additional funding, first announced in the budget, added to millions of pounds of government grant-in-aid already allocated to these projects and partnership funding already secured. It will help leverage an additional £24 million from other sources, enabling the flood schemes to go ahead. In total, more than 7,000 properties will be better protected against flooding, including over 5,000 homes. The additional money is part of a £2.6 billion investment from 2015 to 2021 to fund 1,500 flood defence schemes which will better protect 300,000 homes across the country.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

This extra funding for flood defences will unlock schemes that will better protect thousands of homes and businesses against flooding, supporting regeneration in important towns and villages in the north and coastal communities.

Five flood schemes in the north of England will receive almost half of the total funding – £17.4 million- in a boost to the Northern Powerhouse. Rochdale in Greater Manchester will receive a total of £5 million to develop one of the largest inland flood schemes in the region. The defences in Rochdale will increase the level of flood protection to 1,000 residential properties as well as critical infrastructure such as the tram network, a bus station, a grid sub-station and a waste water treatment works.

In Weymouth, £1.2 million will improve the harbour wall, reducing flood risk to 450 properties and helping to kick start the regeneration of Weymouth town centre.

More than £10 million is also being awarded to a scheme to protect deprived communities in the St. Austell Bay area of Cornwall. The funding will unlock an additional £4.8 million of partnership funding contributions and is additional to £13.4 million of grant-in-aid which has already been allocated to the scheme.

The funds will support an integrated regeneration partnership project, which will help to reduce flood risk and develop plans for new housing and community green space.

£7 million has been awarded for new flood defence work around the River Irwell in Bury and Radcliffe as a first step towards the development of a new £46 million flood defence scheme, better protecting 870 properties. In addition to raising flood defences at key locations along the river’s edge another key aspect of the scheme will be the creation of a wildlife habitat and amenity areas for the public by setting defences further back from the river.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

“Across the country we are seeing more extreme weather, which makes the Environment Agency’s role to protect people, homes and businesses from flooding even more important.”

“From 2015 to 2021 we will reduce the risk of flooding for at least 300,000 homes so this £40million is another welcome boost to achieving that. It is great news for communities – not only will it help us build flood schemes but it will also help wider economic growth.”

Southern Water trials smart technology using AI to tackle storm overflows

Southern Water is trialling smart technology using Artificial Intelligence to protect the environment against overflows during heavy rainfall.

Heavy rain events mean drains and Southern Water’s sewers and wastewater treatment system sometimes struggle to cope.

In the worst cases, flooding from sewers may occur, in less severe instances a mixture of wastewater and surface water can overflow from the storage wells at the water company’s waste pumping stations. The storm overflows are permitted by the Environment Agency under these circumstances and are required to prevent flooding.

Southern Water is now looking at ways of minimising these overflows by using smart technology to provide advance warning and reduce the chances of overflows by pumping out the wells to give as much headroom as possible.

The water company is taking part in trials of the StormHarvester system which can reduce the chance of overflows by as much as 80%.

Using artificial intelligence, StormHarvester’s short to medium term rainfall prediction system allows waste networks to take advantage of every litre of capacity in the system. Action is taken well before it starts raining, enabling the network to adequately prepare for extra run-off and so prevent flooding.

The StormHarvester control centre receives location-specific rainfall predictions from the Met Office or satellite images. The controller receives the alerts and predictions of rainfall amounts, and also knows the safe operating levels of tanks, wells and chambers. It then automatically starts pumps, and opens and closes valves.

Paul Kent, Wastewater Strategy Manager at Southern Water said that suitable sites are now being selected ahead of the rainier weather in the autumn.

Wireless charging roads and motorways for electric cars could be coming to the UK

Wireless charging roads could become a reality in the UK after it was featured in a new £40 million proposal to push the country towards better air quality.

The Government has proposed to spend money developing wireless charging roads in the UK as part of a £40 million plan

Wireless charging roads could be developed to recharge electric cars while they drive along to solve some issues with limited infrastructure to support ownership of these vehicles.

The Government has pledged the money to develop both on-street and wireless charging to help transition from internal combustion engine cars to electric and hybrid.

How the wireless road systems would work is similar to how a Scalextric toy car does.

Wireless charging uses a process called electromagnetic induction to transfer energy.

On the ground is a pad in which electricity is passed through a coil of wire to generate a magnetic field.

This is then transferred to a receiver on the underside of the car.

If the technology works it could mean that drivers can top up their car as they drive along meaning there could be longer periods between charging.

The proposal was made in a Department for Transport (DfT) and could also see ire’s charging points positioned at service stations and car parks.

New homes will also, where permitted, be built with an electric car charging points.

David Martell, of the electric car charging company Chargemaster, said to The Times: “Wireless charging will make driving an electric vehicle as similar as possible to driving a petrol or diesel car but without frequent trips to the petrol station.”

This is not the first time that wireless charging roads have been proposed as a number of firms have developed technologies.

Renault partnered with Qualcomm Technologies and Vedecom to develop a stretch of road to test the technology’s capability.

The 100-metre test track was said to be capable of a charge up to 20 kilowatts at speeds up to, and in excess of, 62 miles per hour (100kmh).

For more articles like this, Please visit Highways Industry News website.

UK joins project for autonomous vehicle platform that can find potholes

Two UK road authorities and Jaguar Land Rover are contributing to a global research project intended to develop a system that could enable autonomous vehicles to spot potholes.

Using a platform created by connected tech and transport analytics firm Inrix, JLR, Transport Scotland and Transport for West Midlands will contribute to the development of the AV Road Rules system, which digitalises street signs and road rules so that autonomous vehicles can understand them.

The platform also provides autonomous vehicles with a link to local road authorities, which can provide information about potholes or road damage, so that repairs and maintenance can be rolled out more quickly and effectively.

JLR’s connected and autonomous vehicle research senior manager, Chris Holmes, said: “Road conditions and layouts can vary drastically over a matter of miles and so it is vital that self-driving is facilitated collaboratively. Local traffic authorities play a significant role in this.

“Inrix AV Road Rules provides improved information to the car, ensuring our self-driving technology is the most safe, sophisticated and capable to deal with challenging real-world environments as we enter new markets across the globe.”

Companies and organisations of various sizes from across Europe, the US and Asia are also contributing to Washington-based Inrix’s platform. They include seven cities, with Boston and Las Vegas among the largest.

Although the UK is striving to become a world leader in autonomous vehicle development, with the UK Government having announced legislation that will allow driverless cars on to roads by 2021, the British road network is considered particularly challenging for developers as a result of its large variety of road scenarios and surfaces.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.