Work about to start on next stage of £80m project to relieve congestion on M25 in Essex

Drivers left confused by Highland road sign written in Polish and German… But not English

Arup raises key issues for global water challenges

Arup raises key issues for global water challenges

Arup has updated its Drivers of Change Water cards, first published in 2009, to reflect the key trends and issues now shaping the future of water globally.

The Drivers of Change Water cards for 2015 explore a wide-ranging number of key issues and sets out the immense challenges the world is now facing in terms of global water resources.

According to The Times of India, 22 out of 32 major Indian cities already deal with daily water shortages, while 748 million people globally still have no access to clean, safe water. At the same time agricultural water use alone is expected to increase by at least 19% by 2050.

Introducing the updated Drivers, Arup said that issues around water are likely to impact the future shape of societies, cities, businesses and markets for decades to come.

Drivers of Change Water is intended to help groups and individuals explore and prioritise trends and issues, to discuss possible challenges and solutions, and to get a broader perspective on the current and future state of water globally.

The drivers have been organised into five categories based on their main area of impact: Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political, collectively referred to as STEEP.

Key issues flagged up by Arup include:

  • Population growth – how much water will 9 billion people need? Arup says that as populations expand, demand for water will increase dramatically, be driven primarily by a growing demand for food.  This is expected to increase by 70% by 2050 with associated agricultural water use, expected to increase by at least 19% by 2050.
  • Urbanisation – are cities too thirsty? With the percentage of the global population living in urban areas expected to reach 66% by 2050, Arup says major concerns include over-exploitation and pollution of water sources. In addition to a shortage of reliable water supplies, the street surfaces of many cities continue to be highly impermeable to water
  • Water consciousness – how much water is wasted? Growing water scarcity increases the need for more efficient water consumption, starting with consciousness at the individual and community level. Water use efficiency can be achieved through better education, behaviour change and technical efficiency.
  • Novel water sources – are there untapped sources of freshwater?  Highlighting the fact that between 2001 and 2011, industrial desalination capacity expanded by 276%, Arup says that while the practice is highly energy intensive, with salt water is seen as a limitless resource and with many urban centres facing water shortfalls located on coastlines,  the technology is continuing to gain traction.
  • Smart infrastructure – how smart are water networks? New smart systems aim to improve the efficiency and function of water infrastructure through increased automation, distributed sensor networks and geo-spatial information systems
  • Waterless design – can systems function without water? Arup says companies are looking to minimise water use in their design and production processes to limit their dependency and exposure to water-based financial risks.
  • Ecosystem services – how much is a local ecosystem worth? According to the Drivers, aquatic ecosystems provide immense value, including transportation, resilience, stormwater management and water filtration.
  • Energy supply how much water is needed to run a power plant? Water is a critical input in the production and transmission of energy – in 2010, roughly 15% of the world’s total water withdrawals were directed to energy generation.
  • Ageing infrastructure – The Drivers say that on a macro scale, the OECD estimates that by 2025, water infrastructure will be the largest recipient of infrastructure investment globally, with developed countries requiring upgrades or replacement of failing critical assets.
  • Flood risk – Arup highlights a report by the World Resources Institute, the number of people affected by river flooding alone could triple between 2015-2030, affecting nearly 50M and costing the world economy roughly US$500bn.
  • Groundwater depletion  – depletion of groundwater reserves can lead to long-term food and water insecurity and geo-structural instability.
  • Ownership models – who owns the water supply?
  • Water stress – Water stress and competing interests for limited resources often lead to political turmoil at regional, national or even international levels.

Drivers of Change was conceived by Arup in the early 2000s – over the last 15 years, Arup has identified more than 250 “drivers” or topics that prompt change, with input from a wide variety of stakeholders.

The issues chosen for inclusion in the latest set of cards, which each depict a single driver, are the result of knowledge gained by the Arup from research, interviews, workshops and interaction with its global network, as well as consultation with the consultancy’s broad spectrum of specialists.

Drivers of Change Water was the first theme to be updated – the detailed 56 page set of Cards also includes invaluable information and links to an extensive range of related publications and reports.

Kier wins £20m Durham student halls

Kier Construction is preparing to start work on the £20m Sheraton Park student halls redevelopment in Durham.

Student housing developer Alumno aims to transform Edwardian landmark buildings at the former New College Durham campus, a three-acre site close to Durham city centre.

The site had fallen into disrepair since New College Durham relocated to its new purpose-built facilities at Framwellgate Moor in 2007.

Gary Dobson, Kier Construction area operations manager, said that the new scheme involves a 418-student room build, following designs developed by Howarth Litchfield.



David Campbell, Alumno’s managing director, said: “Sheraton Park will offer its end-users a premium blend of student accommodation within an highly-attractive environment and we aim to reinterpret much of the original character whilst maintaining much of the history of the existing site.

“The sensitive development of the site is predominantly landscape led and the proposals will recreate a semi-wild parkland within the confines of the local environment. We anticipate high demand from students wishing to live there.”

Tarmac wins £30m Knowsley highways contract

Thames Water awards £10m AMP6 data loggers contract

Thames Water has awarded a contract for the supply, installation and maintenance of various data loggers in the Thames Water region worth up to £10 million to Wales-based firm HWM-Water Ltd.

The data loggers will be called off from a framework agreement as and when required. The water company was looking to appoint a maximum of two suppliers to the framework, which will run for an initial duration of 3 years, with options to extend annually up to a maximum overall term of 5 years. Estimated value of the AMP6 contract is put at between £ 7 million to £10 million.

Thames Water has also separately awarded a contract for the supply of flow, level and pressure instruments, including spare parts and repairs, and for associated commissioning and calibration services.

Initial contact duration is for 3 years with options to extend annually up to a maximum duration of 6 years.

Lot 1 for flow, Level and Pressure Instrumentation was awarded to ABB Ltd, NIVUS GmbH and Siemens PLC.

Z-Tech Control Systems Ltd won Lot 2 — Flow, Level and Pressure Calibration and Commissioning.

M62 overhead gantries to be demolished for smart motorway upgrade

Three overhead gantries are due to be removed from the M62 near Rochdale during the next four weekends as part of a major project to tackle congestion and improve journey times.

Contractors for Highways England need to close a two-mile stretch of the motorway overnight in both directions between junction 19 at Heywood and junction 20 at Oldham on Saturday nights to take down the gantries, which are not suitable for the smart motorway scheme.

The overhead gantries – which span both the eastbound and westbound carriageways of the motorway – are 40 metres wide and weigh 130 tonnes each.

Specialist 500 tonne cranes will be used to remove the gantries during the closures between 9pm each Saturday night and 10am each Sunday morning as part of the £202 million smart motorway project.

The scheme between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits. The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane to increase capacity between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62.

Highways England project manager Paul Hampson said: “These are massive structures and we will need to close the M62 to remove them safely by lifting the beams onto the carriageway, where they’ll be broken up and transported away, and then by removing the gantry legs using a smaller crane.

“We’re advising people to allow extra time for their journeys if they’re planning to travel when the closures are taking place, although we’ve deliberately timed the demolition work to be carried out when traffic levels are at their lowest.”

The overnight closures between junctions 19 and 20 on the M62 will take place on Saturday 14, 21 and 28 November, and on Saturday 5 December. The closures could be postponed if strong winds are forecast.

The eastbound diversion route for the closures from junction 19 will operate north of the motorway – from junction 19 using the northbound A6046, eastbound A458 and southbound A627(M) down to junction 20.

The westbound diversion will run south of the motorway – with drivers sent onto the southbound A627(M) from junction 20, westbound A664 and northbound A6046 up to junction 19.

Work to demolish 16 overhead gantries began in April with the latest demolitions designed to complete the work.

When the smart motorway scheme is completed in autumn 2017, around 200 new electronic message signs on overhead gantries will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.


South West Water to merge with Bournemouth Water after Competition and Markets Authority green light

Utility firm South West Water is to merge with Bournemouth Water after the deal was smoothed through by the competition authority.

The merger between the two water companies follows the unconditional green light by Competition and Markets Authority for the Exeter-headquartered Pennon Group, which owns South West Water and waste management firm Viridor, to buy Bournemouth Water.

The CMA said that the merger was not likely to prejudice the ability of Ofwat, the industry’s economic regulator, to compare water companies’ performance and set price controls.

Pennon acquired Bournemouth Water in April from Singapore-based Sembcorp Holdings Ltd for £100.3 million.

Bournemouth Water is a water-only company providing high-quality drinking water to a population of 440,000 in Dorset, Hampshire and part of Wiltshire.

South West Water provides water and waste water services to a population of 1.7 million in Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset.

The integration of Bournemouth Water with South West Water will lead to the consolidation of retail services and development of wholesale operations.

The two companies have been exploring ways to share best practice and support services in order to deliver a better and more efficient service to customers.

The merger is expected to conclude by April 2016 with the operational integration substantially completed by the end of 2016/17.

Chris Loughlin, Pennon Group board director and chief executive of South West Water, said: “Bournemouth Water is a well-respected, high-performing company and an excellent cultural and operational fit with South West Water.

“We strongly believe that the merger will deliver long-term benefits for both customers and shareholders.”

Bob Taylor, managing director of Bournemouth Water, added: “We look forward to the opportunities being part of the Pennon Group will bring.”

In its current five-year business plan, South West Water said it will spend more than £1billion to maintain and improve services whilst delivering a price promise to peg average household bills below inflation to the end of the decade.

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Dangerous levels of pollution found on the M25

Should M1 speed cameras be turned on to raise police funds?

PCC for Bedfordshire Olly Martins has said that the financial position of the county’s police force is so desperate speed cameras between the M1’s Junction 10 and 13 may need to be switched on permanently.

Along with this, Mr Martins has brought up the possibility of sponsored uniforms and vehicles.

The Commissioner, who has launched a petition calling on the Government to ensure that Bedfordshire Police is adequately funded, said that unless the force’s grant funding is realigned to the reality of the policing challenges faced by Bedfordshire Police he will have to use his powers to permanently turn on the variable speed cameras, he told the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The cameras are usually only on when speed restrictions are in place.

Mr Martins said: “I am running out of levers to pull to keep Bedfordshire Police financially viable. We’ve had a council tax referendum.

“We’ve extensively lobbied the Home Office for fair funding but they haven’t listened and the Chancellor’s spending review at the end of the month means we face more cuts.

“Strict enforcement of the speed limit could raise £1million and to me that’s better than losing 25 more police officers.

Bedfordshire Police has just 169 police officers per 100,000 population as against a national average figure of 232 and 388 in London.

Bedfordshire has the 4th highest level of gun crime per head, 5th highest level of burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, 7th highest level of knife crime, together with a high terror threat and organised crime problem.

Mr Martins added: “That’s why I am prepared to take desperate measures to avoid reducing our already anaemic police numbers. However, motorists staying within the speed limit – whether that is 70mph or less – will not be affected, only those breaking the law.

“In addition to the speed cameras option – I am also prepared to examine selling sponsorship of our police uniforms and vehicles.

“To those who say this is not the way they want things to go I say sign our petition calling on the Government to adequate funding for Bedfordshire Police. We have to make them listen.”