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ICE North East champions sustainability and social value at 2023 Robert Stephenson Awards

31 March 2023

The awards ceremony in Newcastle celebrated the best civil engineering projects across the region.

ICE North East champions sustainability and social value at 2023 Robert Stephenson Awards
Meshi Taka receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award at the ceremony.

Civil engineering projects that demonstrated value to the environment and communities in north-east England have won big at the 2023 Robert Stephenson Awards.

The winning projects from the region include a storm overflow scheme, a quay wall development and a beck restoration project.

The annual ceremony, attended by the ICE’s 158th President, Keith Howells, took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle on Thursday, 23 March.

The celebration saw 13 shortlisted projects battle it out to win the Small, Medium and Large Category Robert Stephenson Awards.

The awards were presented to the following projects:

Small Category Robert Stephenson Award

small category award winner
The team from the Ormesby Beck Restoration Project receiving their Robert Stephenson Small Category Award.

The Ormesby Beck Restoration Project took home the Small Category Award for projects valued under £1 million.

It was delivered by JBA Consulting and BAM Nuttall for the Environment Agency (EA).

The Tees Estuary is one of the most heavily modified and developed estuaries in the UK, with less than 10% of the original intertidal habitats remaining.

The estuary-wide Tees Tidelands programme aims to open the tributaries of the River Tees to tidal influence to enable fish passage and re-establish the natural estuary.

The Ormesby Beck project incorporates the removal of a tidal structure, permitting inland migration of the estuary without increasing flood risk.

The project delivers economic and carbon savings, as well as creating intertidal habitat, helping the EA strive towards its net zero ambition.

The judges noted how proud the team was of this project. They said: “The team considered all options which led to a solution to remove the structure instead of repairing it.

“This has left an aesthetically pleasing and more nature-based solution that will benefit the wider Tees area.”

Medium Category Robert Stephenson Award

medium category award winner
The team from Tyne Dock Enterprise Park Quay Wall receiving their Robert Stephenson Medium Category Award.

The Medium Category Award, for projects valued between £1 and £5 million, went to the Tyne Dock Enterprise Park Quay Wall.

The project was delivered by Gutteridge Haskins & Davey (GHD), Southbay Civil Engineering Ltd and Turner & Townsend for the Port of Tyne.

The new quay development caters for service operation vessels for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

The Port of Tyne recognised it as being “...a fundamental building block in enabling the site for further development of the 200-acre Tyne Clean Energy Park to service the growing offshore green energy market in the North Sea.

“The use of low carbon delivery techniques adds to the substantial emission reduction measures we have put in place in recent years as we pursue our goal of being a carbon neutral port by 2030.”

The judges also commended the project for its commitment to sustainability.

They said: “The scheme showed an exceptional level of excellence from the project delivery of a technically complex project to tackling sustainability, climate change and health and safety whilst investing in the community as part of their social value investment.

“They also showed self-reflection in the capturing of lessons learned for the future.”

In this category, the North Shields Public Realm was highly commended, in the judges words, for “...their vibrant interaction with the community and a range of stakeholders right from the start of the design and remaining close to the end users.

It was delivered by GL Hearn, WSP and Capita for North Tyneside Council.

Large Category Robert Stephenson Award

large category award winner
The team from the Johnson Street Storm Overflow Project receiving their Robert Stephenson Large Category Award.

The winner of the Large Category Award, for projects valued over £5 million, was the Johnson Street Storm Overflow Screening Project.

The project, delivered by Esh-Stantec, Turner & Townsend and Retroflo for Northumbrian Water, was designed to protect the River Tyne from aesthetic pollution, improving river quality for the benefit of customers, wildlife and the environment.

The sewer overflow at Johnson Street, Gateshead was previously an unconsented discharge to the River Tyne.

Esh-Stantec was appointed to design and construct the solution and works.

These comprised a new high-flow volume mechanically self-cleansing screen, installed within a large diameter shaft sunk onto the Tyneside interceptor sewer.

The works also included a new 1800mm overflow sewer built using tunnelling techniques and 100m of channel break out to increase conveyance capacity of the critical existing sewer.

The judges said it was an “exceptional” community project which exemplified technical innovation being applied for the benefit of the planet and the community, while minimising temporary works and reusing materials where possible.

They also noted that: “Safety of the workers and the public was at the forefront.

“Collaboration between all parties was key to deliver the project under budget and before time during the pandemic.

“The project team cared to minimise the impact on the community during the work phase and succeeded."

Individual Awards

Individual awards were also presented on the night.

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Meshi Taka, and the ICE President's Special Recognition Awards went to Nuwanthi Thennakoonwela, Morgan Foster and Paula McMahon.

  • Joanne Stephenson, communications lead at ICE