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Inspiration and innovation shine through at ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards

12 May 2023

A strong focus on water management featured among the winners of this year’s regional awards.

Inspiration and innovation shine through at ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards
Award winners celebrated at a gala dinner in Manchester on 11 May 2023.

ICE North West rewarded innovation at its annual civil engineering awards, with water management projects featuring strongly among the region’s winners.

With over 40 entries across eight categories, more than 300 professionals came together to celebrate engineering successes from across the region at the 2023 ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards.

Celebrating innovation in engineering with next generation wastewater treatment

The engineering effort and innovation behind the Blackburn and Darwen £164million wastewater treatment facility, powered by Nerada technology, was awarded the Mercer Innovation Award.

The wastewater infrastructure upgrade scheme, serving 400,000 people, will help to achieve enhanced river and bathing water quality, from the Rives Darwen and Ribble to the Fylde Coast.

The project, which meets tighter discharge consents, took four years to complete and was delivered by LiMA – joint venture between United Utilities, Laing O'Rourke.

Reducing financial and emotional burden through increased flood protection

Two Environment Agency flood protection schemes in Cumbria, where communities have suffered repeat flooding, received project awards.

Skirting Beck and Whangs Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme in Egremont, took the Large Project Award for a technically challenging scheme.

It involved constructing three flood-storage reservoirs in separate locations across the town which can hold back flood waters away from properties, offering the community greater protection from flooding.

The scheme, delivered by VBA, a joint venture between Atkins and VolkerStevin, also created enhanced facilities and more useable spaces for local people to enjoy. This includes a Sports England compliant natural grass pitch, replacing the former waterlogged field.

Further north, the flood management scheme at Low Crosby, near Carlisle, scooped the Small Project Award.

In delivering the scheme, VolkerStevin and Jacobs worked with multiple stakeholders to reduce flood risk for the community by reconnecting 185ha of floodplain.

Instead of building flood walls, a 3km stretch of embankment was reprofiled, significantly reducing local flood levels, and restoring the natural function of the river.

A fully nature-based scheme, using no concrete or steel, it’s set to save up to 30,000 tonnes of carbon over a 100-year period, going beyond net zero and tackling the climate crisis head-on.

Realignment river work enabling inland port development

One of the country’s largest watercourse diversions, the 0.75km Salteye Brook Realignment at Port Salford, is the Medium Project Award winner.

Using biological, ecological, and engineering concepts to stabilise the riverbanks - including an environmentally friendly wall, instead of sheet pile - it has improved the aquatic habitat by providing new areas of wetland where wildlife can flourish.

Almost £5 million pounds in terms of local economic value was generated, while the community is benefiting from new walkways and recreational space along the realigned river.

Delivered by John Sisk & Son for Peel Land and Property, its completion facilitates the construction of the UK’s first tri-modal (road-rail-water) port accessed via an in-land waterway.

Re-engineering better outcomes

The repair and protection of the M60 Palatine Road Bridge scooped the Constructability Award, recognising crucial temporary works.

The work, for National Highways and delivered by Amey and Balvac, entailed removing temporary lane restrictions on the M60 by repairing and strengthening 15 large concrete structures, or pier crossheads, below.

Four of the piers are situated in the River Mersey, requiring challenging in-river work within strict ecological time frames.

By re-engineering the design, using scaffolding part-suspended from the bridge deck and part supported by brackets, the in-river work was eliminated.

This delivered big outcomes – cost savings of around £8million, safer working conditions, completion 11 months early with no need for 64 planned night-closures.

Ones to watch…

The Rising Star category was highly competitive, with Dylan Atkinson from WSP and Jenna-May Hill from Costain receiving commendations, and Ellen Griffin from VolkerStevin winning the category.

An inclusive culture

Mott MacDonald took home the Diversity Award, showcasing best practice for equality, diversity and inclusion.

It was also awarded the Team Award for its Liverpool office and its can-do ethos, showcased throughout the entire team and at all levels.

Award winners were celebrated at a gala dinner in Manchester on 11 May 2023.

This year’s ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards were supported by Civic Engineers, Richter, The Temporary Works Forum, Tensar International and Waterman Aspen.

  • Lynn Caddy, communications lead at Institution of Civil Engineers