Aberdeen Roads limited

Aberdeen bypass contractor fined over river pollution

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn

The consortium building the new Aberdeen bypass has been issued with a £280,000 penalty for a series of silt pollution incidents on the rivers Don and Dee.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a joint venture including Balfour BeattyMorrison Construction and Carillion, was deemed responsible for the incidents on the important salmon rivers along with some tributaries.

The case if the first major enforcement of new powers by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and will see over £280,000 committed to community projects and environmental improvements across Aberdeenshire.

Following extensive investigations and enforcement action by SEPA between 2015 and 2017, the Construction Joint Venture (CJV) building the multi-million pound Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) have offered the funding in an Offer of Enforcement Undertaking, after causing a series of silt pollution incidents which affected the Aberdeenshire rivers.

The Enforcement Undertaking admits full liability by the AWPR B-T Construction Joint Venture (CJV) for the pollution and will result in the funding being divided between eight community initiatives as a penalty for the disruption and environmental impact.

The offer, which required the Construction Joint Venture to engage with local stakeholders, has been formally accepted by SEPA, thus securing one of the biggest financial outcomes for an environmental offence in Scotland.  It is only the fourth of its kind to be accepted by SEPA.

Granted as a new enforcement power in June 2016, an Enforcement Undertaking represents a formal offer by an organisation or individual to make amends for an offence by improving the environment or communities affected, using their own resources.

The new enforcement power can be used to bring about effective and immediate solutions to environmental offences and requires the offender to work with SEPA to ensure ongoing compliance in future, as well as making appropriate restitution.

SEPA chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we will respond robustly to organisations who fail to comply with environmental controls. Every operator must comply.

“It’s right that the Construction Joint Venture should offer this significant enforcement undertaking in recognition of the environmental impact of their actions, which resulted in a series of silt pollution incidents impacting numerous tributaries to Aberdeenshire rivers, the Dee and the Don.

“We are delighted that CJV has become one of the first operators to use the new enforcement undertaking.  The CJV has stepped forward, accepted responsibility and set out to put things right.

“An enforcement undertaking not only compels those who breach the law to make amends, it instils a more positive working relationship based on understanding the duty we all share in safeguarding our natural environment.”

 

Aberdeen Roads Limited is constructing the new 36-mile road which will provide a fast link between towns between the North, South and West of Aberdeen.

The project is being delivered by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The silt pollution was caused by heavy rainfall which led to muddy water running off the construction site into waterways.

An enforcement notice was issued to contractors last year after concerns were raised at the time about the impact it could have on salmon and freshwater pearl mussels.

Transport Scotland said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and have been working closely with SEPA and the contractor, Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL), to ensure the watercourses on site are protected from construction activities.

“We welcome any measures that have been agreed between SEPA and ARL where they result in a positive impact on the environment.”

The biggest beneficiary of the undertaking is the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, which will receive £112,500 for improvement projects relating to diffuse pollution, and £37,500 to fund an agricultural officer for two years to assist farm owners in reducing diffuse pollution in the River Don.

Richard Gledson, chairman, Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, added: “Silt pollution from the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route gave us great cause for concern, particularly as the River Dee is designated as a special habitat for both salmonid fish and fresh water pearl mussels, which rely on a delicate eco-system to feed and spawn.

“We welcome both the immediate response by SEPA, including the temporary restriction of construction activity, their investigation, and today’s enforcement undertaking. This will provide for environmental improvements that will go some way to offsetting the impact on local communities and the environment.”

In addition to the funding for community and environmental benefits, SEPA will also recover £47,958 as part of the offer. This lump sum will be made by the CJV as a contribution towards the time spent investigating the various pollution incidents which resulted from their construction works.

Minister confirms significant delay to stretch of Aberdeen bypass

AWPR Balmedie-Tipperty 2A crucial section of the £745 million Aberdeen bypass could be delayed by as much as a year because contractors have failed to complete key earthworks prior to the winter period.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a consortium of Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Galliford Try, is working on the £550m stretch of route between Balmedie-Tipperty on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) project.

That 12km section of the bypass was due to open to traffic next spring, but economy minister Keith Brown has admitted that failure to complete earthwork before a poor weather shutdown has pushed the expected completion date back to winter 2017/18.

In a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, Mr Brown reaffirmed that the remainder of the Aberdeen bypass is still due to open in Spring 2018.

The minister said: “The Scottish Government has pursued the AWPR project with vigour throughout its development. It was a considerable success to be able to begin the construction phase in 2015 and substantial time and resource has been invested by the Scottish government with significant progress made to date.

“When complete, this project will provide substantial benefits across the whole of the north east, and will boost the economy, increase business and tourism opportunities, improve safety and cut congestion.”

The AWPR was held up for several years due to a legal challenge from a local campaigner which only concluded in the Supreme Court in 2012.

Aberdeen Roads Limited began work on the ground in February 2015, and set a target of completing work on the Balmedie to Tipperty road to the north of the city by Spring 2017.

This section, which will see the existing A90 road upgraded to a dual carriageway, will be linked to the northern leg of the AWPR at Blackdog.

Peter Chapman, North East Region MSP, and a member of the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, added: “The AWPR is a flagship infrastructure project for this SNP government, and I will be asking the minister why this section has fallen so far behind schedule.

“We are fully aware of the benefits that this development will bring to the north east, but the SNP made great play of the fact that this part of the route would open early.

“Now the management of the construction must be called into question.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The contractor, Aberdeen Roads Limited, has not completed seasonally dependant earthworks on the Balmedie-Tipperty section in advance of this winter. They will recommence these key earthworks after the winter period.”

The setback comes after phase 1 of the Northern Leg of the project at Aberdeen Airport opened in August this year, ahead of the contractor’s planned autumn target.

Enforcement notice given to AWPR contractors following River Dee pollution

The River Dee at Balmoral

The River Dee at Balmoral

An enforcement notice has been issued to contractors working on the Aberdeen bypass after freshwater pearl mussels, salmon and other fish were put at risk from pollution.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is actively investigating construction work on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) following the incidents in various tributaries of the River Dee and the River Don.

The risk is considered so great to the sensitive freshwater pearl mussel and salmon habitats of the River Dee that an enforcement notice has been issued to those working on the bypass in a bid to prevent any more pollution.

Andy Rosie, Sepa’s head of operations for the north, told The National: “Sepa has significant concerns that construction activity on the AWPR poses an ongoing risk of pollution and has resulted in environmental impacts to the water environment.

“An enforcement notice has therefore been issued to the company involved which will require urgent action to be taken on the pollution prevention measures necessary for protection of local watercourses in the vicinity of Cleanhill Wood, near Burnhead.

“These tributaries flow into the River Dee, designated as a special habitat for both salmonid fish and fresh water pearl mussels, which rely on a delicate eco-system to feed and spawn. The erosion of silt from the construction site poses a risk to the quality of the water and can settle out onto the bed of the rivers and streams, blanketing and damaging aquatic animals and plants.

“We are requiring the contractor responsible to take immediate and effective action to stop silt pollution entering and contaminating the local watercourses surrounding the AWPR site. Our officers will be monitoring progress closely over the coming months, and will not hesitate to take further enforcement action if necessary to prevent further pollution.”

The AWPR/B-T project is being delivered by Transport Scotland, the national transport agency, on behalf of the Scottish Government and in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a joint venture including Balfour Beatty, Morrison Construction and Carillion is constructing the new 36-mile road.

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “We are aware of the points being raised by Sepa. The AWPR/B-T contractor has already put additional mitigation in place including the further enhancement of existing mitigation near watercourses. We take these issues very seriously and are currently working with the contractor to ensure that the matter is resolved as soon as possible.”

Aberdeen Bypass work kicks off with 1,500 jobs promised

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First minister Nicola Sturgeon was in the Granite City yesterday to kick off work on the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie-Tipperty road scheme.

Construction will support around 1,500 jobs and over 100 apprenticeships, graduate places, and other training opportunities.

The scheme will be delivered in stages, with completion expected in winter 2017, around six months ahead of schedule.

The contract to construct, maintain, finance and operate the new roads, which is the largest contract to be awarded as part of the Scottish Government’s Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) model, was awarded to the Aberdeen Roads limited consortium of Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Galliford Try.

Mrs Sturgeon, said the beginning of the largest road scheme of its kind anywhere in the UK now underway was “a landmark day for the north-east”.

The first minister added: “As the oil and gas capital of Europe, Aberdeen is a major driver for the Scottish economy and I am determined we do all we can to improve infrastructure and transport links to ease commutes, boost business and keep Aberdeen internationally competitive.

“The scheme is already bringing short-term economic benefits through £221m of sub-contracts, either put to the market or soon to be advertised, and longer-term benefits estimated to bring £6 billion of investment and 14,000 jobs to the north-east over the next thirty years.

“During construction alone, the bypass is expected to bring around 1,500 jobs during its peak, and over 100 training and vocational places which will ensure our young people get valuable opportunities to enter the workplace. Scotland has the highest employment and economic activity rates, and lowest unemployment, including youth unemployment, of any of the four nations in the UK – and it’s clear the Aberdeen bypass is contributing to this success.

“The start of work today is a big win for local communities, businesses, and road users and will bring much needed early relief to the congestion we see in and around Aberdeen on a daily basis.”

Cabinet secretary for infrastructure Keith Brown added: “Over 58km of new road, a dozen new junctions, 14 miles of new slip roads, two new river crossings, and 150 other structures will soon be delivered. Our carefully planned management of the scheme’s procurement will see junctions around Aberdeen airport finished next year, the Balmedie-Tipperty section of the A90 finished ahead of schedule in spring 2017, and completion of the entire scheme by winter that year, some six months ahead of the original schedule.

“There have been many challenges to get us on the road, but I’m delighted construction of this new bypass is now underway to deliver for businesses, commuters and communities right across the north-east.”

Aberdeen bypass lifetime costs cut by nearly £220m

The cost of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route / Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR / B-T) contract has been driven down by almost £220 million over the life of the contract, the cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, Keith Brown has revealed.

The contract to construct, maintain, finance and operate the new roads, which is the largest contract to be awarded as part of the Scottish Government’s Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) model, has officially been awarded to the Aberdeen Roads limited consortium of Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Galliford Try.

The deal has now reached financial close with construction costs on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie-Tipperty project also cut by £11m on original estimates.

Keith Brown said: “While the overall estimated scheme costs remain at £745m, the contract value, which is around £550m in net present value terms, is almost £220m less than the pre-tender estimate and amounts to a reduction in payments over the life of the contract of approximately £26.5m per year.

“The capital cost of construction also came in under the £472m estimate, (cost at 2012), by £11m on a like for like basis.

“Our robust procurement approach has been successful in driving efficiencies in both the long term maintenance operations and the funding of the project.”

The contractor is planning to deliver a more durable ‘long-life’ road, which will reduce the future maintenance requirements.

The shortened construction schedule, with project completion now due in winter 2017, has also helped to keep building costs to a minimum.

Work will start immediately and the project includes designing and constructing 58 kilometres of new dual carriageway.

The contract also includes constructing 40 kilometres of new side roads, 30 kilometres of access tracks and more than 100 new structures, including two significant focal point bridges over the rivers Dee and Don.

Alan Gibson, bid director for Aberdeen Roads said: “Aberdeen Roads looks forward to working closely with Transport Scotland in partnership with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils to deliver this significant project, which will transform the North-east’s transportation system. Construction work will begin immediately as we work towards delivering the project ahead of schedule in winter 2017.”