The team building Halton’s landmark new Mersey Gateway bridge has reached the final of a national competition that recognises excellence in ecology and environmental management.
The project team entered this year’s Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Best Practice awards, which highlights outstanding examples of environmental management on large-scale projects, and has now been shortlisted as a finalist for the stakeholder engagement award.
Dr Mark Hampton, the project’s lead ecologist, said the awards recognised the highest standards of professionalism in environmental management across the project site and from Merseylink and its partners AECOM, Kier and the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust.
“Preserving and improving the natural environment surrounding the project and wider areas was a priority from the beginning,” he said.
“Being shortlisted is recognition of everyone’s hard work, but we want to go one step further and win it, and demonstrate the work we’ve put in to engage with environmental stakeholders is the gold standard.”
To reach the final the Mersey Gateway team had to demonstrate how it met a number of criteria, including how sensitive environmental issues were resolved.
“We demonstrated how we had worked with regulators to ensure the construction of the haul roads on the saltmarsh at the start of the project did not interfere with bird nesting season,” he said.
“Throughout the project we’ve taken steps to ensure transparent and timely access to information for the project stakeholders such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Marine Management Organisation, the Local Planning Authority and research institutions.
“We’ve made it our priority to inform, consult, involve and collaborate with these organisations, but also to foster interest and engagement from the local community.
“This is done through community engagement events, the establishment of volunteer groups and working closely with local schools to promote the project’s environmental benefits.”
Leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill, congratulated the team on being shortlisted.
“This is recognition of the extremely high standard of work that has been demonstrated from the project team since this project began,” he said.
“Any large-scale project has to pay careful consideration to its environmental impact. This nomination shows how important environmental and ecological considerations have been from the start.”
The CIEEM Best Practice awards will be held in London, on June 21.