Mott MacDonald supplies plans for North Lincolnshire flood defences

20 September 2018

The drive to prepare the Don Valley area for flooding in the future has taken a major step forward, with construction commencing on £13 million defence plans. The designs put forward by Mott MacDonald are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The 2007 floods along the River Don caused major social and economic damage to Lower Don Valley. One of Sheffield’s major waterways, the River Don, which flows through Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, burst its banks, in a flood which claimed two lives, and laid waste to a large number of properties and businesses in affected areas. The direct economic damages of the disaster spiralled into the hundreds of millions of pounds, just months before the nation would go into a state of economic shock now known as the credit crunch.

Since then, the river has remained prone to flooding, alongside its former tributary, the River Trent, thanks to deforestation in the UK, among a plethora of other factors, making it more than likely that the Don Valley will see further flooding in the future. In 2013, a localised breach of flood defences for the Trent, as well as the ever-present risk of flooding in the area, saw a major construction project hampered. Lincolnshire Lakes is a strategic £1.2 billion regeneration project, which will eventually see six new lakeside villages created on a former flood plain. It is anticipated that 6,000 homes, a business park, office accommodation and sports and recreation facilities will be built among a series of five artificial lakes by 2028.

Mott MacDonald supplies plans for North Lincolnshire flood defences

Thanks to the growing likelihood of flooding, partially resulting from building on the flood plain of a river, extensive and resilient defences are needed to be installed to protect both future development plans and existing properties. To that end, construction work has commenced on a multi-million flood defence project by North Lincolnshire Council, having been drafted by consulting firm Mott MacDonald. The engineering firm delivered the detailed design of the project on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council, having recently completed a similar task for Sheffield City Council, and the UK’s Environment Agency.

During the engagement, Mott MacDonald carried out an extensive options assessment of the existing earth flood defences, finding that repairing and raising these would not provide the resilient, low-maintenance solution required. Instead, the firm supplied a new design solution which will now see the £13.3 million construction of 3.8 kilometres of sheet piles installed along the right bank of the River Trent, providing significant flood protection to the village of Burringham.

Other services the consultancy delivered included flood modelling and risk assessments, ecological surveys and screening, planning application and environmental statement advice, stakeholder engagement and the drafting of construction specification documents. The project has an expected completion date of summer 2019.

Commenting on his firm’s work, Lee Geddes, a Project Manager at Mott MacDonald, said, “Gaining planning consent for this environmentally sensitive project was the culmination of a lot of hard work and collaborative effort from North Lincolnshire Council, the Environment Agency and Mott MacDonald and a real achievement for all involved.”


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.