Spring 2005 Newsletter

The Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination


The ‘MP’s’ were finally published in October 2004 after some 12 years of preparation. This document intends to set out a formal management process to guide contaminated land professionals through the decisions required when undertaking an assessment of contaminated land.

ESP are undertaking a comprehensive review of the document (over 200 pages of ‘guidance’) in view of developing a more transparent process to aid all those involved in ‘managing’ the land to make and record key MP decisions and report those decisions in line with MP requirements. We will contact you again when the output is available.

Proposed Renewal Area – South Wales

Merthyr Waterside DevelopmentMerthyr Tydfil Council are promoting a major waterside residential development on a former colliery site.  The development design and phasing aims to:

  • secure the needs of local residents for public housing
  • minimise the demand for public funding
  • protect the existing amenity value of the area which supports a significant otter population.

ESP were commissioned to provide the following studies:

  • Flood Risk Assessments
  • Conceptual design of flood mitigation measures
  • Habitat surveys
  • Geoenvironmental assessments

Air flows in Geotechnical Processes

Many of you will be aware of the Air Wall – a specialised product to control migration of noxious ground gases.  We have been developing the engineering basis of controlled directional air flows to improve performance of composting and bio remediation installations.

Composting is the main route whereby local authorities can achieve new targets on reducing waste to landfill but the technical barriers to expansion are formidable.  Chief among these are the Animal By Products Regulations (ABPR) which impose strict controls on including food waste in composts. Until recently, there has been a presumption that fully enclosed ‘in vessel’ systems would be needed to meet the demands of the Regulations.  We have recently completed a WDA funded study which shows that add-on hardware to produce controlled directional air flows offers the potential to upgrade many existing systems so that they could accept food waste. Many bio remediation projects utilise surface windrows and, again, incorporating controlled directional air flows could reduce treatment time from months to weeks.

London Olympic Development Area – Proposed mixed development

This project comprised a Preliminary and Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment to allow our client to make pre-purchase decisions regarding potential development restrictions and liabilities at a site within the redevelopment zone associated with the London 2012 Olympic development area.

The site is situated within an area of former heavy industry with land uses including Dye Works, Printing Ink Works, Ammonia Works, and Scrap Yards among others.

Over 5m of Made Ground was proven at the site and significant contamination was identified, inorganic contaminants in particular.

These initial stages allowed scoping of necessary investigation to undertake a Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment and projection of likely further investigation and potential remediation costs.

Autumn 2005 Newsletter


ESP have recently won two tenders for partnering with Cardiff City Council and Torfaen Borough Council for the next three to four years. In both tenders ESP offered excellent quality consultancy at a competitive price. With projects from these partnering schemes requiring a wide variety of disciplines, we look forward to assisting our partners in problem solving ranging from contaminated land investigations to slope stability assessments.

In addition to these successful applications, there are a number of outstanding agreements that are yet to be determined. More details will follow.

Council Logos


ESP were appointed by Redrow Homes (South Wales) Ltd to undertake a Geoenvironmental Investigation at the home of Cardiff City Football Club. The investigation was undertaken as part of a pre-purchase valuation amidst strict time constraints of home matches and player training. Access restricted works were undertaken within the stands and even on the Hallowed Turf. The findings of the investigation allowed Redrow to agree a price with the club and the local authority. The sale of which we understand is now completed.

cardiff city red row


Planning Applications now require flooding assessments if the site is within the extreme event flood plain.  The extreme event is normally taken as the 1 in 1,000 year flood.  The Environment Agency typically require that properties be flood free during the 1 in 100 year event but the Association of British Insurers have more stringent requirements.  In order to offer insurance at normal rates. they require that properties be flood free for the 1 in 200 year event with an allowance for climate change up to 2050.

Everyone admits that flood prediction for a specific site can be an inexact science.  Detailed flood records rarely go back more than a few decades and there are challenges in predicting flow rates and flood levels.  Risk assessments need to address the physical conditions at the site which will control safety in the event of flooding.  These include:

  • Speed of onset – the Boscastle flood showed that current standard prediction methods can overestimate the time take to reach flood peak.
  • Condition of flood defences where present – defences adopted by the local authority or the Environment Agency may give more security than those privately owned.
  • Flood water flow paths and likely velocities at the site and on access / escape routes.


We have been commissioned to undertake a geo-environmental investigation in the heart of the former Black Country in the Midlands. The site was subject to extensive disturbance due to mining activity during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The site has been undermined by at least 5 seams of coal and two seams of Ironstone with at least two mine shafts on the site  he shallowest coals seam is the Thick Coal which is in two leaves each some 3m thick.

ESP have been involved in a number of phased investigations to locate and infill the mineworkings and shafts in order that the site is suitable for residential development.


June 2005 saw some structural changes at ESP. These enhancements reflect the long term plans for stable expansion determined by the Directors when originally setting up the company.

  • Giles Sommerwill has now been appointed as a Director to the main Board.
  • Matthew Eynon has been appointed as a Project Engineer. Matt is from Swansea but has joined us from a Geoenvironmental Consultancy in the Midlands. His experience and expertise relates to Contaminated Land Risk Assessment and Implementation of Remediation.
  • As part of our ongoing commitment to Graduate Development we have taken on two students this summer to provide them with vocational experience relevant to their degree schemes. Joeseph Liswaniso is studying for an MSc at Cardiff and Meganne Paul is in the summer between her BSc and MSc at Leeds University.

On a different note, Our Admin Manager Amanda Morton will be on Maternity Leave for 6 months to give birth to her second child. We wish her all the best and look forward to her return in Spring 2006. In her absence we have recruited Karen James to assist in the Marketing and Admin activities of the company.

Do you need more information or maybe you have questions? Contact us today and let us see how we can help you.

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