Our UK coastal, estuarine, fluvial and groundwater environments are all under pressure from population growth, industry, agriculture, historic and continuing developments, whilst those developments themselves are at increased risk of flooding. This has led to an increased legislative focus.
Ramboll Environ’s UK team of engineers and scientists devoted to the natural water environment has experience across a broad spectrum of projects. Our expertise covers the whole life of projects, from concept through to post-construction evaluation. We also provide non-project specific advice to regulators and government agencies, informing policy and authoring guidance.
Strategic assessment, planning, hydrology and catchment management
Water doesn’t respect administrative boundaries, and our clients often need us to consider areas wider than specific sites or particular locations. We provide strategic-scale assessment of surface water and foul water flows as well as masterplanning services to help clients make informed decisions. Clients increasingly require solutions that include multiple benefits such as water treatment and recycling, habitat creation and biodiversity and amenity benefits. In the face of a changing climate and increased environmental regulation we also offer change and demand management services including water stress, scarcity and climate change impact assessments.
Flood risk planning and assessment
Flooding continues to affect many of our clients, who ask us to assess flood risk to assist schemes to obtain planning, gain sustainability credits or assess how resilient their assets need to be in the future. Our services include flood risk assessment (FRA), management and planning from catchment to development scale. We provide option appraisals and assessments of flood defence measures, as well as considering residual flood risk, evacuation strategies, flood compensation schemes and flood resilience designs.
The water environment is complex, and we often need to study the interaction between geology and groundwater movement with the impact of changes such as rainfall patterns, abstraction, contamination and hyporheic processes. Our staff are experts in undertaking complex assessments, whether as part of a wider environmental impact assessment or as a standalone piece of work.
We are skilled in the development of foul and surface water masterplans and management plans, to assist our clients in decision making when planning a new development or enhancing existing developments. We have a strong track record in the identification and assessment of constraints and options that mimic and enhance the natural water cycle, from which we can undertake concept design and beyond.
Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)
SuDS are mandatory for all new developments in the UK, and our experience in SuDS design stretches back two decades. We undertake SuDS strategies from concept to detailed design and delivery. As well as designing for attenuation (storage), our designs include water treatment elements and can also include ecological, landscape and amenity benefits.
Blue-green infrastructure/water sensitive urban design
Blue-green infrastructure is an approach to managing water at development and city-wide scale in a way that reflects the natural water cycle. It integrates landscape and biodiversity with water to make blue-green the focus of masterplanning, reflecting the importance of water to communities from the social, physical, cultural and economic perspective. Blue-green infrastructure can offer benefits to the community and environment through amenity, increasing value, creating and enhancing biodiversity and realising health benefits whilst meeting the demands of both flood inundation and water scarcity.
Blue-green infrastructure is closely aligned to ‘water-sensitive urban design’, a land and planning engineering design approach that integrates the urban water cycle into urban design to minimise environmental degradation and improve aesthetic and recreational appeal. It is different to conventional urban storm water management, as it regards urban storm water as a resource rather than a nuisance. In fact, it regards all streams of water as a resource with diverse impacts on biodiversity, water and land and the community’s recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of waterways.
Legislation and education are pushing the issue of water quality up the agenda. We conduct surface water, estuarine, coastal and groundwater quality assessments including Water Framework Directive assessments and industrial discharge applications. Over a number of years we have been instrumental in developing an assessment tool regarding water quality run-off from trunk roads and motorways for Highways England.