2022 Awards Winners Spotlight: Consultancy of the Year – Medium

FiveRivers Environmental Contracting Ltd

This award was sponsored by:

FiveRivers Environmental Consulting specialise in the design, delivery and monitoring of ecological and environmental solutions. With over 25 years’ experience of working with nature, their expertise encompasses terrestrial and aquatic habitats with a specific passion for rivers and wetlands.

An example of such a project is ‘Bringing Back the Bulbourne’. FiveRivers staff worked with site-won materials only, to restore natural processes and increase diversity of habitat and species. The scheme was monitored to evaluate habitat diversity and public perception by the Environment Agency and Queen Mary University of London and demonstrated that physical habitat and vegetation complexity increased significantly, together with an improvement in the number and range of river fly taxa post restoration.

The team has been working with the water industry to mitigate historic impacts from abstraction on the endangered European eel. Team members have designed and delivered population assessments and eel translocations for populations landlocked within reservoirs. They worked with their clients and the regulator to develop a project scope for eDNA sampling to prioritise effort and trialled a range of techniques. In total, in 2021, they caught and translocated 178 mature European eel, now able to contribute to the breeding population and the recovery of the species.

FiveRivers contribute to reducing energy costs of waste water treatment by designing and building constructed wetlands that treat water the natural way using macrophytes to filter nitrates and phosphates and settle sediment. The sites provide essential habitat for species, sequestration of carbon, reduce carbon emissions from water treatment and reduce the need for construction of new infrastructure. The benefits continue downstream, improving water quality and reducing the impacts of diffuse pollution on our estuary and marine environment.

Sharing good practice and lessons learnt is a high priority for the team. Externally this has been achieved through presenting at Award sponsored by conferences, such as the River Restoration Centre and Institute of Fisheries Management annual conferences as well as writing articles for publications such as InPractice. Free training has been provided for some charities. Internally staff receive regular presentations from colleagues as well as external speakers, and have access to a comprehensive training programme. All staff are encouraged and financially supported to obtain relevant professional membership, including CIEEM, CIWEM, IFM etc. and work towards chartered status. This is built into role descriptions and individual training plans.

Sustainability is integral to the company’s values and business planning. The current focus is on reducing carbon with residual carbon being offset in order to be carbon neutral by 2023. In 2020 FiveRivers created an employee-led focus group called the Peat Boggers, consisting of volunteers from across the company who explore ways the company can reduce its environmental footprint. A key output from this was to measure and reduce the carbon footprint through the Achilles Carbon Reduce Scheme. FiveRivers have been accredited for ISO14001 since 2014 and the Carbon Reduce scheme builds on this solid foundation.

We are posting further information on each of the 2022 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog.