Awards 2020 Winner’s Spotlight: Large Consultancy of the Year

Arcadis Consulting (UK) Ltd

This award was sponsored by

During 2019, Arcadis demonstrated its commitment to delivering outcomes benefitting biodiversity, business and the local communities through a number of major projects.

This included leading the award-winning environmental design for the HS2 corridor between South Heath and Southam (HS2 Independent Design Panel). This involved combining nature and community with 10 mixed-use green bridges, 6 of which will create ≥30m wide eco-corridors whilst others will connect ecological networks with up-to-12m wide hedgerows and meadow margins. Of the 77 mitigation sites, approximately 50% will be accessible to the public, with measures such as boardwalks and education boards to encourage engagement.

Arcadis also provided the master-planning and environmental services for Otterpool Garden Community (8,500 homes) and Phase 3A Northstowe Ecotown (3,500 homes) planning applications submitted in 2019 using natural capital (NC) and ecosystems-service approaches. These two projects maximise the multifunctional value of green infrastructure, providing landscapes with increased cultural heritage, recreation, water management, health and well-being values, and delivering +20% and +15% BNG respectively. Arcadis used Otterpool as a trial for the eco-metric on behalf of Natural England (NE). Both schemes were also used to trial the Natural Capital Planning Tool.

In embracing latest standards (NE EPS Licencing Policies), Arcadis estimate >£1million of saving on the M4 Smart Motorway and the Congleton Link road (combined) reducing GCN capture effort, saving >90 programme-days and providing significantly greater habitat provision. The Arcadis approach also reduced health and safety risks to site operatives, reduced waste and plastics consumables, contributed to a reduced mileage, fewer carbon and pollutant emissions and lower use of fossil fuels.

Sharing knowledge and good practice shines through the company’s work. Over the past year they have delivered 15 presentations on topics as diverse as Natural Capital, habitat creation and restoration, sustainability, health and wellbeing, the Eco-metric trial and leadership and management. They have run 7 workshops, including for ecosystem services, soils and art, sustainability, pond creation and the benefits of biodiversity. There have been 3 articles for InPractice, including for EPS licensing, health and safety and Natural Capital and podcast on how the Natural Capital approach delivers biodiversity and drives climate and community resilience. The podcast received over 1000 ‘listens’.

All of the company’s ecologists are CIEEM members and have a review process for technical capabilities with a clear pathway for each ecology discipline. Technical leads/ champions are responsible for bringing ecologists through CIEEM-equivalent levels (basic/capable/accomplished), via objective-linked personalised training plans. Development-goal aligned internal training is provided, coupled with annual training sessions for the whole team. 2019’s 2-day event at a Wildlife Trust Reserve included workshops on EPS licencing changes; data analysis and statistics; mental wellbeing, plus trialling data collection tablets and 360° cameras. Also, all graduates attended an intensive GCN course with examination. The Workforce for the Future Programme has engaging online learning to ensure that staff can embrace digital transformation and the Ecology Digital Working Group upskills ecologists in digital data capture and analysis (e.g. using tablets, 360° cameras, power BI and other platforms).

The company actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion. The EDI Strategy has assigned role models and mentors to over 240 staff, trained 78 role models and 60 LGBTQ+ sector allies. Staff have shared their EDI stories over the company intranet, receiving >22,000 hits.

Arcadis has been part of CIEEM’s Strategic Policy Panel (SPP) since 2018, advising on practice and policy for biodiversity net gain and Natural Capital. Arcadis has contributed to the CIEEM briefing paper on the Natural Capital approach and attended meetings at Westminster on behalf of the SPP on Biodiversity Net Gain, introducing Ecosystem Services in Agriculture which included presenting at the inauguration of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Biodiversity in July 2019.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting further information on each of the 2020 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. A full recording of the event is now available to watch online. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2020 CIEEM Awards Booklet.