RPS wins Public Sector Planning and Environment Award

Planning, environmental, engineering and communications consultant RPS has been named winner of the ‘Planning and Environment Award’ in the Excellence in Business Awards by Public Sector Magazine in Dublin this week.

accepted the award for the ‘achievements of the Integrated Dublin Waste Strategy and Poolbeg Project.’ The full implementation of the strategy will mean practically no landfilling of waste from Dublin post 2017 with the commissioning of the Poolbeg project.

The waste to energy project at Poolbeg is currently under construction and will process some 600,000 tonnes of waste per annum generating enough electricity for 80,000 homes as well as district heating potential for upwards on 50,000 homes.

The project is part of the integrated waste management strategy recommended to the four Dublin Authorities by an international consortium of consultants led by RPS and adopted in 1998. The strategy set up new waste awareness measures and introduced maximum recycling for all Dublin households using source separation into green, brown and black bins.  The green and brown bin waste goes for recycling and energy will be generated from the black bin waste at the Poolbeg project.  The strategy represents a 20 year vision which now looks about to be realised thanks to the implementation efforts of Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.  The strategy was formulated after an extensive period of public consultation and stakeholder engagement where the ‘public call for action’ was for waste prevention, greatly increased recycling and minimum landfill.

‘The original aim of the strategy was to reduce landfill of Dublin waste from  90% down to 15%  within 20 years but we now believe that ‘zero landfill’ can be achieved by maximising both recycling and energy recovery. This is totally in accordance with the most recent Irish and EU waste policies making better use of our waste resources and supporting the transition to a circular economy. Waste is now recognised as a resource which should neither be landfilled nor exported but processed to create new materials, energy, enterprise and jobs at home’ stated PJ Rudden, RPS Director who was responsible for the original waste strategy formulation and the planning and environment aspects of the Poolbeg project.

‘We are very proud of this award as it recognises over 15 years of concentrated effort by RPS assisting the local authorities to make real change in how the capital’s waste is managed more sustainably. We didn’t expect it but are nevertheless grateful to see recognition of the success of the waste strategy by a combination of public and private enterprise to achieve the ambitious recycling and recovery goals. As a result Dublin is fast becoming a leading European city in sustainable waste management’ he concluded.

RPS has a national and international track record in environmental management. The firm managed the ‘rx3 – Rethink Recycle Remake’ project for five years (2008-2013) for Department of Environment Community and Local Government winning the Public Sector Green Award in 2013. Other recent environmental assignments include authoring the ‘Guidance on Green Procurement for the Public Sector’ completed for the EPA in 2014 and the consultancy of the European Green Capital Award Secretariat for the EU Commission across the 28 Member States since 2010 with winning cities Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, Ljubljana and Essen to date. This year RPS also assisted all of Ireland’s local authorities in the formulation of the third generation of Regional Waste Plans (2015 – 2021) which were recently adopted based on ‘circular economy’ and ‘zero landfill’ concepts.