Experts in identifying geotechnical risks and environmental issues to be addressed

Once desk-based assessments and intrusive site work are completed, the client will have a clearer picture of the site regarding addressing geotechnical risks and environmental issues to proceed with constructing or gaining planning permission or signoff from regulatory bodies. We are typically involved from the early stages to support the client throughout this process, which, on large residential or commercial schemes, may mean our involvement spans several years. The earlier we are involved the more value can be gained from our experience and knowledge.

We provide method statements and strategy reports, monitoring and observation visits, guidance and reporting to enable the remediation work to be correctly reported to the relevant parties. Remediation could range from adopting a clean cover system or the export or movement of materials on or around site, in situ remediation through soil mixing and treatment, installation of radon barriers, observational visits to inspect foundations, earth bunds and ground improvement and many other options. Once work is completed, we verify and validate the work via reporting, which can be issued to the relevant parties to enable work signoff. 

LCRM remediation options appraisal

The Environment Agency has emphasised that the land contamination risk management’s (LCRM) scope, framework and purpose remain the same as those of contaminated land report 11 (CLR11); the guidance is less procedure based, so it places greater emphasis on the competency of those undertaking land contamination assessments, helping to assure that risk assessment and remediation works are done to the highest of standards by only the most capable and experienced individuals and businesses. Our commitment to the training and continuing professional development of our employees will ensure that we can mitigate risk by delivering to and above the competency requirements of LCRM’s scope. We have created a competency matrix to demonstrate staff capabilities in core and technical skill areas within geosciences. This helps to guide our continuing professional development plans and annual personal performance reviews. It also guarantees that only the most suitably qualified employee is selected for each project. LCRM makes many references to the National Quality Mark Scheme for Land Contamination Management (NQMS). Launched in 2017, the NQMS was developed by the National Brownfield Forum and is a voluntary scheme that aims to accelerate the land development process, ultimately improving the quality of land contamination advice.

SiLC and NQMS accreditations

We employ 13 Specialists in Land Contamination (SiLC) registered with CL:AIRE, who are recognised at the highest level within the industry as experts capable of providing advice to our clients on the assessment and remediation of contaminated land. Many of our clients are now requesting additional report sign-off by one of our SiLCs to provide assurance that our technical reviews have been undertaken to the highest possible standard. 

The NQMS is administered by CL:AIRE to ensure that land contamination management work meets the necessary technical and regulatory standards. It applies in particular to the presentation of environmental information to the regulator (the local planning authority, the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales) for all types of factual and interpretive land contamination reports, from desk studies through to verification of remediation. Reports are prepared in line with good practice, signed off by a Suitably Qualified and experienced Person (SQP) and registered with a declaration under the NQMS via the CL:AIRE website (CL:AIRE currently charges £70 per report for this service). The application of the NQMS is intended to expedite the regulatory review process by submitting high-quality reports, thereby ‘getting it right the first time’. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency are strongly supportive of the scheme and have included reference to it in policies, including LCRM and policy for groundwater protection. An increasing number of local authorities are also now referencing NQMS in their planning policies.

RSK is a strong advocate for the NQMS, with the largest number of SQPs of any organisation. RSK also has many Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) risk assessors who can support the SQPs in the technical review of complex land contamination risk assessments, as well as over 50 chartered professionals in the geosciences team alone.

Other geoenvironmental services

RSK collage one
RSK collage two
RSK collage three
RSK collage four
RSK collage five
RSK collage six

RSK Geosciences is part of the RSK group of companies

The RSK group is a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services business offering bespoke end-to-end solutions to a variety of sectors. Headquartered in the UK but with an established presence throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, RSK helps organisations around the world achieve their business aspirations in a sustainable and efficient manner.