By Dave Gilbert
For over twenty-five years, the UN’s annual World Water Day has been raising awareness of the importance of water.
“Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare, and productivity of populations. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between the climate system, human society and the environment.” - The United Nations Department for Social and Economic Affairs
Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of the worlds water demands and it is estimated that by 2050, world agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally. Industry and energy accounts for 20% of the water demands, with domestic use the final 10%. Analysts have indicated that in order to feed the world’s population the needed water saving must come from industry.
The heritage sector is not exempt from these concerns. For Red River Archaeology our single largest use of water comes from processing palaeoenvironmental samples. Traditionally such processing was undertaken using a free flow system that is still very common across the sector. This involves a continual water supply flowing through soils samples to float organic remains through a system of graded sieves, with the water that had passed through lost as waste. There were also associated problems with silt discharge and management.
In order to alleviate this waste, the decision was made to trial an enclosed system where water was filtered through silt traps and settling tanks before being recycled with minimum loss. There was no loss of productivity and the initial trial was so successful in saving water that further units were ordered increasing company capacity by 300%.
The move to an enclosed water unit has seen an estimated* reduction of 7000% on water use compared to the more traditional free flowing systems. Also, the associated silt traps ensure that there is next to zero silt emission in the wastewater, with certification in place for discharge. We believe this goes to show how relatively small innovations and changes to procedures can have a far-reaching impact. By simply introducing innovative systems the company is able to use water far more efficiently.
* based on figures supplied by the local water company.
By Dave Gilbert
During the Covid-19 pandemic it has been encouraging to hear that there is still the determination and political will of governments across the world to maintain their climate ambitions. The clear message that accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy can both drive economic recovery and build resilience for the future has popular support.
The UK Government’s “Build Back Greener” announcement places wind firmly at the centre of the UK’s green recovery and 2050 net zero target. The Prime Minister’s pledge that wind will be the backbone of the UK’s electricity system by 2030, is not only a boost to curbing climate change, but will also see an estimated £50 billion of investment.
The infrastructural necessary to push the UK’s wind energy capacity also brings with it a requirement to address a number of environmental issues including a need for archaeological investigation. Such investigations are not restricted to concerns of buried remains, but also impacts to historic buildings and standing monuments.
Due to issues of noise and visual amenity, a wind farm’s location is often in remote, open areas of land or sited offshore. Such environments are areas where Red River Archaeology have considerable expertise, having worked on the UK’s largest onshore and second largest offshore complexes as well as numerous smaller facilities across the country as well as the first electricity interconnector built between Britain and Ireland.
Getting the right expert advice during initial planning is critical. Red River Archaeology have worked closely with clients, planners, and statutory bodies to ensure that the design avoided and mitigated any heritage impact. The Red River team are experienced in identifying alternative approaches that can lead to improvements in the planning and design of development proposals so that they maximise the benefits of the scheme, while also closely cooperating with other project teams to enhance visual impact studies and avoid environmental damage from archaeological activities.
the answer my friend is blowing in the wind … so see Red for a Green future
By Dave Gilbert
Red River Archaeology Ltd is very proud to be a signatory of the Placemaking Wales Charter. Our expert, multi-disciplinary team based in Cardiff provide heritage planning and design consultation and advice spanning the whole of the built environment in Wales.
The Placemaking Wales Charter has been developed by Welsh Government and the Design Commission for Wales in collaboration with the Placemaking Wales Partnership and was launched on the 24th September 2020 by Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government. The Charter builds on the strengthening focus on Placemaking in policy and practice in Wales and aims to provide a common understanding of the range of considerations that go into placemaking.
The charter outlines six placemaking principles that cover the range of considerations in designing place that have key heritage factors and implications for developers. These inter linked principles include people and community, location, movement, identity, mixed use, and the public realm. Our work can have a significant positive influence on many of these factors.
Identity of place looks at the positive and unique qualities of existing places and the importance of highlighting these in the development. Every place is unique, and it is important to highlight this, showing the layers of history and the cultural heritage that differ from one location to another.
Location within an already established historic landscape should not be seen as an obstacle to development, correctly handled this can be a positive factor. Historically many areas were mixed-use and the ambition to move to a less car dependant society is an ambition that fit with more historic townscapes.
By considering the events and industries that have taken place there to create and develop places that give people a sense of identity and community for the people that live there. This feeds into the public realm principle which is about creating public spaces with a distinct identity, something that a shared heritage and history can deliver.
The commissioned work comprised archaeological evaluation of the proposed route of the new road, including the excavation of machine dug trenches, hand dug test pits and extensive geophysical survey in advance of the road scheme. The Cross Tay Link Road will link up the A93, A94 and A9 roads by way of a dual carriageway realignment, a grade separation junction and a new bridge crossing the River Tay and adjacent Railway.
By Dave Gilbert
Red River Archaeology Ltd is now a proud member of the Disability Confident scheme and committed to workplace equality. This scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace. In turn we the employer can support the scheme in changing attitudes, behaviours, and workplace cultures for the better.
Through Disability Confident, thousands of employers like Red River are:
We are delighted to announce that we have been approved as members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme! Construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the Scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements. The Scheme is concerned about any area of construction activity that may have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole. The main areas of concern fall into three categories: the general public, the workforce and the environment. Further details of the Scheme can be found here: ccscheme.
By Dave Gilbert
The 11th February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. A day instigated by the UN that recognises the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. Red River Archaeology would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the scientific contribution to project delivery by our highly qualified female members of staff. There is a longstanding debate as to whether archaeology is a science or should be classified as a branch of humanities. Regardless of this many of our staff are highly qualified in more pure science based skills. It is this diverse and expert skill set that is critical to high quality project delivery and their application of STEM subject knowledge to find out about the past.
Red River Archaeology Ltd are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Collard as Managing Director of the company in the UK
By Dave Gilbert
With the start of a new year, we are looking towards the future. The future of the company and the future of our staff and their careers. With this in mind Red River Archaeology Ltd is very pleased to announce that we have been able to secure funding through the European Social Fund for staff training. This funding may represent some of the last grants available through the Fund, now that the UK has left the European Union, and was specifically for their gender equality initiative the Evolving Leaders Programme. The programme described itself as “for women who are serious about building their career and want to prepare for senior management”. The Evolving Leaders Programme aims to support women to transform their strategic thinking and leadership skills, give women the confidence and tools to assess their leadership performance, develop critical thinking skills, achieve organisational goals, and make strong and informed management decisions.