Earth Environmental – June 2016 News

Vibration Monitoring Burnley

Due to our continued expansion we have moved to larger and more prestigious Regus operated offices, Houldsworth Mill Business & Arts Centre, on the outskirts of Stockport.

Houldsworth Mill, also known as Reddish Mill, is a former mill that was built in 1865.

Designed by Abraham Stott, it was constructed for Henry Houldsworth, a prominent wealthy mill owner at the time.

This mill was converted by Stephenson Bell architects and provides seventy shared apartments, start­up units for emerging high­technology and arts based businesses with commercial and leisure uses at the lower floors to provide active frontages.

It is currently a Grade II listed building. Our new address and contact details are:

Houldsworth Business & Arts Centre, Houldsworth Street,
Stockport SK5 6DA

Tel 0161 975 6088



Two new members of staff joined us in early June and have already found life very busy in their new roles.

Simon Holden BSc (Hons) MCIEEM, our Associate Director has over 11 year’s consultancy experience with a sound knowledge of legislation and planning policy relating to ecology. He is currently a full member of CIEEM.

He is an experienced surveyor for protected species (bats, badger, birds, otter, water vole, great crested newt, white clawed crayfish, reptiles, barn owl) and has survey licences for bats, GCN, white clawed crayfish, barn owl and lesser silver water beetle.

Currently he is undertaking habitat surveys (extended Phase 1) for a number of proposed developments in the Cheshire, Midlands and London area.

His work email address is

Joleen Harris MCSM MSc MEarthSci FGS, our GeoEnvironmental Consultant has over three years experience in mineral exploration across Ireland, Guyana, Mali and Congo and has a Masters in Mining Geology from Camborne School of Mines. This course focused heavily on environmental impact assessments, rock mechanics, classification systems and laboratory testing techniques for hardness, strength etc. and a wide range of analytical techniques for lithology, soil and water sampling.

She is responsible for the supervision of site investigations, logging of soils & rock, environmental monitoring, scheduling of environmental and geotechnical testing and assisting with the writing of geotechnical, mining, geological and environmental reports.

Joleen is also assisting with the evaluation of potential gold reserves as part of a geological survey and environmental impact assessment and also writing a number of Phase 1 Desk GeoEnvironmental Studies for a variety of developments across the UK.

Her work email address is



Newt Surveys, Cheshire

We have recently been procured to conduct a number of Preliminary Ecological Appraisals as part of planning application submissions for new residential and commercial developments. Due to the presence of ponds within the development area eDNA testing has been conducted on several of the sites. This is accepted by local authorities and Natural England as being a legitimate survey method for assessing great crested newt presence between April 15th and June the 30th.

If the eDNA results show great crested newts to be present, Natural England still require a population size class to be established to show the level of mitigation required for a European Protected Species Development Licence. This means that six surveys are needed between March and June, with at least three of these surveys carried out between mid­April and mid­May. As eDNA sampling cannot be reliably undertaken until mid­April, if Great Crested Newts are confirmed present, there may not be enough time to fulfil Natural England’s guidelines for establishing a population size class.

Geotechnical Investigation, Blackpool
We have been appointed to carry out a site investigation for a deck renewal scheme in Blackpool. The existing abutments and piers will be utilised to support the new bridge deck on a new reinforced concrete bearing shelf.

The bridge was constructed in the 1920s to replace a level crossing and hence is higher than the general ground level in the vicinity. It is believed that the approach embankments have been constructed using marine dredged aggregates.

Network Rail requires an increased bridge soffit height which will increase the footways and carriageway levels. An understanding of the composition of the approach embankments is therefore required to assess the increase in applied earth pressures to the rear of the abutments.

The existing embankments are steep, with a gradient of 1 in 1.5 on the immediate approach to the bridge; the gradient decreasing with distance away from the bridge. Any increase in height or the application of additional weight at the shoulders risks the stability of the embankment. It is proposed that any additional loading applied to the existing embankments be resisted through the use of piled reinforced concrete retaining walls at the edge of the footway. An understanding of the composition of the approach embankments and the natural material beneath the embankments is therefore required for the design of the piled substructure.


Parliament Street, Liverpool

We are conducting a site investigation in Liverpool for forty­four new apartments spread over five storeys.

The proposals are split over five levels. The ground floor facilitates car parking allocation, cycle storage and general access to and from the accommodation above. The development at its tallest is 18metres above ground level.

Our work involves geotechnical and environmental investigations in order to establish ground conditions for foundation design and assess potential soil, ground gas and groundwater contamination.

Housing Sites, Colne
We have been recently commissioned to investigate the proposed location of two affordable housing developments in Colne, providing ecological, site investigation, geotechnical planning and design support services.

Despite difficult access, with abundant vegetation and trees we were able to conduct a mixture of cable percussive and windowless sampling boreholes.

Future work will involve supporting the client with foundation design work and other submissions during the planning application.

Commercial Development, Asbestos Removal, Holmes Chapel
Following an earlier phase of site investigation work we were contacted by the purchasing client to assist with the supervision of asbestos removal operations by the site vendors contractors.

Our work involved swab sampling of the hardstanding surface, air dust monitoring at the site boundary and validating the removal of asbestos fibres and fragments.

Ripponden Slope Stability
After construction activities commenced on a site in Ripponden a slope to the rear of the site slipped during a prolonged period of adverse weather.

Construction activities were halted as the slope instability was deemed by the NHBC to be too close to a planned apartment block.

A site investigation was quickly designed and procured which consisted of a number of hand held auger boreholes, due to the adverse terrain and limitations on the imposed loads. As part of this site investigation slip indicators were installed to allow for profiling of the slipped soil mass.

The investigation proved poor ground conditions and a high perched water table.

Following a back­analysis of the slip effective stress parameters were derived which allowed for the design of remedial measures for a reprofile slope. These measures include counterfort drains at 5m spacing along the slope mass, feeding into a drain at the rear of a Gabion Wall system.


Vibration Monitoring, Burnley

Due to the proximity of a sensitive and dilapidated Victorian chimney we were asked to initiate vibration monitoring on a new retail store development in Burnley.

As piling operations and earthworks were planned to be conducted near to the sensitive structures the client required an assessment of ground vibration prior to and during the works.

We installed a secured vibration monitoring system with two geophones near to the structure. This allowed for continuous measurement of induced ground vibration, with the data relayed to the office by modem.

Vibration trigger levels were established with alarms sent to the site managers and project managers mobile phone.