The Experts in Their Field

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Experts in Their Field


Industry on the River Tyne has evolved over the centuries to accommodate the needs of the local community and the nation.

From the early medieval boat builders, through the rise and decline of the collieries, the manufacture of armaments and commissioning of naval warships, to the engineering services provided to the North Sea oilfields, the Tyne has adapted with the times.

Today, companies offering industry and employment in the North-East are less dependent on the river than they have been in the past. Despite this there is no doubt that the river remains a valuable asset to the region. The changes made to the use of land along the riverbanks over the past 30 years indicate that the days of monopolisation of the river by a single type of industry are over, to be replaced by a harmonious blend of sustainable industry and lifestyle options.

As well as investing in new facilities, companies with riverside assets are keen to maintain and upgrade the historic quays, docks and jetties they depend upon. Changes in use, rehabilitation, and upgrading of riverside facilities, provides a particular challenge for engineers and environmental scientists who are involved in the planning and design of the works.

The Newcastle office of consultant engineers, architects and environmental scientists Posford Haskoning has been involved in the planning and design of riverside projects on the Tyne for over 50 years. The skills base which has been developed in Newcastle continues to play a major part in securing the companies position as the UK's leading waters edge consultant.

These skills are currently being used by staff from the Newcastle office as far away as Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, India, Singapore, Kuwait and Poland. To be able to meet the demand for skills which have been honed in the North East, Posford Haskoning is taking more office space in the centre of Newcastle and recruiting more staff.

The past 20 years has seen a major change in use of the river. These changes have highlighted the need to eradicate the pollution of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Posford Haskoning's environmental scientists are working closely with both new and existing clients and with their engineering colleagues to help to secure a clean healthy river through responsible development and appropriate land remediation.

Case Study 1:

Newcastle City Council has been a driving force behind regeneration of the north bank of the river at Walker to create a centre for offshore and subsea excellence at Walker Technology Park. A significant local facility owned by Newcastle City Council is Walker Public Quay. The original quay, approximately 600 metres in length, was constructed in the early 19th Century and continues to operate as an offshore supply base providing access to the river for major industries associated with the North Sea Oil and Gas industry. In 1999, 190m at the southern end of the quay collapsed, disrupting the activities of several businesses. Newcastle City Council engaged Posford Haskoning to inspect the damage, design the reconstruction of the failed quay, and developed a method of ensuring the safety of the structure during reconstruction, all on an emergency basis. Posford Haskoning has worked closely with Newcastle City Council and the contractor, supervising the construction and commissioning of the new length of quay, and providing regular monitoring and inspection for the original length of quay. Walker Public Quay continues to provide an excellent riverside facility offering heavy load-out facilities to manufacturers in the offshore sector.

Case Study 2

The former Neptune Shipyard formed an important part of the shipbuilding heritage of the River Tyne. Several of the facilities in the Yard including the main quay were designed by Posford Haskoning (then trading as TF Burns and Partners) in the 1950s. …

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