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Monday, 16 January 2017 11:54

£100m modernisation set for UK's Antarctica research station

British scientists will continue vital Antarctic research into major issues facing the planet, thanks to a £100 million programme commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) that will take place over the next ten years.

Sweco, an engineering and environmental design company, has partnered with BAM, which has been appointed to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Construction Partner framework, to provide design and construction services for the modernisation of research facilities in the Antarctic.

The initial phase of the project will be the upgrading of the existing wharf at the BAS Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to accommodate the RRS Sir David Attenborough research vessel.

Antarctica UK research revampBefore work on the first stage of the project is due to commence in October 2017, a fact-finding mission to the Antarctic will take place, with Sweco experts travelling to the area in February 2017.

The Bird Island Research Station near the Antarctic island of South Georgia will be redeveloped incorporating new storage, waste management, bio-security and improved fuelling facilities.

Sweco's Edinburgh office will be leading the project and its multi-disciplinary expertise across the UK, along with its offices throughout Europe, will be utilised to deliver the various design elements.

Iain Scott, Sweco's director of transportation, said: "We are extremely pleased to be BAM Nuttall's design partner on this BAS project to modernise its research facilities. We look forward to applying our cold climate design and construction expertise on such a high profile project.

"Each stage of the modernisation work over the coming years will pose a number of significant challenges and will require a diverse range of skills, including civil and structural engineering, building services, energy and environment sectors. We will be looking to utilise extensive cross-discipline collaboration throughout our UK offices, as well as cross-border collaboration with the wider Sweco Group."

BAS stations in Signy, South Orkney Islands, and King Edward Point, South Georgia are also set to be modernised as part of the £100 million programme and the design role undertaken by Sweco on these projects will further foster and grow the UK's level of expertise and experience of working in challenging design and construction environments.

In the UK, Sweco employs 800 people and has particular expertise in the fields of energy, transportation, environment, asset management, sustainable buildings and water.

It consults on major projects nationwide via its network of offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough and Solihull.