UK and Europe
Providing innovation for transport and water megaprojects and supporting the international need for energy transition.
Regional managing director
Our team and BAM Nuttall partners onsite at the Avonmouth Severnside flood defence project
View from this region
One in six
of all UK rail journeys are made on the Elizabeth line
carbon saving on Tideway super sewer
Our technical excellence and digital innovation come as standard within a business-as-usual approach, wherever we’re involved.
The pace of change in digital innovation has provided a rich opportunity for adding value.
UK and European markets have been buffeted by a series of crises. Recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the whole region was impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused the cost of energy and materials to soar. It’s meant that 2022 saw public and private sector clients wrestling with the challenge of affordability.
But the pace of change in digital innovation has provided a rich opportunity for adding value, and we worked with our clients throughout last year to make their budgets go further, while advancing other essential agendas like decarbonisation, climate resilience and social inclusion.
Rail: a hotbed of innovation
2022 saw major progress on the HS2 high speed rail route, Europe’s largest infrastructure project. We’ve been involved from the early route selection and optimisation stages, working directly for client body HS2 and its design and build contractors. Our detailed design role has included the application of technical excellence across the project, to streamline and save cost on both design and construction. It's constant innovation that we bring within a business-as-usual approach rather than just as a response to price inflation.
We have supported the delivery of the Elizabeth line from its early stages under various roles. It is a fantastic illustration of our engineering excellence in rail megaprojects.
Energy: enabling system transformation
The energy system’s shift from fossil fuels to renewable and nuclear technologies has been accelerated by the war in Ukraine: they reduce reliance on supplies from potentially unstable or hostile nations, as well as reducing emissions towards net zero.
The transition towards more renewables also means that electricity transmission networks require upgrade and reconfiguration to high voltage direct current (HVDC) systems that enables the efficient integration of renewables, the movement of more power further, and improved network performance.
To this end we are delivering HVDC projects for National Grid, Scottish & Southern Energy, and EirGrid. Services include providing HVDC technical advisory services, front end engineering design and delivery support services as well as detailed civil design.
NortH2 will create the world’s largest system of offshore wind farms, transmitting power onshore to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis.
In 2022 we worked on pioneering projects to develop Europe’s green hydrogen industry, with two ongoing projects in the North Sea.
We are the technical integration and optimisation partner, developing conceptual designs and technical solutions for NortH2, the world’s largest system of offshore wind farms, transmitting power onshore to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis. Converted gas infrastructure then conveys this hydrogen to industrial centres in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as to a bulk storage underground salt cavern near Zuidwending in the Netherlands.
We’re also providing project management, cost consultancy, scheduling and risk management services, to inform investment decisions.
In another similar initiative the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH), a consortium of transmission system operators is developing the energy infrastructure for the integration of large scale offshore wind from the North Sea into the north west European energy system. We are supporting NSWPH by bringing extensive experience in the technical and commercial development of hydrogen production projects. We have developed several innovative hydrogen production concepts including on- and offshore platforms based on an artificial island or mounted on wind turbines themselves.
Hydrogen will be stored at high pressure in an underground salt cavern, as well as in above-ground tanks, then decompressed for injection into the existing gas distribution network.
In Redcar, northeast England, we are drawing on oil and gas industry expertise to design a new hydrogen network to supply residential and industrial users. Hydrogen will be stored at high pressure in an underground salt cavern, as well as in above-ground tanks, then decompressed for injection into the existing gas distribution network.
We are advancing ‘old’ energy technologies as well as pioneering new ones. At Skavica in Albania we have established the preferred configuration and carried out front end engineering design (FEED), for a new hydropower plant. The Skavica dam will become the controlling dam to an existing three-plant cascade system.
Using computer models we’ve developed for power and energy modelling, and detailed hydrological, topographical and geological studies, we have weighed the strengths and weaknesses of several sites and configuration options. Our recommendation is for an up to 162m high dam, which would be one of the tallest of its type in the world.
Water: delivering Europe’s biggest project
Tideway is the largest project underway in the UK water industry, with few others worldwide that match its size and complexity. With overflow sewage from London’s 150-year-old sewers regularly polluting and threatening the health of the river Thames, a £4.4bn programme is delivering a new super sewer to capture these flows and clean up the city’s main waterway.
On parts of the work, the team has cut the amount of concrete needed by 20% – equating to a carbon saving of about 4500t.
Our multidisciplinary team has drawn on technical expertise from across our business. Equally, the expertise we have built up in the UK can be drawn upon for projects our teams deliver around the world.
Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB)
Our contracting business offers clients full feasibility, design, construction, and commissioning services. Most of our work is in the UK regulated water market where customers include seven of the largest water and sewerage companies.
Over 1800 people are employed in the business including over 350 design staff. A large directly employed construction workforce gives clients added assurance for quality, safety and efficiency and differentiates us in the marketplace.
In 2022 MMB delivered £300M of revenue UK-wide. This included the completion of a new £45M advanced anaerobic digestion facility at Stoke Bardolph that will deliver green biogas to 9000 homes.
We continued to play a key role in the delivery of the Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA). One of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, SPA will add resilience to the network by enabling water in the east of England to be transferred from the north of this region to drier parts in the south and east.
Find out more about MMB here.
Health: expanding provision
The pandemic created a huge backlog of patients, putting health services under intense pressure. In the UK, the New Hospital Programme (NHP) includes 40 projects that will be delivered in four phases. We won a significant role as leader of the NHP interim delivery partner team and are providing engineering, digital and programme management expertise.
The design and construction efficiencies will be in the order of 25% time and 20% cost.
Traditionally each new hospital would be designed, developed and built as a standalone project. However, the NHP will meet individual health trusts’ needs with configurable standardised design solutions. The design and construction efficiencies will be in the order of 25% time and 20% cost. Moreover, integrating digital technology means more intelligent healthcare and an improved patient experience.
It’s rare for any business to be able to step into a national programme of this scale. We are working with the NHS to transform healthcare facilities while maintaining care provision through existing hospitals: It’s a challenging and very exciting project to be part of.
Defence: supporting a renewed focus
Our longstanding design, project management and advisory support for defence clients was developed and strengthened in 2022 to align with the needs of Ministry of Defence, NATO and the AUKUS alliance.
We have completed a significant piece of work with Boeing to create a Roadmap of technology and systems for the NATO Alliance Future Surveillance & Control Platform. As part of a long-standing relationship with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) we have provided programme, project, commercial and risk support to the F35 Aircraft Infrastructure Programme at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.
Additionally, working for DIO, on behalf of UK Strategic Command, we completed an Ecosystem Services assessment, and habitat risk surveys across five UK military bases in Cyprus, supporting the APOLLO programme which is addressing the seismic risk on the island.
The depth and breadth of our defence portfolio across the region allows us to demonstrate a vast range of skills and expertise via a wide spectrum of MOD clients and UK prime contractors.
Advisory: adding value throughout the project life cycle
We are proud of our engineering heritage, but we are now much more than just an engineering business. By integrating deep technical and domain expertise with a range of strategic and specialist advisory services we add value throughout a project’s lifecycle.
Our advisory services include world leading project delivery capabilities across numerous domains. As the delivery partner for the Department for Education’s Adoption Support Fund, we collaborated with users and partners to deliver a bespoke digital platform to enable over 10,000 applications to be processed per year. For National Highways we’ve been responsible for calculating the carbon footprint and developing strategic mitigation measures for supply chain emissions.
In addition, 2022 saw us continuing to provide independent technical assurance of the Tideway Tunnel project on behalf of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), Thames Water Utilities Limited and Bazalgette Tunnel Limited (‘Tideway'). It’s a unique role that we have been undertaking since 2015 and demonstrates our ability to perform advisory-assurance services at a strategic level.
Another major rail project, the Elizabeth line, opened in 2022, with passenger numbers rapidly exceeding client Transport for London’s expectations. One in six of all UK rail journeys are now made on the line that runs 118km from Reading, west of London, to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in southeast London. It includes 42km of new tunnels and 10 new stations. We have supported the delivery of the Elizabeth line from its early stages under various roles. It is a fantastic illustration of our engineering excellence in rail megaprojects.
And in 2022 we completed a strategic advisory role supporting the Belgian government’s implementation of the European Train Control System (ETCS). It was a highly complex re-signalling project that will increase the rail system’s capacity and improve its safety.