The Government has recently launched an innovative scheme to ensure the responsible disposal and recycling of decommissioned vessels. The scheme aims to limit the environmental impact of transporting ships to the Far East for disposal by utilising and enhancing existing port facilities within the UK.

One of the latest ships to be dismantled under the scheme is HMS Intrepid, built in 1960 and a veteran of the Falklands conflict, which had previously been docked at Portsmouth for a number of years awaiting suitable disposal.

Working with disposal and procurement contractors Leavesley International and Technical Demolition Services Ltd, Royal HaskoningDHV was asked to progress with the applications for the Waste Management Licence and the Planning Permission for disposal of the Intrepid at Canada Graving Dock in Liverpool.

Canada Graving Dock, owned by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and with a long history of construction, refurbishment and repair of vessels, had been earmarked as an ideal dry dock facility for recycling decommissioned ships because of its size and the availability of an experienced local workforce, while being conveniently located to existing metal processing facilities within the Port of Liverpool.

The licence and planning applications called on our extensive environmental management expertise across a number of disciplines. In addition to the planning application, we also produced a Recycling Plan, which looked at the physical controls needed to prevent pollution and oversee the movement of material from the site; an Environmental Statement, which involved close liaison with agencies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency and the local authority; the development of mitigation measures and noise, air quality and traffic management assessments. The project also included advising the client on all necessary legislative and regulatory requirements.

Communications with all parties went extremely smoothly and both the licence and the planning application were approved in 2008 and completed in 2009.