[L]ocal firm, LARS Communications Limited, has played an important role in a Met Office national renewal project, which has led to a prestigious award.
Carnforth-based LARS was one of the companies working alongside the Met Office and the Environment Agency on the seven year National Weather Radar Renewal Project. The project, which cost in excess of £10 million, has been recognised at the recent Annual Environment Agency Flood and Coast Project Excellence Awards.
The Project Excellence Award Ceremony took place on 21 March at the Telford International Centre, where four hundred people gathered together to celebrate flood and coastal management successes. On the evening, over 120 entries were narrowed down to just eleven awards, including the award for Asset Management, which was presented to the Weather Radar Network Renewal team. The Asset Management Award is presented for ‘Doing the routine brilliantly’, recognition of the best practice in routine maintenance and emergency works to existing assets.
The Weather Radar Network Renewal Project was introduced to refurbish and upgrade sixteen weather radar systems in the UK. The programme of improvements has recently been completed, a programme in which LARS Communications played a pivotal role.
Work on the final two sites, one at Munduff Hill, East of Loch Levern near Kinross, and one at Druim a Starraig on the Isle of Lewis, has been completed recently and LARS’ Managing Director, Ian Turner, was quick to praise the teams responsible for the projects; “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Met Office and the Environment Agency, as well as the other companies involved, throughout this project. The LARS team has carried out fantastic work at various sites across the UK and we are pleased to say that all sixteen sites now adhere to the strict health and safety standards required by the Met Office.”
The sixteen weather radars are spread right across the British Isles and provide real time information to help monitor and forecast heavy rainfall. The programme of improvements helps to address current network challenges; ensure the radar service will have the ability to meet future requirements, such as hydrometeor classification; and extend the life of the network by between fifteen and twenty years.
LARS was responsible for the infrastructure upgrades to thirteen of the sixteen sites, where it assumed the role of Principal Contractor. The scope of works included undertaking dimensional surveys of the existing tower at each site; the preparation of designs and drawings for steelwork connections, balustrades and waterproofing; the fabrication of steelwork required for the upgrades; the removal of existing decking plates and ladders; the installation of new platforms and new access stairs and balustrades (where required); and the provision of new self-opening access hatches. Most of the steelwork fabrication was carried out in LARS’ fully-equipped, in-house fabrication workshop and is all CE Marking accredited.
Business Development Manager at LARS, Julian Cooper, added; “These sites certainly proved to be a change of scenery for the team, as well as posing different challenges. The site on the Isle of Lewis, for instance, is pretty remote, but we have shown over the years that we have the capacity to work anywhere we are required to be, whether on land or offshore. We are proud to work with the Met Office – this is a very important client and the efforts of the team continue to pay off. To be associated with such a prestigious award makes us all very proud.”