UK Search and Rescue Helicopter Facilities

Bristow Helicopters has won a £1.6bn 10-year contract to take over the UK’s helicopter search and rescue operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Under the new contract, 22 helicopters will operate from 10 locations around the UK. Seven of these locations require new Search and Rescue (SAR) bases to be constructed on existing airport/airbase sites.



Waterman has provided a range of environmental and engineering consultancy advice, initially supporting Bristow when they were tendering for the new UK SAR contract by undertaking an initial appraisal of ground contamination risk at the sites of the proposed new facilities.

Following their successful tender we have been providing a range of pre-planning assessments to support their various planning applications, together with site investigations to inform the building design.  Our services on this project have included:

  • Noise assessments, specifically considering the operational noise generated by the helicopters at nearby sensitive receptors;
  • Geo-environmental ground investigation;
  • Unexploded buried ordnance;
  • Buried Services and Topographical Survey
  • Heritage assessments;
  • Flood risk assessments;
  • Ecological appraisals;
  • Landscape and visual assessments, including photomontages;
  • Transportation advice; and
  • BREEAM pre-assessments.

We have recently been asked to provide BREEAM pre-assessments to help ensure that the required planning and corporate targets can be achieved within budget.

We are now working for Bristow’s D&B Contractor – Balfour Beatty as well.  We are acting as their BREEAM assessors undertaking full design, construction and post construction BREEAM duties.
We are also undertaking ecology and heritage assessments to discharge various planning conditions.

Bristow’s SAR operations will be rolled out in a phased manner from 2015 and will be fully operational by summer 2017.

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