Most of the environmental management operations in Australia over the last decade have been based on greenfield developments. This has been across a wide variety of areas; from new mines to construction of major infrastructure to housing developments. Environmental management has been focused on project planning and managing impacts of projects during construction.
Of course, there has also been some operational and brownfields environmental management jobs involved with ongoing operations and infrastructure upgrades.
New Era of Environmental Management?
My suggestion is that there may be a new era of environmental management with the maintenance of existing infrastructure.
Through the need to find further operational cost savings, including costs associated with planning and obtaining approvals for new developments, maintenance of infrastructure provides a great opportunity for companies to get the most out of their existing infrastructure.
For example, this year I have been working on projects across Queensland which involve refurbishment of existing steel transmission towers. This method is used to prolong the operational life of the towers rather than decommissioning and building new towers. Through this maintenance project, it is anticipated that the towers will be in service for another 10 to 20 years. As well as extending the life of the existing infrastructure, there has been less disturbance within the easements including no removal of vegetation.
Could this be the new era of environmental management work?
It would be great to hear your comments on this idea.