News & Views

FPS Podcast – February 2021

This month’s Federation of Piling specialists (FPS) podcast, sponsored by Central Piling, features Anusha Shah, Director of Resilient Cities at Arcadis and future President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Anusha has always had a passion for the environment and when she takes up her position with ICE will continue this work by focussing on resilience and how developments can thrive under this model.

Talking to FPS Chair Steve Hadley, Anusha, after opening with a brief rundown of her career journey, including a period working on-site, she explains how she found her way into UK construction. From her work in India, and the influence the country had on her love of the natural environment, she explains how this ‘love’ continues into her work on the environment and sustainability and how the built environment can work together to deliver on these areas.

Anusha speaks of the goal of ‘Net Zero’ keeping in mind the fact that 70% of global emissions produce every day can be traced back to infrastructure. She comments: “we need to take a hard look at how we plan, design, operate, maintain and demolish infrastructure and also how it impacts the built environment” adding “it is time for real action on changing our industry to benefit both planet and people.”

Taking a proactive approach theme continues with a look at what lessons can be learnt from projects around the world, such as how The Netherlands is constantly redeveloping its flood defences rather than reacting once a flood has happened. Whilst necessity – it [The Netherlands] being below sea level – has been something of a driver – they are never complacent. Other projects around the globe are highlighted, as well as New York’s approach, which integrates its solutions into what also benefits society such as green spaces and parks.

Anusha’s work with the Thames Estuary Partnership is also explored and Anusha discusses how working together collaboratively with all stakeholders improves the river for all inhabitants including the ecosystem. She drives the view that “if you recognise that no one organisation holds all the answers, and through the wisdom of the collective will achieve a powerful intelligence and action”.

She also speaks about projects including the Tideway Project, or “Super Sewer”, and its impact on water quality, as well as how we as individuals can take an active part in the shaping the environment as well as changing it for the benefit of now and the future.

Diversity and inclusivity are also touched upon and the work ICE is doing in this area and how there are no excuses anymore and besides, we need “all hands-on deck” if we are going to tackle some of the challenges ahead such as climate change.

Anusha concludes discussions talking about how those leaders that can make a difference are coming from all areas of society and how economic growth with poor social outcomes is actually failure!