latest news

New Accounts Administrator appointed

Sadly we recently bid farewell to Lucy Waller, our Accounts Administrator, who has played a vital role for ERA over the last five years. Lucy left to begin her new career as a teacher, and we wish her well in her new post. While Lucy was a part-time employee, she was a key member of our team and played a very important role in administering the company finances.

Stepping into Lucy's shoes, we welcome Victoria Cooper to ERA. ERA is one of a broad range of clients Victoria serves through her company Redshoes Accounting Services, based near Ely. Victoria brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to ERA and will be responsible for many aspects of our company financial administration.

Cambridge Connect initiative for sustainable public transport in Cambridge launched

Greenprint for a Sustainable Cambridge

Cambridge Connect is a new initiative recently launched by Dr Colin Harris to promote light rail as a positive alternative for sustainable future public transport in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Cambridge is experiencing unprecedented and rapid growth, driven by the success of the University of Cambridge and of the high-tech science businesses locating here, coupled with its strategic location close to the financial resources of London. As a result, pressures on housing and transport have been mounting, and movement around the city is now regularly in gridlock. Local and central government have recognised that something needs to be done, and a package of funding up to £500M known as the Greater Cambridge City Deal has been agreed to provide a range of measures to address the problems. The principal transport measures being put forward by the City Deal are for new busways to be constructed along most of the radial routes leading into Cambridge, with the objective of speeding up public transport and making it more frequent and reliable.

Many local residents are expressing concerns about the environmental and social impacts of these bus expressways that would drive through their communities. Moreover, no clear plan seems to exist for what will happen to the buses arriving into the city centre once they reach the historic city core. With the rate of population growth and the aim to get more people using these buses, some estimates suggest that in 10-15 years around 200-300 buses per hour would be necessary to transport people into and out of the city. It is unclear where these buses would park to pick up and drop off passengers, or how they would practically move freely on the narrow and congested lanes within the city core.

Cambridge Connect was established out of concern that this approach could have a significant impact on the values of the historic city of Cambridge, including for the globally outstanding heritage landscape, for air quality, inner city amenity, and for the safety and comfort of other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Cambridge Connect examined alternative approaches to public tranport provision in Cambridge, considering models used elsewhere in Europe, with the conclusion that light rail with an underground component within the historic city core could represent a much more sustainable approach over the medium to long-term. While very much more expensive right now, Cambridge Connect suggests that this is an investment worth making for a city of such outstanding global importance as Cambridge.

More information on the initiative can be gained from the Cambridge Connect website.

ERA staff supports European Refugee Response Project

Refugee travel times and transit routes

The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) and MapAction recently launched a project to provide an analysis of migrants in transit through the Balkan countries and the consequent humanitarian situation. The project, funded through the Start Network, was initiated in October 2015 and will run till March 2016. Scenarios, analysis briefings, maps and other visuals are published at regular intervals to inform both immediate operational and strategic decision-making related to the crisis. ERA staff member Katharina Lorenz is supporting the project in her role as a MapAction volunteer as a data visualisation analyst for a two month period. Katharina's GIS and cartography skills have made a key contribution to the project through her clear and informative graphics communicating the nature and the scale of the problem.

ERA produces maps to support fieldwork of Estelle Levin Ltd (ELL) in Liberia

Artisanal mines in the GolaMa project area

ERA was contracted by Estelle Levin Ltd to produce maps for their fieldwork conducted in the Gola region of western Liberia. The work also included the modelling of a river network from a digital elevation model using GIS tools. ELL's aim is to identify strategies for responsible artisanal mining practices in the area. This work is part of the GolaMa project, a partnership between the Government of Liberia, local forest communities and international conservation agencies. The objectives of the GolaMa project are:
 (i) establish Community Forest Management Agreements (CFMAs) and financial sustainability business plans,
 (ii) ensure forest communities are benefiting from new, sustainable, alternative income generating activities under CFMAs while contributing to forest protection,
 (iii) reduce bushmeat hunting/trading of protected species in the project area,
 (iv) establish self-regulated sustainable artisanal mining practices, and
 (v) determine the potential of carbon trading to provide sustained finance.

Liberia REDD+ Intervention Landscape Study

ERA was subcontracted by Ruth Golombok Limited in a project for the World Bank undertaken by David Rothe. The aim of the project was to identify priority areas in Liberia for REDD+ intervention. REDD+ stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The '+' in REDD+ constitutes the role of conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The analysis focused on three main areas situated in the north-west, central east and south-east of the country. The analysis applied four main criteria: value for conservation, vulnerability to forest degradation, vulnerability to deforestation and viability of intervention. ERA created spatial layers for the first three criteria. An overlay analysis was conducted using GIS methods to identify priority areas and opportunities for intervention.

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Last Update: 7 July 2016