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News releases 2013

Atkins has won an important new commission to develop guidance for eco-low carbon (ELC) urban planning in China. Funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Prosperity Fund and led by Atkins’ sustainable planning team in Beijing, the project involves working with both national government agencies and city governments and is aimed at providing a key, high profile reference point for ELC urban planning in China. The Prosperity Fund brings together Chinese and British experts to develop low carbon policies, practices and regulations, with a growing focus on sustainable urbanisation.

China’s emerging ELC urbanisation initiative forms a key component of the Government’s 12th Five Year Plan, which places strong emphasis on energy and resource efficiency, reducing GHG emissions and environmental protection. However, there is a lack of knowledge and experience in ELC urban planning approaches and methodologies within local government. This project is aimed at addressing that gap.

Mark Hewlett, Atkins’ project manager, said: “The project, which is closely aligned with Atkins’ Future Proofing Cities initiative, will provide a clear, practical methodology for ELC urban planning which sets out approaches, methods, tools and techniques tailored for Chinese local government planning based on international best practice.”

Supported by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, which has responsibility for green building and urban planning administration, the project team will work closely with two selected city governments to develop, test and apply the ELC guidance. The project outputs will be strongly focused on hands-on use as an everyday working tool in a practical, ‘on the ground’ urban planning setting.

Atkins has very strong expertise in urban planning in China with more than 15 years experience via more than 800 projects working with local governments and developers in most major and many smaller cities across the country. Our ELC urban planning work integrates our planning expertise with the company’s strengths in infrastructure engineering and building design. For this project Atkins will draw on its extensive experience in ELC urban planning and design in China as well as similar work around the globe, including Meixi Lake Eco-city in Changsha, Hunan and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.


For more information:

Christina Zhuang
Communications manager, Asia Pacific

Jane Sheils
Group PR manager 
+852 2972 1558
+44 1372 752350 

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Notes to editors:

About Atkins

Atkins ( is one of the world's leading design, engineering and project management consultancies*, employing some 17,700 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. Over 75 years, from post-war regeneration and the advent of nuclear engineering to high speed rail and the integrated sustainable cities of the future, our people’s breadth and depth of expertise and drive to ask why has allowed us to plan, design and enable some of the world’s most complex projects.

*14th largest global design firm (Engineering News-Record 2012) and the third largest multidisciplinary consultancy in Europe (Svensk Teknik och Design 2012).

Future Proofing Cities Report

Atkins partnered with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and University College London (UCL) to publish a report called Future Proofing Cities, which assesses the risks to 129 cities - from mega cities like Bangkok to smaller cities such as Zaria in Africa. It looks at their risk profile from climate hazards, resource scarcities, and damage to ecosystems and urges action now to future proof against these risks.

This report provides a fresh approach to the urgent issues arising from rapid urbanisation. It assesses the environmental risks facing cities in an integrated way and identifies more than 100 practical policy options that are most relevant and will be of most benefit to the different types of cities.

Recent projects

Atkins is working across urban regeneration, masterplanning, national energy programmes, major transport schemes, water and environment projects - applying smart design solutions on projects including:

  • Doha Central Planning Office - helping to co-ordinate Qatar’s National 2030 Vision for world class transport infrastructure, which will bring major benefits to the economy;
  • The London 2012 Games infrastructure transformation - as technical advisor to London’s boroughs as the Olympic Park moves into its legacy configuration as a follow-on role to our work as the Games’ official engineering and design provider;
  • UAE’s peaceful nuclear new build programme - providing technical assurance to lenders backing the United Arab Emirates’ most ambitious energy infrastructure projects;
  • North Sea and Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms - extending the operational life of critical oil and gas platforms to allow cost-efficient and safe recovery of fuel sources from mature fields;
  • SSE offshore wind alliance - provision of expert engineering and design support for the UK’s biggest offshore wind alliance with Scottish and Southern Energy;
  • Crossrail - designing the Central London twin tunnels and station architecture for Europe’s biggest civil engineering scheme which will see tunnels passing beneath 470 listed buildings and critical infrastructure;
  • Etihad Railway - providing multidisciplinary design expertise on the 1,200 km Etihad Rail network which will revolutionise passenger and freight transport in the UAE;
  • Denmark ERTMS - providing multidisiplinary signalling expertise on the first countrywide installation of an ERTMS train control and management system in Denmark;
  • Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge - lead consultant on this integral part of the new Hong Kong link road scheme which will significantly boost land connectivity in the region;
  • Lowestoft Sixth Form College - design of the ultralow energy consumption Lowestoft College in the UK which aims to reduce operational energy use by more than 60% compared to previous designs;
  • UK National Composites Centre - providing technical expertise to bring the latest lightweight carbon fibre materials to all engineering sectors, helping to develop innovative applications and reduce costs and carbon;
  • US Environmental Protection Agency - providing technical assessment and analysis of national water-related resources and ecological systems in North America.