UK Environmental Consulting Market StabilizesAug 7th, 2012 | By EHS Journal | Category: Popular Posts
Adapted from the Environment Analyst
After two successive years of decline, the environmental consultancy market in the United Kingdom halted its downward trend in 2011, and even secured a modest 0.7% increase, according to research undertaken by Environment Analyst.
The small but welcome growth, following contractions of 8.8% and 7.7% in 2009 and 2010 respectively, brought the value of the sector up £30 million to £1.23 billion from the previous year. While indicating a return to stability, the market’s performance in 2011 remains a far cry from the high of 2008, the culmination of two decades of unbroken growth.
Behind the Numbers
Data collected for Environment Analyst’s annual UK Environmental Consultancy Market Assessment (http://environment-analyst.com/intelligence) indicates that the industry continues to feel the pinch of government austerity measures, a sluggish domestic market, and fall-out from the Eurozone crisis. Although many practices have struggled to stabilize their businesses in the challenging conditions, others have taken the opportunity to diversify their service offerings and move away from the beleaguered domestic market towards more promising international markets.
Leading Service Areas
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) and sustainable development remains the largest discipline by value, generating £188 million. This category enjoyed a solid 13.8% increase year-on-year and thereby helped reverse the losses recorded in 2009 and 2010. The sector’s fortunes have been boosted by investment in offshore wind and infrastructure developments including High Speed 2 and the nuclear new-build program.
Contaminated land services are the second-largest area of activity for UK environmental consultancies, accounting for £180 million. This area also benefited from a robust rise in 2011 – up 11.2% on the 2010 figure.
In contrast, water quality and resource management-related work saw a 2.8% decline in value terms, generating revenue of £139 million in total. The sector remains, however, the third-largest discipline within UK environmental consultancy.
Ecological/landscape services performed strongly in the past year and, as a result, took the fourth ranking, generating £116 million in 2011. Meanwhile, climate change and energy services endured a 12.5% decline and fell to fifth place.
Slowing Job Losses
Job losses among the industry’s top 32 firms have been a sustained and prominent feature of the industry over the past three years, but the rate of reduction in the workforce during 2011 was significantly lower than in the previous two years – at around 2.1% – equivalent to some 240 posts. The reduced decline is a dramatic improvement compared with the 6-7% declines and 2,000 lost jobs over the previous two years.
Strengthened International Operations
Given the ongoing turbulence of the domestic market, those firms with an international dimension have turned to overseas work in a bid to recover lost ground. There appears to be a growing trend for deploying under-utilized UK staff to non-domestic projects, which now account for nearly 10% of UK environmental consultancy revenues of the leading practices. The international environmental consultancy businesses of the leading 32 players rose by 11.3% in 2011.
Despite the largely subdued nature of the UK environmental consulting sector, Environment Analyst is forecasting growth of 1.8% for 2012 despite ongoing uncertainties surrounding economic growth and the Eurozone crisis. While even modest growth is a welcome prospect for the industry, there are no indications that it will see a return to 2008’s high point of £1.45 billion within the next five years.
Largest UK Environmental Consultancies
In order of market share, the top 32 practices are:
1. RPS Group
8. RSK Group
15. SLR Consulting
16. Bureau Veritas
17. Capita Symonds
19. SKM Enviros
22. Mouchel Group
24. ADAS UK Ltd
29. JBA Consulting
31. WYG Environment
About Environment Analyst
Environment Analyst Ltd is a publishing and market research organization focusing on the environmental consulting and support services sector. It collects and analyzes information from the industry for the benefit of the industry. Environment Analyst’s Global Environmental Consulting Strategies and Competitor Analysis 2011 provides a strategic assessment and competitor analysis of the world’s top environmental consulting companies.
Photograph: London Eye at Night by David Hart, London, U.K.