Belfast Telegraph

Derry company ATG cleans up as it wins contracts worth £1m

By Clare Weir

A Co Londonderry firm which specialises in tackling oil spills and invasive species like Japanese knotweed has won £1m of work in Britain and the Republic in the last six months.

ATG Group in Coleraine has already carried out work for English housebuilder Persimmon Homes, when it used its technology to treat around 6,000 tons of Japanese knotweed-contaminated soils over four weeks.

The company said that the soils were then reused on site, saving the client around £1.2m.

ATG is also investing over £65,000 to create four new jobs over the next two years as a result of winning major contracts in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin. The projects involve brownfield site environmental clean-ups, control and eradication of invasive plant species, and waste management.

Invest NI has offered the company assistance of £28,000 towards the new jobs through the Jobs Fund, as well as £10,000 to develop its marketing activities in Britain and the Republic.

Dr Mark McKinney, ATG's managing director, said that key markets, particularly Great Britain, were beginning to recover from the downturn in the construction sector as investment in infrastructural projects gather pace.

"The company has extensive expertise and experience in a broad range of environmental and waste solutions, especially in cleaning up brownfield sites that have been invaded by plants such as Japanese knotweed as well as polluted by complex contaminants including fuel oils and heavy metals," he said.

"The encouraging new business in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland follows our success in providing environmental solutions associated with two high-profile projects in Belfast – Ravenhill rugby ground and Windsor Park football stadium."

Dr McKinney, a recognised expert in environmental and waste technologies, established the firm in 2006.

The company aims to grow business outside Northern Ireland from a current level of 11% of turnover to 30%. Earlier this year it was warned that invasive species such as Japanese knotweed could cost Northern Ireland £46.5m a year.

The weed – branded an invasive alien species by Europe – can grow to eight feet or more in a single season and is capable of causing serious structural damage to buildings.

It is an offence to plant or cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild in Northern Ireland.

The Ministry of Defence was forced to spend more than £3m decontaminating the former Fort George army base in Derry, which had been polluted with heavy oils and diesel, as well as small amounts of heavy metals.

Belfast Telegraph

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