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Sustainability: And You

What's your view?

What does sustainability mean to you? Let us know at Or email

This survey is being produced in association with Halcrow. See the back page for more information on the company, or visit

Claire Corcoran
Ports and terminals

Assistant engineer Claire Corcoran joined Halcrow in September 2006, and is currently working towards her ICE professional review in the company's Glasgow office.

"I work on maritime projects, so my idea of what sustainability is, is how we look at projects as we're designing them in terms of their environmental impact – not just now but in the coming years," she explains.

"We have to balance the needs of the project now and what might be needed a few years down the line in terms of materials, use of the structure etc. If you're designing a new port you've got to consider the future – for example if they are likely to be using larger vessels in future."

Corcoran says that when she graduated five years ago there was not the same focus on sustainability that there is now. "It's coming to the forefront now, so it's something I'm building an awareness of. As my career develops it will be something that's more taken into account. If you look at things like health and safety and environmental regulations, they've built up over the years to the point where they just become a regular part of the job. It will be the same with sustainability."

Much of Corcoran's work involves feasibility studies for new maritime facilities, and it is at this early stage, she says, that sustainability issues are best considered. "At the feasibility and initial concept stages you get to look at the long term issues and build sustainability into a project. Once you get to the detailed stage it's a bit too late."

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