New wharf project achieves first CEEQUAL Award in Antarctica

The new wharf at the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station.

A new 74-metre wharf at British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station has achieved the first CEEQUAL award in Antarctica, gaining the highest rating available of ‘Excellent’. The wharf was completed in April 2020 to berth the new polar vessel for Great Britain, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

As a world leader in climate, biodiversity and ocean research in the Polar regions, BAS is keenly aware of its role in protecting the natural world. The new wharf for BAS was completed by a unique industry partnership comprising BAS, Ramboll, BAM and Sweco. The team undertook a sustainability assessment using CEEQUAL Version 5, an international sustainability rating system operated by BRE.

CEEQUAL aims to influence the design, build and sustainability process of infrastructure projects to maximise their sustainability outcomes. The new wharf project is the first time CEEQUAL has been achieved in Antarctica, receiving a score of 81.3%. The measures that enabled the project to score highly included a change in the wharf design to reduce the need for milling of the seabed to protect benthic habitats, as well as the project’s strict biosecurity practices to prevent the introduction and spread of non-native species in Antarctica. 

The assessment rewards project teams where there is clear collaboration between the client, designer and contractor to ensure that the team has effectively considered sustainable design from the start, going above and beyond the minimum environmental and social requirements. 

David Seaton, head of construction at BAS said: “We’re delighted to achieve an Excellent CEEQUAL rating for our new wharf at Rothera Research Station. By working in such a remote location, we’re aware of Antarctica’s uniqueness and this CEEQUAL award demonstrates our commitment to minimise our impact on the environment.”

Emma Jones, Ramboll Environment and Health, senior managing consultant said: “The team is incredibly proud of this achievement. To be awarded an Excellent rating in such a challenging environment is a great feat and is testament to the hard work of all those involved.” 

Phil Edwards from BRE who administers the CEEQUAL scheme said: “CEEQUAL is part of the BREEAM family of schemes within BRE Global. CEEQUAL has over 800 projects registered globally with a combined £57bn construction value. We are delighted to celebrate the Rothera Wharf project team’s collaboration and hard work to deliver, and score so highly, on the wide range of CEEQUAL sustainability criteria in such a sensitive environment. Congratulations to you all.”

The Rothera Wharf project is part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme commissioned by UKRI-NERC, helping to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of polar science. The new wharf will be used by the RRS Sir David Attenborough later this year when she arrives in Antarctica for the first time as part of her maiden voyage. 

Click here to watch the video of the team behind the Rothera Wharf completion.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email