As the Government turns its focus to green energy and the race to Net Zero, Associate Director Iain Long speaks about his career at Fisher German and one of the projects the firm is working on to help reach this goal.
I originally joined Fisher German’s infrastructure services department as a surveyor in 2014. Prior to this, I studied agriculture at Harper Adams University before going on to work for a small surveying company and studying for a post graduate degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management.
I was living with a friend who worked for Fisher German at the time and he was moving positions within the firm, enabling me to successfully apply for his former role. Having a general practice background, I didn’t know a huge amount about utilities initially, but I found that I enjoyed working on more commercial projects for large clients and was given a level of responsibility from the start with the opportunity to build a direct rapport with clients.
Over time I have worked my way up to associate director and have been at this level for around four years. Progression is something that is very important to me. I joined from a small company with no clear progression route, but at Fisher German there is a clear structure in place with real Partnership prospects. There are also a number of young professionals in management positions which further demonstrates the level of opportunities within the firm.
An interesting project that I’m currently working on is National Grid’s Yorkshire Green Energy Enablement (GREEN) project which will upgrade and reinforce the high-voltage power network so that more low-carbon energy gets to homes and businesses across the county and further afield. It’s a Development Consent Order (DCO) project which will result in 7km of new overhead lines, underground cables and one new sub-station as well as work to upgrade the existing transmission system.
The project will support the Government’s Net Zero targets and is required because the existing transmission system does not have enough capacity to connect all of the off-shore wind energy that is expected to be generated to the network over the next ten years and beyond.
We started work on the project in January this year and are supporting through the DCO process. We have completed the initial consultation and are planning the next consultation this winter. We’ve also been agreeing access for intrusive and non-intrusive surveys and will be sending out offers of terms next year. We are not expecting a decision on the DCO until 2023, and if granted works are expected to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2027.
Colleagues from across our Newark, Doncaster and Ashby offices are working on the project and as part of the wider delivery team working with National Grid and the other contractors involved. From a professional development view, its great to be building relationships with people working across the sector as part of a project of this scale. I also enjoy building strong relationships with landowners, keeping them up to date on progress so that they understand the benefits of the project in the context of the UK’s green infrastructure demands.
Utilities work is such a huge part of Fisher German and it’s a great feeling to be part of that. Managers have excellent in-depth knowledge of the market and as a result there are a lot of different training courses available which benefit the individual, the client and Fisher German as a business. As a project manager for major infrastructure schemes focusing on the Net Zero future, it is an exciting and dynamic place to be!