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ESS 2023 – That’s a Wrap

The Environmental Services & Solutions Expo (ESS), NEC Birmingham came to a close on 14th September 2023, with The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) having acted as ‘Show Partners’, indicating their significant involvement in the event.

The newly restructured show brought together four distinct expos under one roof:

  1. Contamination & Land Remediation
  2. Flood & Water Management
  3. Recycling & Waste Management
  4. Energy, Fuels & Decarbonisation

This restructuring allowed attendees to explore a wide range of topics related to sustainability, contamination remediation, water management, recycling, waste management, and decarbonisation efforts.

The event featured engaging presentations and panel discussions led by industry experts and thought leaders. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about ground breaking innovations, state-of-the-art products, and valuable insights, all aimed at driving innovation and sustainable solutions in their respective fields.

Notable highlights from the expo included presentations by experts like Sean Fitzgerald, Geologist and Asbestos Expert, and Yvonne Waterman of The European Asbestos Forum. They discussed "The New Asbestos Challenge," focusing on asbestos-related issues and research.

Sean Fitzgerald's work has covered various aspects of asbestos, from asbestos fibres to its presence in various products. He has presented his work to the EIA, ASTM, AIHA, GSA, AEG, ISO, National Press Club, European Asbestos Forum (EAF), the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Landmark research by Fitzgerald has unveiled the presence of asbestos, respirable silica, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury in children’s toys, crayons, and cosmetics.

Another speaker at the event was Jonathan Atkinson, Technical Director of CL:AIRE, who addressed the audience with ‘Soil Matters – What Is CL:AIRE Doing?’ After 34 years in the Environment Agency, Jonathan has recently moved to work with CL:AIRE, an industry leading organisation dealing with best practice guidance and frameworks for positive materials management on sustainable development sites, enabling land contamination issues to be dealt with comprehensively.

Both sessions allowed for open questions and interaction with the experts, providing attendees with a deeper understanding of the topics discussed.

Highlights from the organisers include:

  • Record Attendance: CLR Expo 2023 hosted 2,014 attendees, the first time the show has broken the 2k barrier!
  • Industry Growth: Visitors from key sectors saw significant increases:
    • Construction/Developer/Civil or Structural Engineering: Up 18% YoY
    • Environmental Consultants: Increased by 16% YoY.
    • Hazardous Material Treatment/Removal: A remarkable 48% YoY increase
  • High Buying Power: 89% of attendees had substantial buying power, a 6% YoY increase.
  • A Buying Audience: 75% of visitors attended to research the latest products.
  • Lead Generation: Exhibitors averaged 44 leads each, with one achieving a record 155.
  • Theatre Popularity: Theatre attendance rose by 26% YoY.
  • Exhibitor Onsite Rebook: An astounding 302% YoY growth in onsite rebooking illustrating the success of the show amongst exhibitors.
  • Prominent Attendees: Industry giants like AXA IM, McLaren, Bellway, Winvic, Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Buckingham Group Contracting, Milestone Infrastructure, VINCI Construction, Keltbray Group, MWH, ARUP, Mott MacDonald, Arcadis, AECOM, Atkins, WSP, Pick Everard, Jackson Civil Engineering, RSK Group, Adler & Allan, Environment Agency, ERM, Ramboll, and Stantec plus more were all in attendance.

UKATA representatives used the expo as an opportunity to share information about asbestos training courses available nationally and globally. Many attendees enquired about UKATA membership, highlighting the association's importance in the industry.

One significant aspect of the event was the display of a specially commissioned painting honouring Mavis and Ray Nye's contributions to the asbestos industry. Mavis Nye, a "Meso Warrior," was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, in 2009, despite not having worked with asbestos herself. Her exposure came from washing her husband's work clothes. The painting symbolised the industry's appreciation for their efforts in raising awareness about asbestos-related diseases. Mavis now enters the final stages of this illness, at home with her husband, no longer able to attend the show she has always held in high regard, having previously addressed delegates in the past.

As the ESS Expo concluded, the painting was entrusted to Robin Bennett of Start Software.

In retrospect, UKATA's Marketing & Events Manager, Victoria Castelluccio, expressed gratitude to the show organisers for their long-standing partnership with UKATA:

“Our stand position beside the Contamination & Land Remediation Theatre was perfect for listening into the sessions and meeting delegates as they left the seminars. We saw some new faces at the show, and sadly as mentioned earlier, some of the regular faces were not in attendance. On behalf of UKATA I wish to thank the show organisers for inviting us to attend over the years, allowing us the opportunity to evolve with the expo”.

The Environmental Services & Solutions Expo is set to return in 2024, scheduled for September 11-12, once again at NEC Birmingham.

UKATA, a leading association, is dedicated to enhancing the quality and standards of asbestos training with the aim to shield workers and the public from the hazards of asbestos exposure.

The association collaborates closely with its members to guarantee that they have access to the latest information, training resources, and industry updates. They provide a suite of support services to assist them in accomplishing their training objectives. Their membership encompasses a diverse array of organisations involved in asbestos training, including training providers, asbestos removal contractors, consultants, and equipment suppliers.

UKATA is fervent about promoting safe and responsible working practices, committed to working with members and partners to realise a shared vision of protecting workers and the public from the hazards linked with asbestos exposure.

Published on Wednesday 20th September 2023