S. Walsh & Sons Ltd.

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from S. Walsh & Sons Ltd. is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Westley Mercer, commercial
Fit for the task: A new
fleet of Volvo FMX
Despite continued Brexit-related uncertainty and industry
statistics showing a decline in construction output,
business for SWalsh & Sons as a leading construction
haulage specialist has never been better. Commercial director
Westley Mercer discusses both the opportunities and challenges
of the current climate within the construction industry and the
continued success of SWalsh.
Casting an eye around the London skyline, no matter where you are in the city,
you’ll see cranes in every direction – a clear sign that London’s undergoing a
radical transformation. The government has identified a number of opportunity
areas for large-scale development and work is well underway on some significant
projects including HS2, Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea and Tideway, all of which are
generating unprecedented amounts of construction activity for the capital. Beyond
London, other metropolitan areas such as Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and
Edinburgh are also the focus for serious regeneration.
Our latest partnership project is with Tideway, the organisation delivering the
Thames Tideway Tunnel – a 25-km tunnel to help tackle discharge of untreated
sewage into the River Thames. Working with Tideway and the Port of Tilbury,
we are providing delivery services and excavated waste removal by river for the
duration of the eight-year project. Tideway wants to provide an environment for its
supply chain to operate safely, achieve success and demonstrate a transformational
legacy in safe logistics operations. We take great pride in being one of the best-fit
companies that can deliver to Tideway’s requirements.
Our river freight operation is helping Tideway to remove 360,000 lorry movements
from London’s roads. In conjunction with Tideway, we are investing in a fleet
»Commercial director: Westley
»Established in 1972
»Based in Brentwood, Essex
»Services: A diverse range,
including earthmoving
and excavation, haulage,
aggregates, marine and rail
management, and more
»No. of employees: 175
S Walsh & Sons
Highlighting best practice
of 15 urban safety vehicles. These
vehicles are specifically designed for
urban roads, best-in-class for driver
vision, have enhanced safety features
and low-entry cabs, and operate the
cleanest Euro VI engines.
As a major project partner for some of
the UK’s largest construction projects,
our vision to be the most innovative,
diverse and professional construction
contractor is helping to pave the
way for our continued success and
development in industry best practices.
About SWalsh & Sons
Although 2018 is set to be a
challenging year for the construction
sector, in January SWalsh announced
it was being purchased by GRS Group,
Britain’s leading trader, transporter and
handler of construction aggregates
and waste materials. This purchase
has formed part of our vision to take
SWalsh & Sons to the next phase
in its development. It will continue
to operate as a standalone business
but will benefit from access to GRS’
national network of supply partners
and facilities for constructionwaste.
Originally established in 1972 by Sean
Walsh, who began trading as a small
earthworks company supplying plant
and labour for local projects in Essex
and east London, SWalsh & Sons
has since developed a long trading
history with many of the world’s
largest contractors. The first major
contract secured for W&C French
(now Kier) led to the company gaining
a national reputation for successful
delivery of key projects throughout
the following decades. Project size
and value increased exponentially and
we continue to support the industry
through an integrated, customer-
centred approach. Today we are
one of London’s most successful
and diverse companies serving the
construction, quarrying and waste
sectors and are proud to have been
employed for many of London’s major
We have built on the strength of our
history and reputation and today our
mission is to provide integrated and
sustainable construction solutions.To
this end over the past decade we have
diversified our offering to provide
solutions in marine, rail, logistics,
environmental management and more.
In conjunction with GRS, we expect to
handle around twenty million tonnes of
aggregate, earth and waste each year.
With pressure to deliver on key
construction projects at an all-time
high, factors such as evolving safety
and environmental regulations have an
Thames River freight
operations at Battersea
Our river
operation is
Tideway to
360,000 lorry
from London’s
»Fleet of 120 HGVs, 5 tugs, 15
»3,000,000 tonnes of waste
moved per annum
»Circa 600,000 tonnes of waste
moved by river annually
»Chartered Institution of Wastes
»Road Haulage Association
»Fleet Operator Recognition
Scheme Gold
»Construction Logistics and
Community Safety Champion
»Contractors Health and Safety
assessment scheme
»Railway Industry Supplier
Qualification Scheme
»Achilles UVDB
impact on how we operate. In London
alone 35 per cent of HGV traffic is
generated by the construction industry,
equating to over half a million miles
Air quality and the safety of vulnerable
road users is high on the political
agenda. To that end we look to
continually diversify our operation to
ensure we lead the way and remain at
the forefront of reducing the impact of
our operation.
Two key London governmental
initiatives are prominent in our minds
currently: London’s Ultra-Low Emission
Zone and the Mayor’s Direct Vision
Standard for HGVs, both of which
will fundamentally change the way
the construction sector operates on
the capital’s roads. To date, however,
neither of these initiatives has delivered
a simple solution for industry. SWalsh
strive for innovation, but often
are faced with conflicting views in
government policy that affect progress
in achieving sustainable construction
logistics operations.
To support the goals of our business
and in order to reduce the impact of
construction activity on the roads and
local communities, we need improved
co-ordination between the Department
for Transport, the Environment Agency,
the Health and Safety Executive, and
the Ministry of Housing, Communities
and Local Government. Each deal with
issues in isolation, without considering
the impact on other areas. As an
example, the Environment Agency’s
waste permit criteria for landfill sites
can mean logistics companies need
to operate vehicles with off-road
capability. These vehicles, however, are
not designed to operate on densely
populated urban streets and are
significantly over-represented in fatal
collisions with vulnerable road users,
such as cyclists and pedestrians.
We have invested heavily in the
newest fleet available and are working
collaboratively with clients on major
projects to introduce high-vision
lorries.The company is also lobbying to
ensure railheads and wharves can be
actively used to help reduce pollution
on London’s streets. Utilising the
River Thames and rail infrastructure
effectively will make a significant impact
in reducing the number of lorries on
the road. SWalsh, however, have
found it difficult to introduce this over
the last three years due to the refusal
of environmental permits which allow
this activity to take place. Ironically the
refusal is due to air quality.
SWalsh aim to always improve industry
standards and strive to overcome any
boundaries. Construction logistics
plans are increasingly important in the
delivery of building and infrastructure
projects and offer a co-ordinated
opportunity to reduce congestion,
environmental impact and road risk,
while improving operational efficiency.
We partner with local authorities,
property developers, construction
contractors and specialist suppliers to
help achieve this.
We believe a forward-looking,
joined-up approach – with all parties
involved – will ultimately ensure a
successful future for the construction
We look to
diversify our
operation to
ensure we lead
the way and
remain at the
forefront of
reducing the
impact of our
Mercedes Econic:
designed for safe urban


This article was sponsored by S. Walsh & Sons Ltd.. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.