Barnsley firm’s lifeline for remote Scottish communities

Phil Richardson, Director of Innovative Support Systems, in front of the RamArch produced by the company. Picture: Enterprising Barnsley
Phil Richardson, Director of Innovative Support Systems, in front of the RamArch produced by the company. Picture: Enterprising Barnsley

A specialist South Yorkshire manufacturer is helping thousands of long-suffering residents in a remote part of Scotland to get a secure supply of mains electricity.

Innovative Support Systems (ISS), which makes structural supports for tunnels and embankments, has helped contractors create bridges across two huge ravines in the remote Scottish peninsular of Kintyre.

Their contribution has allowed for builders to get heavy vehicles and equipment across to build a new power line to supply electricity to communities, which are often cut off for days when power lines come down in extreme weather.

The scheme is part of a wider £200m project by Scottish and Southern Energy and also allows for more windfarms in the remote region to feed power back into the National Grid.

The project is expected to be completed by October this year.

Phil Richardson, director at ISS, said: “It’s great to be able to help sort out a really tricky problem like this and it’s pleasing to think that we are helping to bring a secure supply of electricity to people living in isolated areas and help bring power back from windfarms in the other direction.“

ISS, which is based in Mapplewell, Barnsley, built two 80 metre wide bridges across ravines in just ten weeks so that building equipment weighing 132 tonnes could be transported across.

The bridges were built using ISS’ unique RamWall system - a series of mesh boxes that can be assembled on site and filled with material recycled at the location.

As well as supplying the steel mesh, the company trained contractors to build the finished product.

Phil added: “It shows what a versatile product RamWall is and how easy it is to use.”

As well as RamWall, ISS makes RamArch, which holds up tunnels.

The products have been used everywhere from sea defences in north Wales and a canal embankment in Shropshire to tunnels in the London Underground.

The firm is being given free business support by the council-run Enterprising Barnsley.

Business experts have been giving company bosses advice on everything from marketing strategies and human resources to health and safety matters.

The results are paying off as turnover at the firm has grown every year since it was set up in 2010, doubling in the last 12 months alone.

Phil said: “The support of Enterprising Barnsley has been fantastic.

“They have helped us move into new markets and grow the company.

“And with more infrastructure projects coming on line, such as in the rail industry, the future is looking good.”

Enterprising Barnsley offers a wide range of free business support to small and medium-sized businesses with growth potential.

The programme is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £3,015,276 investment from the European Regional Development Fund.

The cash windfall is part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

For more information about the Enterprising Barnsley scheme visit www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk

Alternatively, contact Mark Storey at MarkStorey@barnsley.gov.uk or ring 01226 772 996 for one-to-one advice on funding streams available to businesses locally.