Invest NI backs new environmental business in Coleraine

Invest Northern Ireland is backing a new Coleraine-based business launched by environmental expert Dr Mark McKinney that offers solutions for contaminated commercial and industrial land as well as pollution control and preventative systems.

ATG Services Ireland, the new company, is already successfully targeting business in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and in selected markets overseas.

Formed in September 2006, ATG Services Ireland currently sources 10 per cent of its business from customers outside Northern Ireland and expects to grow this to over 50 per cent in the short-term. It expects to have seven employees on its payroll by September 2009.

The new company is investing over £300,000 in the development of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for owners wishing to clean up ‘brownfield’ commercial and industrial sites particularly in urban centres. Invest NI is contributing around £50,000 to assist the company’s growth in areas such as marketing and IT.

Dr McKinney, who also launched Island Enterprises, a waste treatment business, headquartered in Coleraine, earlier in the year, says the new business is already offering customers expertise in three areas – land remediation consultancy, from the diagnosis to the development of bespoke and technology-led solutions, contract management and a waste brokerage.

“Our strategy is to build on our longstanding expertise in environmental technologies and to become a leading specialist supplier of high quality and cutting edge solutions in this developing niche area of land remediation.

“We want to push the boundaries by pioneering new techniques in a field that is growing steadily because of the shortage of greenfield sites to build on, particularly in urban areas. This shortage is increasingly forcing developers to address contaminated sites.

“This growing awareness of the implications of land contamination on the environment has led to a number of EU interventions that require member states to take action on land contamination. In addition, demand for remediation services has been further boosted by the major growth in property values in UK and Ireland over the last 10 years.

“As a result of this increase in property prices, developers are increasingly looking at ‘brownfield’ sites for development. The UK land remediation industry has enjoyed significant growth as a result of the above factors and has grown by 28 per cent since 2000 with an estimated value of £1,003 million in 2005.

“The contaminated land remediation industry was estimated to be worth in the region of £404 million in 2005, growing to £630 million by 2010 and £805 million by 2015. There is, therefore, a very substantial market opportunity for the type of expert services that we are developing,” he adds.

Shelley Pinkerton, of Invest NI’s Coleraine office, says: “We are supporting this ambitious small company because it is a knowledge-led business that meets all three of our economic priorities. It is entrepreneurial, innovative and has a strong international focus. The company, for instance, plans to move further into export markets and to generate over 54 per cent of sales from markets outside Northern Ireland.

“It will operate as a ‘one stop shop’ for its clients. This will include initial problem diagnosis, the development of viable and cost-effective remedial solutions followed by the actual implementation of these solutions. The core approach will aim to tie in consultancy, contract management and waste brokering, where the opportunities arise.”