Bob Ibell awarded BTS James Clark Medal

23 March 2021

Robert Ibell, co-founder and director of London Bridge Associates, has been awarded the British Tunnelling Society (BTS) James Clark Medal for 2021.

The medal – awarded annually to British tunnellers who make an outstanding contribution to tunnelling – is judged upon criteria that include innovation and/or responsibility for a large project. It perpetuates the memory of James Clark, who worked on many significant tunnels, and died in his early sixties.

Ibell told T&TI: “I am delighted to be awarded the James Clark Medal. I have always seen it as a thank you from the industry which recognises the contribution that one has made. It is a special award because it comes from one’s peers, friends and associates in the industry with whom you have worked, competed, teamed and of course, had the craic. It is a privilege to be joining such a select band of past winners.”

Ibell has a long history of involvement with infrastructure, especially tunnelling. Having started his career in nuclear power in 1967, he worked on other power stations and had a brief involvement with highways and coastal defence. His first foray into tunnelling was in 1976 on the UK’s Tyne and Wear Metro. Since then, he has worked on major UK tunnel projects, including the Channel Tunnel, Jubilee Line Extension and Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

In 2000, he formed – with eight other colleagues – the engineering services consultancy London Bridge Associates (LBA), which specialises in tunnels, highways, railways, metros, water, power and other infrastructure. More recently, he has been involved on Tideway (London’s ‘super sewer’) and HS2 Phase 1 (London to West Midlands).

As well as having been a past BTS chairman, Ibell’s other activities have included Chairman of Tunnelskills, Chairman of Construction Skills Network Technical Reference Group, and Chairman of the National Working Group for Tunnelling NVQs. He is also BTS champion for the Construction Management Module of the MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space course at Warwick University.

Ibell’s recent article in the March 2021 issue of Tunnels and Tunnelling International encapsulates his strong belief in the power of collaboration, teamwork and coming together as an industry to deliver infrastructure in a more economic and efficient manner.

For the full list of James Clark Medal winners, go to