Blog: Sustainability SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - HS2 area south enabling works

17 June 2020

sponsored by Mulalley

Sustainability SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - HS2 area south enabling works (submitted by Costain Skanska Joint Venture)

The HS2 Area South Enabling Works Contract (EWC) is a unique set of circumstances and a once in a generation multi-disciplinary programme of works. 

In terms of Environmental Management, the EWC is distinctive due to the specific HS2 Act which underpins the planning regime. It is the HS2 Environmental Statement which sets out the baseline and predicted impacts Costain Skanska JV (CSJV) must adhere to and the supporting HS2 Environmental Minimum Requirements (EMRs) detailing the minimum construction standards and stakeholder commitments applicable to CSJV works. Along with all the environmental risks and sensitivities associated with the project, there is also an abundance of opportunities to realise and some great environmental management learning to share with the environmental community and wider construction industry.

The sheer scale of HS2's environmental requirements, number of stakeholders, volume of work, delivery timescales and size of supply chain makes this a challenging project. They have had to integrate exemplar environmental management into 100 project/work packages with over 150 sub-contractor organisations delivering across 20+ sites. This required the team to design a bespoke 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) which directly addresses the HS2 Scheme. Along with a robust EMS, the foundation of success has been to build a strong culture in terms of environmental responsibility.

The project scope covers a wide range of activities across a geographical area spanning 26.8 km, 7 London Boroughs (both in urban and rural environment setting), engaging with circa 20 environmental statutory and non-statutory bodies along with multiple community groups. Due to this, they have had to demonstrate high levels of transparency to stakeholders in the following topics: 

  • how they manage all significant environmental aspects and impacts
  • achieve a high level of environmental performance
  • communicate environmental information to interested parties
  • detail how environmental performance will be monitored and reviewed
  • how continual improvement in environment and sustainability will be achieved

They have had to go beyond the standard practice in environmental management. The table below highlights a selection of external recognitions and achievements:

1 x Silver Green Apple Award
1 x Bronze Green Apple Award
BREEAM Infrastructure (Pilot) scheme “Excellent” Rating – 87%
99% - Compliance with HDV EU Emission standard VI (3000 vehicles)
More stringent than the TFL requirement
Carbon in Infrastructure -
PAS2080 Certified for Scheme Design on Road/Rail Bridge – one of the first Tier 1 contractors in UK  
Site Environmental Assessment Training (SEATs) – 72% (300) x applicable staff completed
280 x Environmental Consents (discharged)
99% - Compliance with Non-Road Mobile Machinery EU Emission standard IIIB
More stringent than the GLA requirement
 97% - Waste (388,000t) Diverted from landfill
45+ Sustainability Opportunity Workshops
300 x Environmental Assurances (discharged)
22 x Environmental Best Practices produced and shared

Some key strategies in more detail

CSjv has used the principles of PAS 2080: 2016 Carbon Management in Infrastructure when developing both teams and methodologies for design and construction. This involves collaboration between the design and construction teams from concept design through to detailed design. CSjv has developed an in-house mechanism called the 'Environment & Sustainability Opportunities Matrix.' The matrix gives visibility across the entire lifecycle of an opportunity, from concept to feasibility through to implementation. Actions and outcomes are documented and updated at scheduled and ad hoc intervals.

The implementation of PAS 2080: 2016 Carbon Management in Infrastructure has led CSjv to be able to integrate carbon management into all areas of programme operation, from logistics to site operations. This has resulted in various initiatives and innovations in collaboration with the client and across the supply chain that has led to carbon reductions (1300t CO2e during 2019).

A detailed biosecurity plan was implemented from the outset of the works in order to prevent accidental transfer of Japanese knotweed present on site. Strong collaboration, planning and communication between a multi-disciplinary team and handpicking and segregation of rhizomes by specialist ecologists ensured the successful removal of this invasive species, reduced spoil sent to landfill (372.56t) by 8984.3t (96%), reduced road-based vehicle movements favouring less carbon-intensive rail freight (saving of 61tCO2e) for the ‘new’ non-hazardous material, and reduced waste associated costs by more than £1,500,000.


  • Air Quality - successfully adopted emission standards for site machinery and HGVs that are more stringent and on a larger scale than any other construction project in the UK.
  • Materials – Production of >190,000t of crushed engineering material saving more than 360tCO2e.
  • Engagement –  With over 300 Environmental Consents and 1000 Assurances this has required detailed engagement with the following: 20 + Environmental Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies, 7 London Boroughs, multiple community groups, 500 internal staff members, and 150+ Supply Chain members.

About the Sustainability Award: 

High environmental and climate performance in construction aims to meet present day needs for housing, working environments and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in times to come. It seeks to limit impact on the natural environment and demonstrate whole life sustainability. It is most effective when organisational culture, high design quality, technical innovation and transferability are abundant.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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