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Building life-cycle thinking into rail

How to embed life-cycle sustainability in the way the railway is designed and built.

Company - HS2 Limited

How was this solved?

The ambition of the team at HS2 Ltd is to build the most sustainable high speed railway of its kind in the world. The vision is for a railway with sustainability embedded in design, construction and operation; one that protects and enhances the environment and prioritises the needs of the people who will build, host and use the railway.

Five key sustainability themes for the project have emerged:

  • Spreading the benefits: Economic growth and community regeneration
  • Opportunities for all: Skills for employment and education
  • Safe at heart: Health, safety and wellbeing
  • Respecting our surroundings: Environmental protection and management
  • Standing the test of time: Design that is future-proof

HS2 Ltd.’s Sustainability Approach places sustainability alongside innovation and collaboration as three key methods of delivery for the project.

The procurement process is critical but HS2 Ltd has set clear and ambitious requirements relating to all five sustainability themes. They will be expecting the supply chain to provide innovation, presenting new ideas from projects within and outside the rail industry. This plays to the strengths of leading constructors who in turn provide opportunities for smaller businesses within their own supply chains.

The project has faced some challenges in route setting, with issues such as existing buildings and infrastructure, archaeological interest and ancient woodlands. However, impacts have been reduced where possible with additional tunnelling near the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and measures to reduce noise impacts during construction and operation. Not all impacts can be avoided, so expertise within the organisation and the supply chain on good stakeholder management processes is vital.

HS2 is taking on learnings from Crossrail and other projects and sharing knowledge such as on the use of BREEAM assessment methodologies for Infrastructure and Buildings.

The organisation also has developed an operations directorate, acting as a proxy Train Operating Company and Infrastructure Manager, ensuring the future customer experience and operational impacts are considered in every key decision.

The setup provides for community development opportunities through strong social inclusion, economic growth and thinking way into the future.

What were the outcomes?

Expected outcomes include:

  • 25,000 private sector jobs through construction
  • 100,000 jobs created as a result of the growth around HS2 stations
  • 800 lorries removed from roads every day
  • 300,000 passengers carried per day
  • 120 years of lifespan designed in
  • 2 million trees planted along the Phase One route.

Principles

Being an employer of choice, Reducing our environmental impact, Carbon smart, Having a positive social impact, Supporting the economy, Optimising the railway.

Asset / operations

Asset

Organisation type

Infrastructure

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