Leading global infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has secured a £52m early environment works contract on behalf of HS2, the planned high-speed railway system in the UK.
It will be consequently delivering environmental works along the route from West Midlands to Crewe.
Balfour Beatty received the contract through the SCAPE Civil Engineering framework, to which it was appointed in 2018 as sole contractor.
Part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Balfour Beatty’s contract includes creating a number of new environmental habitats along the 64-km section of the railway line, which features both woodland and wetlands.
Moreover, Balfour Beatty is expected to plant thousands of trees equivalent to an area covering 86 football pitches, over 18 miles of new hedge rows, and grassland meadows equivalent to covering 140 football pitches that will provide suitable habitat to wildflowers and insects.
Following Building New Futures, its sustainability strategy launched in 2020, Balfour Beatty’s latest contract supports its targets of surpassing net zero and positively affecting over one million people by 2040.
The contract has been awarded after Royal Assent was given to HS2 in February 2021 for the latest 36-mile section of the high-speed railway. This will begin with the unveiling of HS2’s first section, which promises to provide seamless low-carbon high-speed services between Crewe, West Midlands and London, while also linking to the mainline for direct services northwards.
Balfour Beatty UK Construction Services business CEO Mark Bullock said: “Balfour Beatty’s contract with HS2 builds on our “Building New Futures” strategy through which we’re committed to leaving a lasting positive legacy for the communities in which we operate.
“Our work on the route between Crewe and the West Midlands will build a better, greener future for everyone - through our ongoing and essential work to protect the environment, and our continued focus on providing employment opportunities for local businesses and people.”
HS2 Phase 2a delivery director Colette Carroll said: “We said that we wanted to bring the benefits of HS2 to the north earlier than originally planned, and this early environmental works contract with Balfour Beatty on the new route to Crewe will put that promise into action.
“Creating new wildlife habitat and compensating for areas that will be unavoidably affected by the new railway is a crucial early stage in building HS2. And we have an ambition to go further by seeing how we might help environments to support a greater range of flora and fauna than was there before the line.”
SCAPE group chief executive Mark Robinson said: “Ensuring construction projects create a sustainable, positive legacy has never been more important, as the UK takes strides towards its net zero target. Both SCAPE and Balfour Beatty are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment through best practice and creating these new habitats will help to improve biodiversity, strengthen our ecosystems and protect local wildlife.”
With completion scheduled in Spring 2023, Early works have already started.
Balfour Beatty is expected to plant thousands of trees equivalent to an area covering 86 football pitches, over 18 miles of new hedge rows, and grassland meadows equivalent to covering 140 football pitches that will provide suitable habitat to wildflowers and insects. Credit: Felix/Unsplash.