The VolkerRailStory joint venture has taken home the Sustainability and Environmental Excellence award at the 2023 Rail Business Awards, for its work on the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade.
Acknowledging both individuals and teams, the Rail Business Awards are a national celebration of achievements across all aspects of the rail industry. The Sustainability and Environmental Excellence award recognises the most successful sustainability or environmental initiative within the UK rail industry.
The Hope Valley Railway Upgrade project, which the joint venture is delivering on behalf of Network Rail, involves the construction of new infrastructure along the Hope Valley railway line. Once complete, it will remove several bottlenecks for passenger trains travelling between Manchester and Sheffield. The project also has an ambitious five year landscaping plan to leave habitats in a measurably better state than before work started.
With much of the railway upgrade taking place within the Peak District National Park, the award win celebrates the work undertaken by the joint venture to embed environmental and social sustainability within the project, to leave long lasting, positive benefits for the local area.
Following the award win, judges commented that the joint venture had put in place a template for any project that aims to achieve challenging sustainability targets, community benefits and a positive experience for the workforce.
Simon Hughes, environment manager for the joint venture, said: “We are absolutely delighted and proud to have won the Sustainability and Environmental Excellence Award. This recognition reflects the project’s hard work and commitment to go above and beyond for the local community, minimising our construction environmental impact and delivering environmental and social enhancements in the local area.
“The project has created a positive environmental and sustainability culture, by ensuring top level management led the way to communicate our sustainability goals throughout the joint venture and engaged with the workforce to increase their knowledge on sustainability and environmental issues.
“The work our teams have undertaken proves that major sustainable infrastructure within a protected environmental landscape, like a National Park, can be achieved - not only with minimal and temporary negative effects, but also by providing a positive lasting legacy for local people and the natural environment.”
As of February 2023, the project is on track to deliver a minimum of 10% biodiversity net gain, having already planted 151 standard trees, 120m of hedgerow and 11,600 whips and scrubs.
The joint venture has also delivered over 1,700 volunteering hours, through local school engagement, charity and environmental activities, and engaged with over 1,200 students from 25 schools, through work experience weeks, career talks, and mock interview and CV workshops, to invest in the next generation of engineers.
The awards ceremony was held at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, in London, on Thursday 23 February, and marked the 25th anniversary of the awards.
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