HS2 accredited green by British Standards Institute

HS2 has an extensive carbon management programme in place, and now it has been recognised with a globally recognised accreditation. The builders behind Britain’s new high-speed railway have been awarded the PAS 2080 global accreditation, recognising its extensive plans to reduce carbon through its design, construction and operations, including design innovations and carbon emission reduction initiatives.

HS2 has become the business in the UK transport sector to achieve the PAS 2080 global carbon management standard. It is only the second transport sector client in the world to achieve the mark. The award, defining a global specification for managing whole-life carbon in infrastructure, was developed by the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board, in collaboration with the British Standards Institute (BSI).

Supply chain encouraged to go green

PAS 2080 demands a consistent framework for evaluating and managing carbon across the whole infrastructure value chain. The standard recognises organisations that have strategies in place to reduce carbon and develop more collaborative ways of working to promote innovation, delivering benefit to society and communities, and making an important contribution to tackling climate change. HS2, for their part, has set a fifty per cent carbon reduction target on assets such as tunnels, viaducts and cuttings, along with stations and railway system. A key part of the strategy is a proactive approach to encouraging the supply chain to innovate to reduce carbon.

Less carbon by rail. HS2 will require up to 15,000 bulk freight train movements, as construction gets underway in earnest. A factor in its recent standards award (photo: Terry Kearney)

The UK government minister responsible for HS2, Andrew Stephenson expressed his delight at the accreditation. “It is a clear recognition of the pioneering innovation taking place right across the project to minimise emissions and use greener methods where possible,” he said. “By offering a low-carbon alternative to road and air travel, HS2 will play a key role in driving forward the UK’s green economic recovery and our transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

A positive legacy

Peter Miller, the environment director at HS2 said he was also extremely pleased to achieve this global standard, which he believed recognises HS2’s effective plan to deliver carbon savings right across the project. “The accreditation demonstrates that HS2’s robust carbon reduction systems are aligned with international best practice, and the project has the right capabilities to effectively minimise carbon emissions.”

HS2 will release capacity for freight, says the company, although freight will have to compete for paths (HS2)

Although HS2 is exclusively a passenger rail project, the company says it will release capacity on the existing network, which the rail freight industry hopes to exploit for greener logistics, taking freight off the UK roads. Miller at HS2 supports that agenda. “HS2 is playing a crucial role in supporting the UK’s green economic recovery and ensuring the UK is on track to achieve its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050”, he said. “By leading the way in delivering more sustainable solutions through design, construction and operation, HS2 will leave a positive green legacy for generations to come.”

Old Oak, less new steel

By applying PAS 2080 during design, construction and operation, HS2 say that it will cut emissions, minimise resource consumption and use low carbon alternatives wherever possible, reducing the project’s carbon footprint. They cite examples at the massive Old Oak Common station project in the west of London. Designers have achieved a twenty-seven per cent reduction in the structural steel required to build the roof of the station, by modifying the original design.

The company fulfilled the accreditation specification by adopting everything from the UK’s first electric, zero emission forklift, to committing to around 15,000 freight trains, set to move 10 million tonnes of aggregate for HS2 over next ten years.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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