Breaking New Ground, Building Legacy

The enabling works central (EWC) contract operated by Fusion on behalf of HS2 is preparing ground for a wider mission than purely to facilitate their counterparts in main works, explains Eugene Day, the Environmental and Sustainability Manager at the joint venture. He believes the ecological message is gaining traction, and that positive behaviours are being encouraged.

The EWC contract – staffed by colleagues from BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Morgan Sindall –  is the largest environmental project in UK history. Its team are delivering a host of measures to enhance and protect plant, animal and bird life across over 100km of land between Birmingham and London.

Day says: “It is important to remember we are here to build a legacy for future generations. We are the first generation to have visibility of the damage we have done to the environment as well as the chance to do something about it.  Through the nature of our current contracts with HS2, Fusion will not be remembered for building tunnels, bridges and viaducts but more for the landscapes and habitats we create for both wildlife and people.”

Fusion is in the vanguard of environmental and ecological practice: it was the first HS2 contractor to achieve the PAS2080 (Carbon Management in Infrastructure) standard, and can point to several groundbreaking achievements. These include its departure from using plastic tree planting guards towards cardboard ones made of corrugate and card pulp, and secured by eucalyptus poles – both fully decompose and leave no waste, as pictured above.

The joint venture is also championing bioremediation spill kits – which use microbes (bacteria) to clean soil, water and other materials that have been contaminated by hydrocarbons like oil. These kits can deliver economic as well as environmental benefits traditional methods cannot.

Day continues: “It is clear that Fusion colleagues, for example, in commercial and engineering, are taking more notice of the importance of environmental issues and will take this learning into – -future roles. With changed mindsets, we can all make changes in our professional and personal behaviour.

“’Meat-Free Mondays,’ for example, has become a global movement, as the impact of eating less meat – that vegans’ environmental footprint is 50% smaller than meateaters’ –  became better known.  This is an example of how small changes can make a major combined contribution. To build an enduring environmental legacy, we need new adopters making changes that will make a difference to the condition of the environment we leave for the next generation.”