As Fusion’s works at Doddershall near Quaintain approaches the halfway stage, the organisation is looking back to the initial input from its Community Engagement team, whose work over several months helped calm local concerns..

The Doddershall Grassland Translocation works involves moving approximately 62,000 square metres of soil, to make way for a haul road that will be used by main works contractors. However, with many in the local communities being more familiar with heavy civil engineering works and less aware of the environmentally friendly aspects of HS2, its team’s presence was not met with open arms.

The turning point came following a drop-in session at Doddershall Meadow, organised by Lorraine Kelly, who is now the Community Engagement Manager in C2b & C23 Central, last September at a time of great sensitivity towards vegetation clearance works.

The session enabled Quaintain residents to clearly understand the exact nature of the planned works and was supported by ongoing engagement with the Parish Council, plus liaison with Fusion’s foreman and onsite team. Information was provided as well as assurance that we would address the stated concerns, which included maintaining all footpaths and bridleways for dogwalkers and horse riders, control thistle growth and reinstate turf as close as possible to the verges and hedges. The engagement developed into a series of site tours, led by representatives from subcontractors Ecosulis.

Lorraine, who recently received a message of “thanks for (her) friendly and helpful approach” from a local resident, explained: “We prioritised building good relations, providing consistent updates and sufficient information to maintain a high level of assurance to help pave the way for a lasting relationship, not only with Fusion and our subcontractors, but those in main works that will follow on.

“It was very satisfying to have played a part on this works package.”


Fusion’s ongoing success in closing existing barn owl nests is demonstrating the value of Field Based Planning (FBP) – the software application that it introduced and implemented.

FBP allows the accurate monitoring of activities across Area Central by managing a high volume of complex information from multiple databases within ArcGIS, another Fusion-inspired software platform. This means colleagues and subcontractors no longer have to wait for progress updates but can check in close to real time on FBP. This is of particular importance because over 300 nest site closures are required to be completed throughout Area Central by our AWE1e team as part of an increased scope of work.

Peter Stanbury, Pre-Contract Assistant Project Manager, said: “Without the use of the AWE1a GIS Ecology Database, it would be very hard to communicate to the entire team all updates where ecology mitigation has been completed. The Fusion GIS Database Web Viewer gives updates on the status of the mitigation in a short time period to show (in this case) which nest sites have been closed, so project teams can use the information and progress with their works such as the preparation of ecology permits.

“It must be said, we are the final piece in the jigsaw: the delivery team and a specialist barn owl subcontractor has done the hard work of planning, monitoring, assessing and closing the nest sites.”

Alex Towse, Pre-Contract & Pre-Delivery Lead, commented: “The inception of the Ecology Database in summer 2017 enabled the scoping of the AWE1cdef suite of mitigation packages by processing the huge volume of survey data routewide. This has been pivotal to communicating the scope to the Fusion team and procurement of the supply chain. With the Database integrated into the wider Fusion GIS system & FBP, it is great to see the end product of as-built mitigation data feeding back through to close off the process, and show completed works in real time.”

Eka Asuquo and Chris Pace, Senior Project Engineer and Assistant Project Manager respectively, are leading on this work. Eka added: “It feels good to be part of this team as this package of works is very different from work I’ve done before. It’s also given me a much better understanding of barn owls and how they behave.”

As a protected species, there are strict legal guidelines around mitigation work with barn owls. The birds cannot be moved from roosts they are occupying, and any relocation / erecting of replacement nest boxes needs to be 175 metres away from the boundary of construction work. Another consideration is barn owls’ breeding season, usually between April and September each year, which means their nest sites can be inspected but cannot be closed if they are occupied.

The delivery team’s original scope of 74 nest closures and installation of 25 nest boxes has risen to include approximately 312 closures and 120 nest boxes respectively.

With barn owls being a protected species, their exact location cannot be made public.

An event arranged by Fusion to help youngsters understand how to protect their hearing has been well-received by pupils and school staff.

An ‘Enterprise Day’ was put on at Aylesford School in Warwickshire recently at the request of the UK Hearing Conservation Association (UKCHA), the charity with works to preserve and promote the protection of our nation’s hearing. The day saw nearly two hundred 13-14 year old pupils (that’s Year 9 … or 3rd year seniors for older readers!) taught about sound, hearing, dangerous noise and how to protect against it.

UKHCA Director and Founder Clare Forshaw said: “It was a great day with lots of activities including highlighting the noise levels some children experience on personal music players and phones. We got a great response from them and the teachers and it is a model we feel we can now roll out to other schools.”

Clare, also of Park Health & Safety, provider of Occupational Health services to Fusion, added: “Noise and hearing is not often talked about or acknowledged, so having the opportunity to spend a few hours with these young people and seeing the penny drop when they realise the harm they can be doing and what more they can do to keep their hearing safe was just brilliant and exactly what the UKHCA is about.”

Fusion’s work in Skills, Education and Employment included two recent engagements at Kingsthorpe Grove School in Northampton, and Buckinghamshire’s Winslow School.

Fusion led a ‘Hexbug Challenge’ at Kingsthorpe Grove with Year 3 pupils: explained what engineers do and gave the youngsters opportunities to experience what it is like to take part in engineering work by creating a track for mini vibrating bugs!

Becky Tranter, our SEE Manager, who was joined Apprentice Quality Advisor Daniel Blake (above left) on this effort, said: “This is the first piece of school engagement we have done in the area. Following on from this workshop, we’re now looking at further ecology and archaeology workshops with them.”

Our SEE efforts also saw a quartet of Fusion colleagues spend two days at Winslow School in Buckinghamshire, cleaning its pond and doing general garden maintenance.

Colleagues Pat Howard, Jonathan Stanforth, Sue Hook and Horatiu Blajan were joined by teacher Jo Partridge, plus a number of pupils and their parents.

The school is keen to encourage outdoor learning, and Fusion is enabling this by helping to make the school grounds a safer learning environment, as shown above on the right.

Fusion isn’t done with Winslow School either: This is just a part of a bigger piece of work, which will include more volunteer days and two bird activity days next month.

These activities fall with Fusion’s SEE Strategy, which incorporates school engagement, recruiting apprentices, supporting the National Colleges, creating work experience placements and tackling joblessness.

The “kindness and compassion” of two members of Fusion’s security team has been
acknowledged by senior colleagues at Fusion and HS2.

Mahmoud Khan and Agnieszka Chlewicka quickly intervened after seeing an
elderly man* fall forward on his face in the middle of Harvil Road, near Denham in
the Colne Valley during heavy rainfall recently.

Agnieszka rushed to attend to him, and guided by her first aid training, moved him to
the vehicle she and Mahmoud were in, which Mahmoud moved to the roadside and
used cones and indicators to ensure they were visible to other motorists.

The colleagues changed the pedestrian’s bandages three times to stem his heavy
bleeding while assessing his condition. They waited another hour with him until the
ambulance arrived, and informed the emergency services of his name, date of birth,
relevant personal details and how he sustained the injuries.

The latest indication is that the man, who is now 84 years old, has made a full
recovery from his injuries.

Nina Roberts, Fusion’s Health & Safety Manager, commented: “It is encouraging to
see another demonstration of the priority we place on health, safety and well-being,
also on being a good neighbour, in action.”

“Please give thanks from everyone here to the two security operatives,” said Gillian
Bowman, HS2’s Health and Safety Manager (Phase One). “Their kindness and
compassion has not gone unnoticed.”

Greg Sugden, HS2’s Senior Project Manager (Phase One, Area Central), added:
“What an excellent intervention. Thank you all.”

Mahmoud and Agnieszka were presented with gift vouchers to acknowledge their
intervention by Fusion’s C1 Sector Lead Neil Stevenson.

* The man cannot be named here for confidentiality reasons.

A local councillor, headteacher and the neighbours of Twyford School have shown their appreciation to Fusion after we answered a request to help them safeguard pupils and pedestrians. The school wanted help to discourage parents from parking on a muddy area near the school gates.

In response, Fusion sourced large tree stumps to form vehicle barriers,  also delivered and installed them.

Roger Randells of Twyford Parish Council, told Fusion: “Thank you so much for sanctioning this work. The school is very happy as are the neighbours which is great. The guys who did the work must be complimented on the way the job was done. The headteacher said they were very thoughtful in ensuring traffic could pass and that the neighbours would not be inconvenienced.”

Matthew Wall, HS2 Project Manager, added: “This is fantastic and really highlights how Robert Holmes and the team undertaking the clearance work near Twyford have pushed to be a good neighbour. Please pass on my thanks to the team.”

Robert Holmes, Fusion Senior Project Engineer in C2b, said: “It was a small gesture but it says a lot that the school thought enough of us to ask for help in the first place. It shows that our teams working locally are building good relations. We are here to be good neighbours after all and this is another success story on the HS2 Project.”

Fusion Community Liaison Officer Simon Griffiths was another person whose role was acknowledged by Twyford School for his work on this.

Fusion has answered a call from Suited for Success, a charity that provides free clothes and preparation support for the unemployed going for job interviews in Birmingham, by holding a suit drive during September.

A Suited for Success spokesperson said: “First impressions count. Suited for Success is a practical vehicle to move people from long-term unemployment, crime and homelessness, into employment so they can become independent, financially stable and live more fulfilling lives. Looking the part for a job interview not only gives that all important great first impression but also helps to increase confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

“For many unemployed men and women, the expense of buying a new suit is unattainable, especially when struggling to get by on benefits, have recently been homeless or just released from prison. Not being able to afford an interview suit can be a huge barrier into employment for many unemployed men and women.”

Holding a suit drive is in synch with Fusion’s skills, education and employment (SEE) strategy, which incorporates school engagement, recruiting apprentices, supporting the National Colleges, creating work experience placements and tackling joblessness.

Becky Tranter, Fusion’s SEE Manager, said: “With collection containers in each of our main offices, we are hoping to gather donations of workwear from our generous colleagues. We have had placements and employees that have benefited from this service, and this is our chance to give something back.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has already donated. The containers will be in place for the whole of September.”

Suited for Success is looking for the following:

  • New and gently worn male and female suits (please no casual, soiled or clothing in need of repair)
  • Men’s smart shirts, trousers, ties, jackets, shoes and accessories (including bags and cufflinks)
  • Women’s dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, jackets, shoes, handbags, jewellery and accessories
  • Suit carriers
  • Shower gels, pamper packs, perfumes and aftershaves (for client gift bags)

They especially need:

  • good quality smart men’s shoes,
  • men’s smaller and larger suits (i.e. 28 – 30 inch chest jackets or 48+ sizes), 28 – 30 inch waist trousers, 17 inch men’s shirts
  • women’s clothes size 16+.

Suited for Success will arrange to collect donations from large suit drives at offices and collection points in Birmingham.  To arrange and for more information, make contact via:

telephone: 0121 236 7770
social media: Facebook – suitedforsuccessuk and Twitter – suitedforbham

Already in the vanguard of environmental and ecological practice – colleagues from BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Morgan Sindall working on the Fusion joint venture – are breaking new ground in working towards creating a “plastic-free package of work.”

The goal was a challenge set by Alex Towse, now Fusion’s Pre-Delivery Lead, on its enabling works central contract with HS2 – designing and construction, landscape planting and habitat translocation across over 100 kilometres between Birmingham and London.

As part of reputedly the largest environmental project in UK history, Fusion’s Environment & Sustainability team is delivering a host of sustainable measures, including becoming the first HS2 contractor to achieve the PAS2080 (Carbon Management in Infrastructure) standard.

En route to meeting Alex’s challenge, Fusion has departed from using plastic tree guards in favour of ones made of corrugate and card pulp (above left), secured by eucalyptus poles (above right) – both fully decompose, so leave no waste that needs collecting post-season.

Bianca Rees, Fusion’s Sustainability Manager, led the charge, by conducting a global search for plastic-free products that could be sourced ethically, then negotiating with colleagues to support this innovation.

She said: “There was some internal resistance initially, but after a site visit with our tree specialist (Landscape Manager Stewart Lowe), it was clear to see the products we sourced would enable the trees to grow healthily in a range of conditions, as they would using plastic guards. Our procurement team proved open to innovation.”

Stewart Lowe said: “We’re really pleased to be trialing the new biodegradable tree guards and the feedback from contractors has been very positive. As well as dramatically reducing the amount of plastic we’re using on site, they also make it much quicker to plant the trees. We’re planting over a thousand trees at Decoypond Wood in Buckinghamshire – one of the early sites using the guards.”

Alex Towse added: “The transition from plastic to biodegradable products is real game changer, particularly given the high priority we are placing on sustainability, showing that this measure can deliver economic alongside environmental benefits.

“It is important that market-leading organisations adapt their business practices to ones which safeguard the planet, to help undo and prevent the damage that has been caused, for the benefit of future generations.

“There will also be an enduring legacy from this: we will be using biodegradable guards and ties as we plant millions of trees across the route.”

Further benefits include no compounds need to be set up to recover the guards and ties, plus a reduced health and safety risk to employees moving across unmade ground to make collections.

HS2’s Senior Environment Manager Kat Stanhope: “Plastic free tree planting is a significant step towards meeting HS2 environmental and sustainably targets and is an innovative solution to reducing waste.  It is a great idea and Fusion have worked closely with their supply chain to ensure that the product meets stringent environmental and ethical guidelines. We are keen for other contractors across HS2 to follow Fusion’s example in their planting designs.”

107 – kilometres of land being enhanced and protected by Fusion
7 million – the maximum number of trees that could  be planted across the area central route
4,000 – the number of tree guards used in the last planting season, October 2018 to March 2019
39,000 – the number of tree guards that will be used in the next planting season, October 2019 to March 2020
50p – cost saving from not having to remove plastic tubes and ties from every tree planted
208kg  – carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) saving by switching from plastic to biodegradable products.*
3,582 tonnes – potential amount of carbon saved by 7 million trees

*Based on five colleagues travelling 112 miles sharing two vehicles, recovering 4,000 plastic tree guards in 6 x 12metre yard skips

Fusion’s Gatehouse and Cornerblock offices was visited by Bill Hill, the Chief Executive Officer from Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity who spoke to colleagues about the Charity’s work on behalf of construction workers and their families.

He also was presented with a cheque to represent the £6,000 it has donated to the Charity from the Le Tour De Central fundraising event last month. Early this year, the Charity and Bloodwise, were voted by Fusion colleagues as the charities that will receive the majority of the proceeds from its fundraising efforts.

“I am humbled that you voted for us,” Bill (pictured above right) said at Cornerblock. “On this contract with HS2, you are part of an elite team of which you should be very proud. Construction is a risky business in many ways: collectively 30-40 workers lose their lives each year in the UK. These numbers are lower than they used to be but they are ones we are very concerned about.”

Going on to mention that 20% of work-related absence in the sector is due to stress, anxiety and depression, he added: “This number goes under the radar somewhat but we have a moral obligation to do something about it. Construction is also the number one industry in which its workers commit most suicide: we have overtaken agriculture, and not just in the UK – it’s the same in the United States and Australia.”

After showing a short film which highlights how easy it is to miss or overlook colleagues that could be suffering emotionally with personal issues they may not find easy to speak about, Bill spoke on the history of the Charity, which started in 1956 when the national average of annual deaths in the sector stood at 200.

It helps sector companies build internal cultures that acknowledge the risk mental ill heath poses and take practical action to address it. Last year, the Charity provided emergency financial assistance and specialist support to 1,600 families linked to the construction industry in the UK at a cost of £1.4m.

“We can’t do what we do without the support of people like you,” Bill continued. “We are eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to the charity bike ride – to sponsors, fundraisers and those who sat on a bike and took part.”

Bill’s visit to Cornerblock was hosted by John Hornby, Fusion’s Pre-Delivery Commercial Lead (pictured above left), who also presented Bill with a replica cheque and added: “The scale of this project – covering over 100 kilometres – is the biggest site I’ve ever worked on in terms of logistics – with many individual working locations – which had a lot of interest from the stakeholders (including the public) – for whom we have to do our very best to make the extra effort to address all matters we encounter. These demands can bring about stress in our team and we all need to be aware of these pressures and look out for each other.”

Referencing Fusion’s recent stress management survey, he said: “Our senior management team is committed to alleviating stress at work. No-one at Fusion should feel that they cannot talk to a manager about issues they are facing. Bill’s presentation was a great reminder of how serious the matter is within the construction industry and the steps we must all take to stay well emotionally as well as physically.”

For more information on the Charity, visit its website or make contact in confidence on email or telephone 0345 609 1956