If you keep doing the same things you will get the same results. To rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable rail network we’ve re-evaluated what we do across many areas of our business. The work we are doing can be broadly grouped into three categories: innovation and quality, environmental protection and enhancement, and community engagement and inclusion.
Innovation and Quality
We need better solutions to make the rail network more resilient to both wear and tear and to adverse weather. Rigorous quality management and KPIs that run through our delivery teams and supply chain are part of the story. We’ve also invested significantly in systems that make it easy for all partners to capture ideas for quality improvements and to share data about the assets we create and maintain.
We also understand that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. Sharing ideas and learning with the wider industry and with academics is an essential component of innovation.
Innovative approaches have also been used in projects aimed at providing greater step free access to the rail network. Innovation, including using more offsite construction, allows access to be improved at lower cost and with minimal disruption to travellers. Better access and greater capacity allows more people to choose rail over more polluting modes of transport.
Offsite solutions also have the capacity to deliver superior energy efficiency as well as waste reduction.
Environmental Protection and Enhancement
By involving the right experts it’s often possible to go beyond protecting what’s there to measures that help increase biodiversity. A recent embankment stabilisation project for Network Rail affected habitats for great crested newts, bats and bird species. As part of the project, we hydro-seeded wildflower mixes onto the embankments, created log piles to form hibernacula for amphibians and reptiles, and installed new bat boxes and hibernation roosts.
Part of the ongoing environmental challenge involves careful planning, so we don’t ship more materials than needed and ensuring that everything possible is reused or recycled. We are fully committed to the goal of ‘zero to landfill.’
We strongly believe that you can only deliver a positive legacy to a community affected by rail infrastructure works when you engage fully with that community from the outset. We aim to deliver social value in ways that create maximum tangible benefits for local communities. Such as the project of building a bridge over a busy railway line for Manor Estate at Apsley, a housing redevelopment project for Bovis Homes. This project was close to Two Waters Primary School, where volunteers from Bovis Homes, Osborne and the local council got together to deliver a play park for this school.
To solve the sustainability challenges the industry must also recruit the very best talent with new skills and attitudes. This means attracting and developing people from outside of our traditional pool of recruitment. To do this we are working hard to nurture a welcoming and inclusive culture within our business and supply chain and to promote the exciting careers available to underrepresented groups.
Sustainability isn’t a project or an initiative, it’s a way of thinking and working that we aim to apply right across our business to deliver long term gains.