Leaving a Sustainable Legacy
We are always challenged within our industry to find ways to develop resilient sustainable solutions supportive of climate change within our working environment.
Our management systems reflect contractual and legislative demands as well as providing a platform for innovation and continuous improvement. We use this to help find sustainable and low carbon solutions to minimise the impact our works might have on the network where we work and the communities where we live and work.
We recently completed a major junction improvement scheme for Highways England on the A64 at Barton Hill near York, to improve safety and visibility for users. As part of the scheme we had to remove sections of the hedgerow, several trees and stone from an old water culvert.
But rather than disposing to landfill we worked closely with the owners of a local family gin distillery, Sloemotion and local cabinet maker and artist Mark Bennett with our client Highways England and main sub-contractors CR Civils to recycle and upcycle were possible.
The whole scheme was subject to ecological and landscape assessments including consultations with statutory environmental bodies. The measures identified through this process were factored in at proposal stage including methods of working, supervision requirements and recommended best practice measures. And, we engaged an ecological clerk of works throughout the scheme to ensure all the environmental aims and objectives were met.
We altered the design to save as much of the hedgerow as possible to help prevent flooding but sections of the hedge still had to be removed. The sloe berries used to produce the gin grow on the hedgerows, so it seemed like the perfect solution to donate the hedge to this local sloe gin producing firm. Some parts of the hedgerow are being turned into creative structures to display Sloemotion’s products and hand cut stone from the culvert will be used to adorn the company’s new buildings near Barton-le-Willows.
Cabinetmaker Mark Bennett has taken part of a veteran oak tree which was removed from the site to transform it into a bar for Sloemotion. And, the remainder of the tree will be used to create bat and bird boxes, which will be placed along the A64 and around Sloemotion’s base. Each item will bear the longitude and latitude of where the tree stood, serving as a historical record for many years to come.
Timber from other felled trees were donated to Castle Howard stately home to be used as chippings in their grounds.
The achievements on this project would not be possible without sustainability being properly considered at design stage and then through collaborative working and stakeholder engagement to ensure the best possible outcomes for all elements.
The 8-month scheme to improve safety at the junction will benefit over 9,000 drivers a day. We have converted the crossroads to a staggered junction by realigning Mains Lane, extended the culvert by 6 metres to allow the carriageway to be widened, constructed 4,600m² of new road and realigned 600m of the A64. We have also relocated a bus stop, an emergency telephone and a pedestrian crossing.
In addition, during the work we upgraded and extended a 170-metre otter fence to prevent access onto the A64 and identified 8 trees for bat roosting. We also replaced 560 metres of hedgerow and reinstalled an old milepost and will be replacing a historic road sign that has been refurbished.”
Jonathan Curtoys, Managing Director of Sloemotion, said: “The changes will certainly have a positive benefit for drivers but donating the hedgerow, the stones and timber to local businesses it feels like something is being given back to the community. I commend Highways England and A-one+ for this – it has been a pleasure working with them over the last seven months.”
Mark Bennett of The Woodlark added: “It’s great that we can use what would otherwise have gone to waste and give something back to the environment such as the bird and bat boxes.”
Barton Hill will be the stimulus for future construction projects to deliver benefits by embedding sustainability objectives throughout the scheme from proposal to completion and throughout the team, supply chain and stakeholders to deliver better sustainable solutions.