Stafford works have no equal for CEEQUAL

Network Rail's Stafford Area Improvements Programme (SAIP) is helping set the sustainability standard on major projects, recording one of the highest ever scores in the prestigious CEEQUAL scheme.

CEEQUAL interim award, picture 1.JPG

CEEQUAL recognizes and celebrates good environmental and social practice in civil engineering and infrastructure projects.

Earlier this year, CEEQUAL's independent verifier awarded its highest ever interim score of 97.4% to SAIP for work on the Norton Bridge scheme which will remove a bottleneck on the West Coast Main Line - the project proposes construction of a grade-separated junction (flyover) including 10km of new 100mph railway, 12 new bridge structures, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions.

Explained SAIP's environmental lead Lucie Anderton: "As part of the CEEQUAL scheme, the Programme is assessed on its sustainable credentials across the project lifecycle. This Interim Award recognises the work carried out during the last three years by the design team, comprising Network Rail, Atkins and Temple Group."

Currently the subject of a Development Consent Order (DCO) due to its national significance, the Norton Bridge scheme was commended by CEEQUAL for:

  • Active consideration/integration of the principles of sustainable development throughout planning and design
  • Comprehensive consultation with the local community and other stakeholders actively influencing the final scheme, including rail alignment and road and footpath diversions
  • Conducting all appropriate environmental surveys, with impacts considered and mitigated
  • Staging carbon and waste minimisation workshops and implementing recommendations where appropriate
  • Outline Site Waste Management Plan, which identifies a 98% re-use of excavated materials on-site
  • Inclusion of a temporary rail link into site to transport construction materials, reducing the impact to the local road network and community
  • Inclusion of ‘bunding' in the earthworks design, protecting the local barn owl population by diverting their flight paths. The bunds also have secondary benefits for both noise attenuation and visual screening
  • Ecological benefits incorporated into the design for the river diversions including an actual increase in channel length, retention of sections of the old channel, creation of new wetland areas and back waters (suitable for nationally scarce invertebrates found on-site)

Also included as part of the programme's environmental commitment (and forming part of the preparatory works in advance of the Development Consent Order and carried out under separate planning permission), was the relocation of a colony of great crested newts to a new purpose-built nature reserve located at Shallowford House - a Christian retreat operated by the Diocese of Lichfield.

On Wednesday 10th July, the new reserve at Shallowford House proved the ideal setting when CEEQUAL Verifier Rachel Waggett, Network Rail's Route Managing Director (LNW) Dyan Crowther and Infrastructure Projects Regional Director Neil Thompson presented Lucie and members of the Staffordshire Alliance with the CEEQUAL Interim Award.

Rachel Waggett commented: "The importance of performing to high environmental and socially responsible standards on site in a construction project is widely recognised. However, the vital stages of preparation during the briefing and design stage, when strategies are set and decisions made, can often be overlooked. From the very start of this programme the whole team has been fully committed to achieving the highest sustainability standards. I am delighted that this exemplary score of almost 100% reflects their efforts."

Neil Thompson added: "The programme's participation in CEEQUAL demonstrates the commitment of Network Rail and its industry partners to a sustainable approach to major projects, right through from feasibility to actual construction. Congratulations to all those involved on the Norton Bridge project, who have turned this commitment into reality."

Now led by the *Staffordshire Alliance - a partnership of Atkins, Laing O'Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail - work on the Stafford Area Improvements Programme including the Norton Bridge project continues, with the ongoing adoption of CEEQUAL right through to project completion.