How is the Crossrail project minimising their environmental impact?
The Crossrail Project began in 2009 and has been under a spotlight ever since the first tunnel was dug. Environmental impact and sustainability of construction tend to be significant issues for any big project today and Crossrail is no different. But how has such a huge and high profile project found ways to minimise the impact it has on the environment, both in terms of eco credentials and avoiding disruption to local residents?
Taking a more environmentally friendly approach
All eyes were on Crossrail from the very start with respect to its environmental impact so efforts were made to ensure that this was well handled. Pollution from construction machinery is a big problem for many sites so Crossrail ensured that pollutant reducing emission controls were widely used. These were fitted to 84% of the construction machinery that the company used to work on the central section of the Elizabeth Line. Another big issue was the volume of earth removed to make way for the new tunnels. According to Crossrail, almost all of this material ended up being beneficially used elsewhere, for example to help construct Jubilee Marsh as part of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project.
Sustainability as a priority
Although the work was focused on central London and surrounding areas, only just over a third of the contracts awarded for work on Crossrail were given to companies located in London. 62% of those awarded the contracts were based outside of London. The project has had a positive impact in terms of construction sector sustainability too with 44% of small and medium sized businesses saying that new networks were formed as a result of the work that they did on the project.
Catering to local residents’ needs
To combat the impact of the project on the local environment, Crossrail took a number of steps. For example, noise insulation was offered to those who live in residential properties near to the Crossrail work taking place and who felt that the noise impact would be problematic.
Designing a more sustainable future
Crossrail is intended to have a 120 year shelf life, which creates a responsibility on Crossrail Limited to think far ahead of its immediate launch. Steps that were taken to reduce environmental impact were extensive and the construction of the track will result in an expected 2.5 million tonne CO2 reduction over the 120-year lifespan of Crossrail.
Protecting the natural environment
Large construction projects like this can have a significant impact on local nature and wildlife. Crossrail has stated that it has planned specific regeneration for the areas that the construction project has touched and has set up a multidisciplinary working group internally to maximise the opportunities for biodiversity enhancement.
Crossrail has demonstrated a commitment from the start to working in tandem with archeologists at its sites. There have been more than 100 archaeologists on site with Crossrail through the duration of projects. Their work has uncovered tens of thousands of items from 40 sites, spanning 55 million years of London heritage.
Like any large construction project, Crossrail has faced its environmental challenges. The steps taken have gone some way to reducing the impact that building the Elizabeth Line has had.
At RG Group we understand the need to prioritise issues such as sustainability and environmental impact in construction. Contact us to find out more.