Colas wins three prestigious environmental awards

Civil engineering and transport infrastructure company Colas is has won three Green Apple Environment Awards at a ceremony in central London.

Two National Silver accolades were awarded to Colas for their environmental and ecological mitigation work on the Humber Bank Link Road project in Grimsby, and their ‘Retread’ process which reduces the potential carbon impact of resurfacing work by up to 77%.

Colas also achieved recognition as a ‘company that cares’ with the CSR World Leader award which recognises their approach to working with communities, colleagues, clients, suppliers and partners.

The annual international Green Apple Environment Awards, which were launched in 1994 by the Green Organisation, and have become established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world, recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.

They attract entries from Governments, Ministries and Regional Authorities as well as companies, organisations and communities, across private and public sectors.

The winning Humber award involved Colas completing construction of a one and a half mile link road connecting Immingham and Grimsby, including a new footway/cycleway along the length of the scheme. Funded by North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) and the Humber LEP, it represented the final phase of the “South Humber Industrial Investment Programme” (SHIIP). SHIIP comprised of three inter-connected projects, which had been carefully designed to unlock socio-economic growth, whilst preserving the Humber Estuary’s unique environmental/ ecological assets. The Estuary is protected by a host of environmental designations.

Colas says it adopted a sensitive approach to safeguarding the local ecosystem; conducting rigorous environmental surveys and working with relevant environmental authorities to develop its construction methodologies. A new habitat for water-vole was built to promote future biodiversity, a 20MPH speed limit for the protection of local deer was established, and new wildflower meadows and “green buffers” (grasslands, trees, and hedgerows) were also created to minimise local impact.

Minimising waste was also key priority with aggregates and soil waste re-used onsite to help hit a ≥95% recycling/re-use target. Sustainability was carefully considered at the procurement stage, and innovations were also utilised to establish a high benchmark for sustainability throughout the process. Colas’ deep-soil mixing technique significantly reduced onsite activity and material consumption, while its hydrogen-powered site cabins offset the carbon impacts.

Colas says it also drove Social Value and a reduced carbon footprint by recruiting local personnel (seven people from North East Lincolnshire) and engaging local suppliers (spending £2.87M with them).

Meanwhile Colas has spent eight years working with Lincolnshire Country Council (LCC) to develop and trial a new road network recycling process called Retread. The Retread process can reduce carbon, waste and virgin material used and causes minimum disruption compared to conventional resurfacing works. It is also designed to be a low-cost solution to a traditionally high-cost maintenance issue, reducing the overall whole life cost.

More than 7.4 million sq.m of pavement were recycled on site through this process in 2019 alone, and Colas is now looking to increase its ability to develop in-situ recycling with new solutions of Valorcol and Novacol.

Colas says it carried out a life cycle analysis assessment of Retread and discovered that this process delivers a saving of 77% in CO2 emissions. It also ensures that minimal or zero waste is sent to landfill, while in-situ recycling of existing materials (with minimal use of imported virgin aggregates) results in fewer lorry movements and even lower ‘scope 3’ CO2 emissions, to help meet the government’s commitment of being carbon net zero by 2050.

Carl Fergusson, Chief Executive at Colas Ltd, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded these prestigious awards. Environmental and ecological consideration is at the heart of how we work, and we are constantly developing new sustainability-led innovations that will enable us to meet more demanding recycling/re-use targets and ultimately further reduce our carbon impact. CSR is also incredibly important to us. We are holding our first ever UK CSR Conference on 30th November for the senior managers here at Colas, and we’re committed to working with all stakeholders in a thoughtful manner, and ultimately being a company that cares.”

(Picture – Colas)

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