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United Kingdom : Biggest road upgrade leads the way on environment.

Moving protected species, creating new habitat the size of 269 rugby pitches and taking traffic for two and a half million tonnes of construction materials off the road are just some of the ways that a major project to upgrade the A14 in Cambridgeshire is caring for the environment.

The biggest road project currently in construction in the UK is aiming to leave a positive footprint on the local environment once completed by the end of 2020.

People living and travelling in South Cambridgeshire will by now be familiar with the scale of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project just by looking at the great number of yellow lorries and diggers working away along the sides of the existing A14 and A1, and the size of the new structures emerging along the route.

Less obvious but central to the project is the industry-leading care for the environment that the team is delivering while building the new road.

Patrick Howard, ecology lead for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project for Highways England, explains: An important part of any road construction project is the planning of environmental mitigation so that, by the time a project is completed, its footprint on the surrounding natural environment is as small as possible.

Protecting the environment now and in the future is one of the golden threads that runs through all aspects of the scheme, from design to construction, project management to efficiency and delivering value for taxpayers money. !!n What the A14 team is doing in terms of both environmental mitigation and environmentally-minded project management goes well above and beyond the usual requirements. It sets the standard high in terms of reducing the overall impact of a road scheme on the local environment during construction and after the scheme completion.

Pat continues: We began thinking about the environment at a very early stage in the project, well before construction started.

There are a number of things we have to do by law, like survey the land where the road will be built to assess how the scheme might affect wildlife, or talk to environmental organisations to get their advice and give them the opportunity to feedback on our proposals.

And we have to look after protected wildlife species such as great crested newts, water voles, bats, badgers and a number of birds that breed on the site of the scheme.

But weve also decided to build into the project ways to minimise our environmental impact now and to leave a positive legacy for the future.

Initiatives include: creating 271 hectares of new, connected habitats for wildlife, replanting trees at a ratio of two trees planted for every one felled, gathering rare wildflower seeds and specimens to replant after the end of construction, using renewable energy where possible.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 2, 2017
Words:475
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