HS2 announces plans to improve air quality across the project

HS2 announces plans to improve air quality across the project

In light of Clean Air Day 2020, HS2 released ten ways it is working to raise the bar on air quality during construction and operation.

Once constructed, HS2 will allow the shift from road and air to rail, improving the quality of the air people breathe and supporting the transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

The railway is set to be powered by electricity from the national grid, so unlike cars, lorries and planes will not emit air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide or particulate matter during operation.

In order to substantially reduce its carbon footprint, HS2 is also leading the way with innovations to reduce emissions through designing and building the railway.   

Numerous initiatives have been developed with partners and academics, with more in the pipeline in a bid to create greener construction sites.

These contain new plant emissions reduction strategies that will not only cut pollution, but bring time and cost savings, better dependability, and give assurance to local authorities and the public that the strict emissions requirements are being met, to ensure air quality is safe for both the public and workers.

Furthermore, British-made products such as solar powered cabins are being rolled out across sites to significantly reduce the project’s emissions, bringing environmental benefits to local communities along the route.

The ten ways HS2 is raising the bar on air quality standards are as follows:

  • ‘Designing out’ emissions
  • Transporting materials by freight trains
  • Introducing renewable energy on construction sites
  • Pioneering electric, zero-pollution machinery
  • Setting standards for the lowest vehicle emissions levels
  • Strict dust control
  • Adopting a new plant emissions scheme
  • Rigorous monitoring of air quality
  • Ambitious plans to change industry best practice
  • New Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) low emission technology

HS2’s Air Quality Manager Neil Wait said: “HS2 is supporting the UK’s green economic recovery and ensuring the UK is on track to achieve its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As the country’s largest infrastructure project, we’re pleased to be supporting Clean Air Day – the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, and are working with our partners and supply chain to improve the quality of air for everyone as we build HS2.

“We aim to dramatically cut emissions and carbon on our construction sites, and constantly challenge our supply chain to introduce innovations by using the latest green technology, and to create a greener way of designing and building the new railway.

“Environmental innovations are at the heart of everything we do - from using renewable energy on sites and reducing emissions and carbon, to including eco-friendly features in our designs, and creating hundreds of new wildlife habitats along the route.”

Image: HS2 Ltd 

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