HS2 supports pilot project for ecological plant accreditation

Ecological site manager, HS2

HS2 Ltd has stepped in to ensure that a new Green Builders Construction Accreditation pilot (ECoW) for the UK and Ireland can go ahead as planned

The ecological construction clerk plays an important role in construction projects. They ensure that contractors and clients comply with environmental laws and planning conditions for the protection of biodiversity on construction sites.

In response to the growing demand for ECoW accreditation in the construction sector, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) launched a new training pilot in 2019

HS2 and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) sponsored the first phase of the pilot, but reduced revenues related to the pandemic resulted in a deficit at CIEEM and plans were put on hold.

Requirements for ECoWs in the entire industry

HS2 agreed with partners Balfour Beatty and Atkins to cover a substantial part of the shortfall. As a result, 50 candidates, including ecologists working on HS2, will complete the first ECoW pilot in the coming months, with registration for the full program scheduled to begin in early 2022.

As a further sign of their commitment, ecologists working on HS2 are also supporting the pilot assessment process and HS2 Ltd’s senior ecologist is an active member of the steering committee for the pilot.

In phase one, HS2 will plant up to seven million trees and bushes and create more than 33 square kilometers of new forest, wilderness and river habitats. It will leave 30% more wildlife habitats than currently exist and is part of the unprecedented HS2 Green Corridor that will bring improvements for people, places and nature along the route.

ECoWs will play a critical role in ensuring that tailored ecology plans are effectively implemented to create better habitats for local wildlife and protected species.

By providing a cleaner, more environmentally friendly way to travel, HS2 will help reduce the number of cars and trucks on our roads, lower the demand for domestic flights, and assist the country in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. HS2 already plays a vital role in the government’s goal of achieving net zero biodiversity, and this investment is yet another sign of their commitment to ensure that their ecological works fully support that goal.

Important for the protection of wild animals and protected species

Peter Miller, Environmental Director at HS2 Ltd, said: “We take the environmental cost of construction very seriously, as demonstrated by our investment in this nationally recognized environmental accreditation.

“Green site managers are vital to the protection of wildlife and protected species, and we appreciate the expertise they bring to the delivery of the new UK railroad.”

Sally Hayns, CEO of CIEEM added: “The development of this new accreditation system is crucial to raise the profile of the environmental officer role and ensure the quality of environmental advice and monitoring on construction sites.

“We applaud HS2 Ltd’s commitment to ensuring that the ECoW role is of a high standard and the financial support we are being given to complete the pilot.”

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