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How to take 20% off your carbon footprint

Heysham  M6 Link road

The value of early collaboration is being seen in practice on the £125M Heysham to M6 link road project in Lancashire

Close working between main contractor Costain and supplier Tarmac is producing potentially game-changing results in sustainable infrastructure, with a 21% reduction in carbon footprint against the original project design achieved through close collaboration from the outset.

The 4.8km long dual carriageway will provide a long-awaited connection from the M6 at Junction 34 to the Morecambe and Heysham peninsula. It also involves fully remodelling Junction 34, a new bridge over the River Lune and construction of a 600 space park and ride site.

Work on the road started in 2014 and is now in its final phase with the construction of the main carriageway and the road surface itself. The road will open to traffic in the summer.

Construction has gone well, but it is the way collaboration has yielded major sustainability benefits that is attracting interest.

Costain’s plan for collaboration was clear from the outset. Rather than use multiple materials producers to spread risk, the company found in Tarmac a single partner to create efficiencies in the supply of ready mix concrete, aggregates, asphalt and road contracting services. And this approach promised an immediate beneficial effect in terms of carbon.

We have managed to ensure zero mineral wastage of produced materials

“This project is a great example of the benefits and cost savings that can be achieved,” explains Costain project director Andrew Langley.

From the beginning, both businesses took time to understand each other’s operations as well as client Lancashire County Council’s drivers and timescales.

That early supply chain engagement was key. By having early visibility of the project design, the united project team could identify opportunities for considerable savings in materials.

“Through early engagement on the design and materials, the project team was able to identify considerable savings in the quantity of materials  required – and the embodied carbon footprint of the project,” explains Tarmac business development manager Nick Toy.

By working together for a year before work on site began, both could gain a deeper understanding of each other’s operations. This in turn helped the team identify potential logistical, cost and sustainability benefits. Tarmac took Costain through how each quarry product was managed, allowing the team to aim for zero wastage at the quarry supplying the project. A logistics plan was put inplace to provide an optimal route to site and minimise the impact on traffic.

This collaborative approach was backed by an integrated management structure at executive, projec tmanagement and site levels, working together to ensure key performance indicators are met. Benefits realised include a reduction in aggregate tonnage for the project of nearly 25% and a cut of just over 26% in readymix concrete, against the original plans.

A monthly carbon tracking service allows Tarmac to capture detailed carbon data, so the project team can identify savings in the quantity and types of materials required, as well as the carbon footprint – a reduction of 21% in CO2 equivalent against the original project design has been achieved.

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