UK Power Networks Service

Realising the benefits of sustainability

5 April 2018

Philip Heathcote, High Speed 2 Bid Director

Embracing sustainability as a way of living in our evolving society will ensure our future as our populations increase. Sustainable means sustainable benefits for the environment, communities and local economies. For us, it is about providing energy systems and solutions to clients that offer a wide range of advantages such as:

  • Respecting our natural environment, reducing carbon emissions and providing genuine alternatives to cars and planes for inter-city journeys.
  • Investing in local economies and regenerating communities.
  • Employing locally during the construction and its ongoing operation.
  • Delivering the work safely for our communities and employees.
  • Designing systems that stand test of time, and provides reliable travel for the 21st century and beyond.

Protecting our natural environment

High-speed train travel is the sustainable alternative to driving and flying, as it has been shown that per passenger kilometre, international rail travel produces less greenhouse gas emissions of short haul air travel. By providing a regular and reliable service, passengers are more likely to choose train travel over road or air travel, especially on services like High Speed 1, which is the most reliable railway in Europe.

Benefits of investment

High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed railway, has enabled passengers to travel up to 186 mph from London St Pancras to Kent, Paris and Brussels, and has attracted at least £3.8 billion in economic and social benefits to Kent, London and the UK.

Research by Visit Kent and Destination Research Ltd identified leisure journeys increased nine-fold since the opening of the line, contributing £72 million to the region's visitor economy in 2017 alone, and an overall economic contribution of approximately £311 million.

The redevelopment of the former railway yards at St Pancras International is one of the largest redevelopments in London. King’s Cross is an area with a rich heritage, but now boasts an exciting cultural scene, a thriving business community, and a strong sense of local community. The 67-acre site was an underused wasteland and is in the process of undergoing transformation into a vibrant neighbourhood with homes, shops, offices, galleries, bars, restaurants, schools, and even a university.

Local opportunities

For new rail projects like High Speed 2, the size of the undertaking will be particularly beneficial to local economies along the 330-mile route. The construction and ongoing operation and maintenance will provide new job opportunities and improved quality of jobs for those working directly on the project and those supporting and supplying the project in each region. Project teams will be located in nearby communities, benefitting local businesses.

High Speed 1 provided opportunities for us to employ apprentices, graduates, and professionals, as well as supporting the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged to work, to deliver the project and provide the ongoing operation and maintenance. It also provided direct and indirect value to local businesses through those relocated to work on the project and the transport links opening up new opportunities and wider exposure to their services.

Safety

Since the first service was in operation in 2003, our team has been delivering for High Speed 1 in the most complex and challenging environments. We are dedicated to keeping health, safety and wellbeing as our top priority and we are proud that our team has now delivered nearly 300,000 hours worked and 7.5 years without a lost time injury.

High Speed 1’s legacy

Any public infrastructure project would have similar sustainability objectives and the legacy it leaves will prove the success of the project. We have a successful legacy in High Speed 1 through our system design and infrastructure that has provided a reliable power supply to more than 75,000 services carrying 20 million passengers each year, giving the UK the confidence that High Speed 2 will deliver on its objectives.