HS2 says it is backing a new construction-focussed ‘ecological clerk of works’ accreditation pilot.
They stepped up alongside Balfour Beatty and Atkins to ensure that the scheme could go ahead – after a funding shortfall caused by the pandemic meant the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) initially put plans on hold.
HS2 has said in a statement its contribution was triggered by the likelihood they will have the greatest need for these specialists on their sites across the next decade and beyond.
An ecological clerk of works ensures contractors and clients comply with environmental legislation and planning conditions for the protection of biodiversity on work sites.
Now, 50 candidates – including ecologists working on HS2 – will complete the first accreditation pilot in the coming months, with registrations for the full scheme due to commence in early 2022. Ecologists working on HS2 are also supporting the pilot assessment process and HS2’s lead ecologist is an active member of the steering panel for the pilot scheme.
HS2 says it employs thousands of ecologists. During Phase One, HS2 will plant up to seven million trees and shrubs and create more than 33 square kilometres of new woodland, wildlife and river habitats. Its plan is to leave behind 30 per cent more wildlife habitats than exist currently and form part of the HS2 ‘Green Corridor’ that the company hopes will bring improvements for people, places and nature along the route.
Sally Hayns, CEO at the CIEEM said: “Developing this new accreditation scheme is vital to improve the profile of the Ecological Clerk of Works role and ensure the quality of the ecological advice and supervision provided on construction sites.
“We welcome HS2 Ltd’s commitment to ensuring the ECoW role is delivered to a high standard and the financial support provided to enable us to complete the pilot scheme.”
Peter Miller, environment director at HS2 Ltd said: “We take the environmental cost of construction very seriously, as our investment in this nationally-recognised ecological accreditation shows.
“Ecological Clerk of Works are vital to safeguarding wildlife and protected species and we value the expertise they bring in helping us to deliver Britain’s new railway.”