Connecting East Anglia
The East West Rail Phase 1 project aims to link East Anglia to central, southern and western England through extending and upgrading railway lines and building stations. Phase 2 involves reopening a mothballed rail line and constructing a station. RSK’s regional and responsive environmental specialists provided environmental services for the project, including advising Network Rail on how to minimise the impact of vegetation clearance on the local environment.
The project involves adding a new track to an existing line, which will form a 100-mph twin track between Oxford and Bicester. Adding the new track required removing vegetation. RSK ensured this was done with minimal risk to the area’s ecology. Specialists designed replacement schemes for vegetation and ecological enhancement and balanced the local stakeholders’ requirements with the requirements for a working railway.
RSK’s landscape team produced 29 detailed landscape plans ranging from urban environments to rural habitats. Multiple sites along a stretch of the line were home to great crested newts, a protected species. Design elements were incorporated to provide suitable habitats that complied with Natural England’s licence requirements.
RSK’s in-house communication services team delivered stakeholder management and community investment plans, which aimed to improve the lives of residents close to the lines and stations. RSK’s management of community liaison was praised when the project received a Silver Award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme. It was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Environment and Sustainability category of the Rail Industry Awards.