News Jul 11, 2023

Leeds Station Capacity Achieves BREEAM Infrastructure “Excellent”

Work to improve capacity at Leeds station, delivered as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade, has set a precedent for sustainability, after being awarded BREEAM Infrastructure “Excellent”.

The U.K.’s Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is building a greener, faster and better railway between Manchester and York, and recently released its plans to slash carbon emissions, generate thousands of jobs and deliver billions of pounds in social value to the North of England. This transformative, major program of railway improvements will provide better, more sustainable journeys to passengers travelling across the route spanning 70 miles and 23 stations.

TRU is using BREEAM Infrastructure (Version 6), formerly CEEQUAL, to create an amalgamated program score and rating. The Leeds Station Capacity is the first TRU project to achieve the BREEAM Infrastructure Excellent rating. Jacobs was appointed by Network Rail to manage the BREEAM Infrastructure assessment. This involved developing a target strategy, supporting sustainability specialists, helping the project to embed BREEAM Infrastructure into design and construction activities and completing the formal assessment.

BREEAM Infrastructure, the world-leading sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects, recognized the sustainability of the project including the construction of platform 0, the station’s first new platform in nearly 20 years, which provides greater capacity for more frequent, longer trains to run through the station.

“The awarding of excellent in BREEAM infrastructure for the work at Leeds station is testament to all the staff involved and to the sustainable ethos of the Transpennine Route Upgrade," says Leeds Central Member of Parliament Hilary Benn. “Rail travel is vital to the people of Leeds and this recognition shows how sustainability is being built into the future of rail travel across the North of England.”

Environmental and social sustainability

Design and construction teams worked together at Leeds to save more than 144 tonnes of CO2e by reducing key materials. This included finding efficiencies through track upgrades, reducing the quantity of materials used and pre-fabricating components off-site, reducing the impact on station users and nearby residents.

As part of the rating, the project achieved 98% under the communities and stakeholders’ assessment category due to its extensive stakeholder engagement and various social initiatives centered around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and charitable volunteering.

“Sustainability is at the heart of the Transpennine Route Upgrade and the recognition from BREEAM for our work at Leeds Station pays tribute to our ambitions,” says Transpennine Route Upgrade Managing Director Neil Holm. “Leeds is a key station on the Transpennine Route Upgrade and to deliver this vital work while making major carbon savings sets a blueprint and example for the rest of our program.”

“TRU is more than improving a railway asset, it’s enhancing lives,” explains Jacobs People & Places Solutions Senior Vice President Europe Kate Kenny. “It will better connect communities and help them prosper, attract more people to use the train, support moving more essential goods by rail, create jobs for local people and improve the environment through decarbonization.”

“Amidst the challenges of lockdowns and the pandemic, Leeds Station's unwavering commitment to sustainability was commendable,” adds BRE Global Strategic Business Development Manager - Infrastructure, Melanie Manton. "The team's dedication, despite hurdles like COVID-related delays and adapting to a new assessment methodology, was exemplary. We at BREEAM Infrastructure applaud their efforts and are pleased to see that their dedication is rewarded with this 'Excellent' achievement.

“Our Verifier observed the contractor's remarkable resilience in continuing to gather evidence and maintain a focus on sustainable construction, despite facing COVID-related challenges and adapting to a new assessment methodology.”

TRU’s new sustainability strategy “Our Guiding Compass” outlines how the largest rail infrastructure project in the North of England plans to save 6 million tonnes of CO2e over a 60-year period after work is complete.

The TRU program is delivered by several organizations including Network Rail, Jacobs, VolkerRail Ltd., J Murphy & Sons, Systra, Siemens, Amey, BAM and Arup. Buckingham Group and Balfour Beatty were also involved to support on Leeds Station. We are united in a common mission to deliver the greatest value to communities along the route and, since April 2019, together we have delivered £1.085 billion ($1.3B) of value through activities co-designed with and for our community stakeholders.

Read the full BREEAM Infrastructure V6 Case Study here.