Pioneering digital tool to protect biodiversity shortlisted for prestigious design award

We’ve been shortlisted in the Design Efficiency category of New Civil Engineer’s Techfest Awards 2022. The award nomination recognises the development of a pioneering approach that utilises survey information and remote-sensed data to enable the mapping of ecological habitats, allowing for better environmental design from the outset.

The tool was developed with our colleagues at Arup – the sustainable development consultancy – who developed the innovative technology to help us meet our Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) objectives – including preservation of irreplaceable habitats. The digital tool interprets habitat data collected remotely and automatically generates a baseline biodiversity score at project inception. This is continuously refined as the project progresses, by ongoing environmental field surveys.

The new technology maximises efficiency at the design stage, saving the project both time and money, whilst contributing to our biodiversity objectives. It will help inform the decision on the preferred route alignment for the next section of the railway, connecting Bedford to Cambridge, and will help ensure BNG targets are met or exceeded.

I’m extremely proud that our pioneering use of technology to safeguard Britain’s best quality habitats is being recognised by the industry in this award shortlisting. It is testament to the creative thinking and environmental commitment of the joint EWR and Arup team.” – Vanessa Hilton, EWR Co Head of Environment.

From all of us at East West Railway Company, a huge congratulations to everyone who’s been shortlisted. Progress benefits us all, so hats off to the pioneers making a real difference.