Rochester Bridge Trust has won national recognition for its uncompromising approach to carbon emissions.
An independent panel of bridge and engineering specialists has chosen the charity as winner of the Bridges Management category in this year’s Bridges Awards, which aim to honour outstanding achievement in UK bridge projects.
The accolade is in recognition of the Trust’s net zero carbon management of Rochester Bridge. Working with Term Maintenance Contractor FM Conway, the Trust has reduced emissions for routine maintenance activities by more than 88% over four years. The remaining residual emissions are offset by tree planting in a new mixed-species woodland in Kent.
James Booth, Bridge Manager at the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “We believe we are the first bridge in the UK – possibly the world – to achieve Net Zero Carbon for our maintenance activities. This award celebrates that achievement and we hope it will also inspire others to make the necessary changes to reduce their own carbon impact.”
Steps taken by the Trust and FM Conway to reduce the environmental impact of maintenance activities include changes to working practices, more sustainable transport, moving away from fossil fuel plant to electric equipment and biofuel, and switching to renewable power.
Adam Barnes, Structures Director at FM Conway, said: “Taking a rigorous approach to carbon reduction has proved both environmentally and financially beneficial – there has been no big increase in expenditure while the cost of some maintenance activities has come down.
“In addition, the changes have delivered other benefits including reduced wider environmental impact and better health & safety.
“For example, the switch away from fossil fuels has practically eliminated exhaust emissions from maintenance vehicles, creating a more pleasant and healthy working environment. It has also resulted in much-reduced noise levels and, in many cases, lighter-weight equipment that lowers manual handling risks.”
The net zero approach to bridge maintenance is part of a broader commitment by the Trust to cut the carbon footprint of all its operations, including along its supply chain.