Making Net Zero a reality

Paco Hevia, Managing Director | Waste Treatment
13 November 2020
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How we all do basic things like eat, travel, heat and power buildings and even raise and spend taxes are all set for major changes in order to deliver significant improvements to environmental and wider societal impacts, living within our collective environmental means and addressing climate change.

The need to deliver this substantial change has not diminished over the last few months as the world’s attention has been diverted to tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, the need for action is more pressing than ever.

Amey is helping to drive this change, but we want to do even more to make the substantial shift that is necessary. We are in an almost unique position to do so, working across mobility, connectivity, the built environment, energy and resource management.

Generating change

We are also unusual as a services company in generating renewable and low carbon energy. Amey operates four Waste Treatment facilities, including material recovery across all sites and Energy from Waste (EfW) plants on two sites with another one in construction. Each EfW plant is geared to generate electricity with some 35MW+ exported to the National Grid, but could also provide heat for local heat networks, delivered to housing, industry or Public Buildings.

In addition to the materials recovered across all of our sites, we also operate two Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants which generate renewable gas, used to create electricity, but which could also be used to create fuels or injected to the gas grid in the future. Combined, our waste treatment operations reduce carbon emissions by 173,000 tonnes per year.

Meanwhile, on the Isle of Wight we are constructing a small-scale EfW, which will process up to 44,000 tonnes per year of residual waste after mechanical treatment. The facility diverts the island’s residual waste from landfill, reducing emissions of methane, and will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

This facility will also be heat-ready and we are optimistic that it will be able to supply heat to the local hospital and prison, along with other accommodation that could connect to a heat network. We are working closely with authorities and the Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department to make this a reality.

Less is more

Over the next few years some very big decisions will need to be taken – decisions that will fundamentally shift the way humans interact with the natural environment, requiring major improvements in resource efficiency: doing more from less. This change starts now, from the inside out.

Our action across the business and in collaboration across industry leaves no stone unturned – from working with the government to support the green recovery and embedding social value into our procurement processes, to our environmental reporting and carbon disclosure programme, participation in Business in the Community’s Circular Economy Taskforce and employee engagement through Amey’s freedom to perform strategy.

Different sectors of the economy have different ambitions in response to the climate emergency, ranging from those mirroring the government’s 2050 net zero target such as Highways England and the MoD, to 30% of our local authority customers committing to get there by 2030.

What they all have in common is a commitment to start that journey with immediate effect – and will rely on the service sector to help them reach their targets, and with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement of the introduction of new climate disclosure requirements and climate risk reporting for large organisations alongside issuing its first sovereign green bonds as part of its Covid-19 stimulus package, the impetus for making progress has never been clearer.

Future positive

In a world where the climate is changing due to the action of its inhabitants, Amey is committed to a net-zero carbon future.

Our roadmap will see us significantly reduce our own emissions through transitioning to zero emission vehicles and reducing fuel consumption and set contract-specific carbon reduction targets, eliminating unnecessary waste and investing in sustainable alternatives and circular economy solutions.

We will pledge to offer a low carbon option for every client solution and include carbon and climate change checkpoints in each and every decision, working with our partners and customers to turn their climate change ambitions into reality through innovative service provision.

We are confronting the challenges and supporting the many opportunities that a net-zero and resource-efficient future presents, and we look forward to working with our industry colleagues, decision makers, customer and neighbours to deliver a better future.

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