Plans to make one of the North East’s biggest developments a model of sustainability are to be showcased at the North East Sustainable Resources Board’s Annual Conference – the planned Hitachi Agility Trains manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham will be in the spotlight at the region’s premier conference on resource management which is held on Thursday May 17.
Geoff Hunton, director of Amazon Park developer Merchant Place Developments, is one of the speakers at the event being organised by the North East Sustainable Resources Board (NESRB) – the Hitachi Intercity Express Programme (IEP) is expected to create up to 7,000 new jobs and contracts worth more than £4.5 billion for regional suppliers when the Government gives the greenlight for work to begin on the massive 450,000 sq ft train assembly facility.
Geoff will highlight the raft of initiatives and protection measures that will be implemented to ensure that the development of the site meets the highest environmental standards and is a world class green development. This includes a zero waste to landfill policy which will see 300,000 cubic metres of excavation soil reused in development of the site rather than sent to landfill.
Other measures include the creation of a green corridor and habitat around Demon Beck which would be supported by the planting of 2,000 trees and 1,000m of hedgerow. A comprehensive range of mitigation measures will be incorporated to protect local wildlife and ensure any noise is minimised.
The developers are also looking at the potential for a waste to energy plant on site that would help to generate electricity by steam. Additional measures include the use of photo-voltaic cells and solar heated water. Geoff will also offer an overview of the project looking at what it involves, why Hitachi is investing in the region and the benefits to the region in terms of jobs and business opportunities.
Geoff said: “This is a fantastic project that will create thousands of jobs and contracts for regional businesses from the provision of forklifts to the manufacture of seat covers. The shell of the train comes from Japan but pretty much everything else will be supplied locally, nationally and in Europe.
“As a company we place a premium on sustainability and are committed to green developments. Obviously, in the current climate, we have to carefully weigh up the advantages of green development versus the costs.
“However, we’re confident we’ve got the balance right. We’ve undertaken full and extensive environmental impact assessments and will develop a world class facility incorporating a wide range of green technologies, initiatives and materials.”
The event – Building a sustainable economy: waste as a resource for the North East – takes place on Thursday May 17 at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.