Tyne Tunnels, Newcastle

Applying ESG to a real world project

In 2007 InfraRed agreed to undertake the construction of a new two-lane tunnel under the River Tyne, as well as refurbish the existing 1967 tunnel.

Tyne-tunnel-road
Tyne-tunnel-race

As one of the two main arterial routes across the north east, it was vital the site remained operational throughout the £255m project.

Working in partnership with over 80 subcontractors, more than 20 consultants, and a stakeholder base comprising 12 lenders, seven local authorities, and two other equity shareholders, we successfully opened both tunnels ahead of schedule in November 2011.

Working in harmony with the environment

Environmental considerations were a key factor at all times.

The contaminated material collected from dredging the site was put to good use by the Port of Tyne and used to back-fill a dry dock. 

Working closely with the Environment Agency, InfraRed ensured that salmon in the River Tyne were protected throughout the works. Taking over a salmon count farm allowed us to constantly monitor numbers, with dredging only permitted when the salmon count fell below a certain level.

Biodiversity was also ingrained into the project from the very beginning, with initiatives to attract urban bees, protect rare breeds of moths, and plant wildflowers.

Building for the future

Through our project company TT2, we have developed strong educational partnerships in the region, working closely with over 10 schools. This includes visiting primary schools giving presentations on engineering and mathematics; providing talks to teenagers on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and related career opportunities; attending careers fairs at secondary schools; and helping GCSE students and sixth formers to develop their interview techniques.

Taking our educational programme one step further, TT2 has now welcomed its fourth intake of an apprenticeship scheme that offers two people a two-year course on maintenance and operations. Providing real-world vocational experience, the apprenticeship leads to an NVQ qualification in roads and tunnel operator best practice – a qualification TT2 helped to develop and became the first organisation in the UK to award.

School children are encouraged to visit the site to learn about nature, from the wild fruit growing nearby to tree surgery. Children with special needs enjoy the opportunity to hear talks and test equipment, as do children with disabilities through our close links with the Percy Hedley Foundation.

Playing our part in the community

Together with our partners, InfraRed also sponsors and hosts the Tunnel 2K wheelchair race. The world’s fastest race of its kind, the event is becoming a cult global event and raising awareness of sport for the disabled. TT2 is proud to be a Disability Confident employer.

The Tyne Tunnel Foundation also contributes to the local community through charitable donations: for example, supplying kit to the Wallsend Under 11 football team.