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Costain wins environmental award for reducing emissions by nearly 40% on M6

M6 greenery and fields

23 October 2023

Costain, the infrastructure solutions company, has won a Green Apple award for significantly reducing the carbon footprint of their works on the M6 motorway.

Costain’s work has successfully reduced the carbon footprint in both the construction plant and van fleet, cutting emissions by 38%.  The M6 J21a-26 upgrade project is being delivered by SMP Alliance for National Highways. Costain, as both an SMP Alliance partner and the on-site assembly lead for this scheme, has been working collaboratively with other Alliance partners and suppliers to lead the successful reduction of the carbon footprint.  Emissions from vehicles ‘idling’ on site was reduced from 56% to 18%, between the start of 2022 and June 2023, using innovative enhanced idling sensors and behavioural training. Site vans were fitted with trackers and between February and June 2023, this reduced van idling by around 25%, with associated carbon emissions and cost falling, on average, by 35kg and £4.19 per driver.

Switching from diesel fuel to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in February 2022 reduced carbon emissions by 679tCO2e; which is the equivalent of 27,000 trees absorption of CO2 in one year.[1]

Catherine Warbrick, Costain’s executive lead on sustainability said: "I’m really proud of the work the team has done on the M6, and the amazing results they have achieved. Costain aims to be a force for change and to safeguard the future of our planet for generations to come. Projects like this one on the M6 demonstrate our commitment to finding solutions to tackle the environmental challenges facing our planet.”

The Green Apple Environment Awards were established in 1994 as an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice. Entries are invited from any company, organisation, community or individual that is helping the environment. It was the first scheme to be accredited as an official feeder scheme into the European Business Awards for the Environment and it is now the only official feeder scheme into the global Green World Awards, which are held in a different country every year.

This stretch of the M6 extends from the Croft Interchange at junction 21a, just north of Warrington, to the Orrell Interchange at junction 26 near Wigan.


1 - Figure sourced from ecotree.green; https://ecotree.green/


Enquiries: Jemma Savage, Headland

[email protected]

[email protected]


Notes to Editors

About Costain

Costain helps to improve people’s lives by creating connected, sustainable infrastructure that enables people and the planet to thrive. We shape, create, and deliver pioneering solutions that transform the performance of the infrastructure ecosystem across the UK’s energy, water, transportation, and defence & nuclear markets.

We are organised around our customers, anticipating and solving their challenges and helping to improve performance. By bringing together our unique mix of construction, consulting, and digital experts we engineer and deliver sustainable, efficient, and practical solutions.


About the Green Apple Awards

The Green Apple Awards are run by The Green Organisation – an independent, international, non-political, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.