Sustainable innovations in the Royal Borough

As part of their ongoing focus on sustainability, VolkerHighways is working with the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead to explore several environmentally friendly initiatives.

Electric sweeper_app_sm.jpg
Electric sweeper_app_sm.jpg

Electric road sweeping
In May, in association with street-care specialists Urbaser, VolkerHighways trialled a new electric road sweeper in Windsor – the first of its kind to be commercially available in the country.

The vehicle has the same capability as a traditional sweeper to remove litter, dirt and leaves from large public spaces, whilst also being compact enough to navigate residential areas.

The vehicle trialled by Urbaser’s team is capable of delivering a full day’s work on a single charge, allowing the company to maintain the streets of Windsor, while improving air quality through zero emissions and reducing the environmental impact of its work. While there is still work to be done in readying the infrastructure to support an electric fleet such as this, the results could be worth the wait.


Recycling gully waste
Gully cleansing is one of the key services VolkerHighways provides as part of its term maintenance contract with the Royal Borough. In addition to removing excess water, litter and waste matter from the borough’s drainage system, the team has now implemented a sophisticated recycling process to ensure all materials are re-purposed.

Solid and liquid waste is first divided into two groups, consisting of litter, stones, sand, organics, silt and water. These then pass through a series of filtering systems, which syphon off each material, until they are fully separated and ready for reuse.

Litter is recycled in the same way as standard household waste, while other biproducts are used for more specific purposes, such as sand and stones for concrete aggregate, organic waste as soil treatment and oil as reclaimed fuel.

This has both an environmental and a cost benefit, as traditional disposal of waste materials is significantly reduced.

Increasing the lifespan of road repairs

At the start of June, the team completed patching repairs to four manhole covers on Castle Hill Roundabout in Maidenhead, using an innovative mastic asphalt repair system.

Unlike traditional concrete repairs, which allow very little movement between the ironwork and surrounding carriageway, this new solution provides a flexible surface around each manhole cover. The surface can accommodate the movement produced by traffic driving over the area, making it more resistant to cracks and damage. The longevity offered by this approach provides a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete patching, with the need for re-work significantly reduced.

Daron Mizen, project manager for VolkerHighways, said: “Sustainability is an important focus for our business, and we are always looking for new and innovative solutions, to improve the way we work. I am delighted with the progress our teams have made with these initiatives and look forward to exploring this area further.”

Councillor Gerry Clark, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said “I am delighted that our relationship with VolkerHighways is enabling the Royal Borough to lead the way on improving our impact on the environment through innovations like these...I hope other councils will look at these projects and be inspired to look beyond how things have always been done to how they can be done better.”

VolkerHighways and The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead will continue to pursue further sustainable initiatives over the coming months, including the use of ‘warm’ asphalt, which is produced and applied at a lower temperature, resulting in lower energy usage and fewer emissions.