3 Approach to Sustainability Appraisal

3 Approach to Sustainability Appraisal

3.1 Introduction

The approach to the sustainability appraisal is structured as follows:

3.2 Project Life Cycle Approach

Sustainability, allied closely to environmental considerations, should form a core thread throughout all the activities of the project team and stages in the project life cycle. The following have been identified as the key stages:

  • project design and appraisal;
  • preparation of contract documents and tenderers’ designs (dependent on procurement method);
  • tender evaluation;
  • construction;
  • operation (including maintenance and decommissioning).

Sustainability appraisal should feature at each of these stages. This sustainability appraisal is based upon the project design and appraisal stage. Design of the proposed scheme commenced in January 2008 and has developed throughout 2008 and 2009. Design development has included:

  • consideration of potential route corridors;
  • comparative assessments of corridor options (Stage 2);
  • selection of a preferred corridor; and
  • development of the design to Stage 3 as defined in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) (Highways Agency 1993 as amended).

The sustainability appraisal has been carried out in parallel with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the production of the ES as separate but associated work streams, with emerging results from each informing each of the stages of design development.

The Stage 3 design is the focus of this sustainability appraisal report and the results can be used as benchmarks for any future sustainability considerations in the following stages.

3.3 The FRC Sustainability Appraisal Framework

A framework approach was adopted for evaluating the performance of the FRC proposals against the goals of the Sustainable Development Policy. The sustainability appraisal framework (refer to Appendix 2) was developed through a staged and iterative process involving all relevant stakeholders within the project team. The process was as follows:

  • Stage 1: A high-level workshop was held that involved senior staff from Transport Scotland and their consultants Jacobs Arup, in association with Natural Capital. Within this workshop the appraisal framework, consisting of sustainability objectives, targets and associated indicators, was first developed. The objectives were initially arranged under the headings of economic (i.e. those with more of an economic thrust), social (those with more of a social dimension) and environmental (those with a thrust towards environmental protection or efficient resource management). It was recognised that there could be a range of different targets that could be used to deliver the objectives so targets were selected on the basis that they should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) wherever possible. The indicators were selected as the most effective measure for indicating delivery of targets and for tracking future performance where this was appropriate.
  • Stage 2: Each objective was assigned a ‘Sustainability Champion’ who would be responsible for seeking to meet their objectives and associated targets. These would be monitored through the use of indicators.
  • Stage 3: A sequence of regular sustainability workshops were run over an eighteen month period during which the Sustainability Champions were encouraged to initiate the appropriate actions within their respective teams for delivering the objectives and targets and were invited to report on progress. Workshops enabled opportunities for an exchange of information between ‘Champions’ and a degree of problem solving with colleagues. From time to time opportunities were taken to refine targets and indicators in line with the deliverability of the sustainability objectives and the progress made.
  • Stage 4: At the end of the FRC Project Stage 3 the Champions have reported on the delivery of their objectives and targets through tracking performance via the use of the indicators.

In total, 17 sustainability objectives were developed for the FRC scheme:

1. To design, build and operate a reliable crossing

2. To contribute to the improvement of cross-Forth access to economic opportunities

3. To contribute towards the development of cross-Forth public transport opportunities

4. To minimise the scheme footprint and severance of land

5. To adopt sustainable resource management in design and construction

6. To ensure that community engagement takes place at all the key stages in the FRC project process as set out in 'engaging with communities’ (Transport Scotland 2008)

7. To improve local accessibility and reduce community severance

8. To provide a scheme that accommodates the needs of disabled people

9. To contribute to the promotion of healthy lifestyle opportunities and social inclusion

10. To provide a safe design for both vehicle travellers and non-motorised users

11. To reduce, reuse and recycle materials and products where practicable

12. Seek to minimise embodied energy and carbon associated with key materials and their transport to site

13. To minimise carbon emissions once the scheme is open to traffic

14. To protect and enhance the natural heritage including local biodiversity

15. To protect the landscape, historic environment and cultural heritage

16. To reduce noise and air emissions

17. To protect water quality, geomorphology and maximise the use of sustainable drainage systems for environmental and hydrological benefit

A summary of the performance for each objective is given in Section 4 with further detail provided in Appendix 3. The Champions have also provided information on the degree to which it has been possible to come up with design innovations for the Stage 3 design that have addressed key sustainability issues. These are summarised in Section 5 with detail provided in Appendix 7.

The sustainability appraisal framework (Appendix 2) includes a glossary that explains some of the technical terms and assumptions that lie behind the framework.

3.4 Consultation on the Sustainable Development Policy and Framework

It was decided at an early stage that the Sustainable Development Policy should be the focus of specific consultation in order to ensure that its scope was appropriate.

Consultation was held with the Sustainable Development Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Further informal consultation has been held on the sustainability appraisal framework with members of the FRC Environmental Reference Group (ERG). The FRC ERG comprises representatives from SEPA, SNH, Historic Scotland, Marine Scotland, Fife Council, City of Edinburgh Council and West Lothian Council. It has regularly convened throughout the past 18 months to provide a forum for discussion and information dissemination on all environmental topics relating to the developing FRC proposals.

A specific consultation with Scottish Government staff in relevant Directorates and Divisions was held in order to ensure that the sustainability approach adopted for the FRC project was aligned with current Government thinking.

3.5 Compatibility of Scheme Objectives with Sustainability Objectives

As a first step within the sustainability appraisal the Scheme Objectives were tested for their compatibility with the Project Sustainability Objectives (refer to Appendix 4). This would demonstrate whether the Scheme Objectives were supportive or in conflict with the Sustainable Development Policy for the project and the sustainability goals of Transport Scotland.

The results as presented in Appendix 4 show that the Scheme Objectives are either neutral, broadly or strongly supportive of the Sustainability Objectives and there are none that have a negative effect. In one case (the development of cross-Forth public transport opportunities) the effect would depend on how any measure was implemented.

The outcome of this assessment is reassuring in that it indicates that the overall Scheme Objectives have been established within a broad sustainable development context.

3.6 Sustainable Resource Management

A Sustainable Resource Management Framework that includes a materials plan has been produced in response to the importance given by the Scottish Government to the concept of a ‘One Planet Economy’ (Greener Scotland 2009). This emphasis is evident at the highest political levels in the rest of the UK with an entire chapter devoted to "One Planet Economy" Sustainable Consumption and Production in the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy (DEFRA 2005b). This chapter sets out goals and action plans for sustainable consumption and production with a priority on sustainable procurement in the public sector. It highlights the point that the environmental impacts of consumption and production remain severe and inefficient use of resources is a ‘drag on the UK economy and businesses.’

Key themes that form the basis of the Sustainable Resource Management Framework are:

  • management of natural resources: which includes the re-use or recycling of materials;
  • responsible sourcing: which includes sustainable sourcing, local sourcing, reducing transportation, efficient logistics;
  • supply chain management: including waste minimisation, management systems and site stewardship; and
  • climate change and energy: including energy efficiency, fossil fuel consumption, renewable sources of energy.

The FRC Sustainable Development Policy has set out two key policy objectives with regard to sustainable resource management these are:

  • ‘apply best practice in sustainability in the design, construction and implementation of the project where practicable’; and
  • ‘encourage contractors to adopt sustainability best practice for the construction industry’.

The Sustainable Resource Management Framework is contained in Appendix 5. The Framework aims to address the key issues around the supply, management and use of the resources and materials needed to deliver the proposed scheme. It is seen as leading best practice within Trunk Road project delivery in Scotland.

3.7 Energy and Carbon Assessment

A key principle contained in the FRC Sustainable Development Policy is to seek to minimise the carbon emissions associated with the development of the crossing and the connecting roads to the new bridge throughout the project – during design, procurement, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning. Similarly, within the sustainability appraisal framework (refer to Appendix 2) key objectives are ‘to seek to minimise embodied energy and carbon associated with the construction of the scheme’ and ‘to seek to minimise carbon emissions once the scheme is opened to traffic’.

For the proposed scheme, it is simplest to differentiate carbon emissions into:

  • carbon emissions from traffic on the road network; and
  • embodied energy and carbon associated with key materials to be used in the project along with their transport to site, and consideration of the construction process at the appropriate stage.

3.7.1 Carbon Emissions from Traffic

The traffic and economic assessment of the Main Crossing and connecting road network has primarily been undertaken using the Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS:05A). This is a strategic, four stage, multi-modal forecasting model with a 2005 base year that translates output from the Transport and Economic Land Use Model of Scotland (TELMoS) into forecasts of travel demand on both the road and public transport networks.

Carbon emissions were initially calculated using the strategic traffic model and standard methodology for calculating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (based on the Department for Transport formulae). This relies on average traffic speed as the basis for calculation.  It has the advantage of wide network coverage, so all of the network effects of the proposed scheme will be encompassed by the assessment. However, the CO2 calculations are based on average speeds and this approach is not capable of assessing the local impact of stop-start traffic conditions.

This assessment using TMfS:05A was supplemented with further assessment using a more detailed local area model which uses Paramics microsimulation modelling software. A new Passenger car and Heavy-duty Emission Model (PHEM1) based emissions calculation module has been developed for use with Paramics software. The emissions evaluation using Paramics with PHEM relationships is a technique being developed on behalf of Transport Scotland, but not yet generally deployed for use in scheme appraisal. The information obtained from this evaluation tool was used to supplement the strategic calculations which are based on the Department for Transport formulae. The PHEM based results are intended to provide a more informed view of the likely locally generated impact of the proposed scheme.

Using the above methods, the effect of the proposed scheme on carbon emissions relating to traffic on the road network is reported in the DMRB Stage 3 Scheme Assessment Report (Jacobs Arup 2009a) and Chapter 15 (Air Quality) of the ES. Chapter 15 of the ES describes the difference between CO2 emissions that would be likely with the proposed scheme (the ‘Do-Something Scenario’) and without the proposed scheme (the ‘Do-Minimum Scenario’) for both the anticipated year of opening (2017) and the design year 15 years after opening (2032).

Objective 13 of the sustainability appraisal draws on the findings of the air quality assessment as presented in the ES and is discussed in more detail in Section 4.15.

3.7.2 Embodied Energy and Carbon

The embodied carbon of a construction material (e.g. steel, concrete, etc) refers to the emission of CO2 over its life cycle. For instance, CO2 is released during the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing and transportation. Similarly, the embodied energy of material can be taken as the total primary energy consumed over its life cycle.

BSI British Standards, co-sponsored by the Carbon Trust and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has produced PAS 2050, a publicly available specification for assessing product life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (British Standards Institute 2008). This standard sets out five useful stages in carrying out a carbon footprinting exercise which have been adopted for the FRC project:

  • building a process map of the construction of the Main Crossing and network connections to include materials, energy and waste flows;
  • confirming scope and boundaries of the carbon assessment and performing an initial high-level carbon assessment to help prioritise efforts;
  • collecting data on material amounts, activities and emission factors across key life cycle stages;
  • calculating the carbon footprint; and
  • assessing precision of the footprint analysis.

The energy and carbon assessment is based on estimated material quantities for the main components of the scheme (i.e. the Main Crossing and the road connections including Ferrytoll Junction, Queensferry Junction and M9 Junction). Energy and carbon coefficients were extracted from the Inventory of Carbon and Energy database (University of Bath 2008) and the Highways Agency Carbon Calculator (Highways Agency 2009). The Highways Agency model has been developed with reference to existing carbon accounting methodologies and information from the Environment Agency (EA), Defra, and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and has drawn upon recognised best practice.

Embodied energy and carbon is the focus of Objective 12 of the sustainability appraisal (refer to Section 4.14) and draws on the findings of the energy and carbon report (Appendix 6).