The North West Cambridge Development has won a Green Apple Award (Silver) for Best Environmental Practice.  The awards seek to find the greenest companies, councils and communities internationally, and commend the University of Cambridge and its site-wide infrastructure contractor, Skanska, for its ambitions and implementation so far. 

Gavin Heaphy, Construction Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “Our development seeks to be an exemplar of sustainability, and naturally we are thrilled to have received this award when over 500 nominations were received in environmental best practice.  The development proposals provide a cohesive and compelling commitment to delivering environmental best practice in the long term whilst mitigating the short term impact during the construction period.”  

The award commends the innovative measures used to create an environment that is sustainable, including a district heating network and underground waste management system. The site also includes the largest rainwater recycling system in the country that aims to minimise the risk of localised flooding in an area that is already prone to flooding, whilst also reusing the water to reduce potable water consumption per person across the whole development.

The award-winning submission also outlined that during construction, measures have been undertaken to mitigate the impact on wildlife as well as improve habitat once complete.  Skanska has utilised temporary construction Sustainable Urban Drainage System to maximise the retention of surface water run-off. A series of interconnected swales and balancing ponds were used to collect and hold surface water over winter. This was subsequently then used for dust suppression and watering of plants over summer. During the first 5 months of 2015 over 1.4million litres of collected surface water (non-potable) has been used rather than drawing from the mains (potable water).

Additionally, environmental measures will enhance the local ecology on the site.  A unique specially constructed newt tunnel was installed underneath one of the entry routes to enable great crested newts to access habitat and breeding ponds either side of the road.  Artificial kingfisher nest boxes are to be installed in the banks of a watercourse to increase numbers and the river bed will be constructed so as to provide suitable habitat for watervoles. In addition features to encourage the use of new buildings by roosting bats have been incorporated into the design of the sports pavilion and utility buildings.

Jason Gostling, Project Director of Skanska said: “We are thrilled that our work has been recognised by the Green Apple Awards and to be working with the University on this exemplarly scheme.”


The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries.  The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

The Green Apple Awards are supported by the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.