Designing Out Waste

How Thameslink Programme used its role as client to raise the bar

Each action taken as a client has the potential to drive a positive change across the business, supply chain and the industry. To play our part as client Thameslink Programme benchmarked itself against the industry average waste recovering benchmarks of 80% (for demolition and construction) and committed to go above this by setting a target to divert a minimum of 90% of waste from landfill.

As well as setting challenging targets we also publicly signed up to the WRAP Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment alongside 800 other signatories where we committed to:

“….playing our part in halving the amount of construction, demolition and excavation waste going to landfill by 2012. We will work to adopt and implement standards for good practice in reducing waste, recycling more, and increasing the use of recycled and recovered materials”

Embedding our waste requirements across our management system and supply chain

As a client it was important that our design, construction teams and our supply chain were fully aware of our waste requirements. To achieve this we embedded our waste objective, targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) into our ISO14001 Environmental Management System and cascaded these requirements to our supply chain via our procurement and contract process.

Challenging the design and construction process

We also held a series of Designing Out Waste workshops at the design phase with our programme teams and suppliers using the WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) Designing out Waste toolkit. The objective of these workshops was to collaboratively challenge the design and construction process to identify where we could reduce waste in design and construction through:

  • Reuse and recovery of materials – reuse of recycled or re-salvaged materials
  • Offsite construction – use of prefabrication
  • Material optimisation – minimising excavation or standardising components
  • Waste efficient procurement – to reduce waste in the supply chain
  • Deconstruction and flexibility – allowing for recovery of materials.

Waste hierarchy is key

Compliance to the waste hierarchy is at the core of our communications. Whilst compliance was driven primarily driven through legal compliance at the early stages of TLP through regular training and engagement of our teams and suppliers it is now part of what we do day to day.

The value of Site Waste Management Plans

As part of our ISO14001 management system and contract requirements we required all our projects and suppliers to produce Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP) during the design and construction phases. Even after the revocation of the Site Waste Management Plan 2008 regulations we continued to stipulate this requirement as we recognised the value these plans provided. SWMPs were reviewed every 6 months and were regularly audited by our internal sustainability team and external ISO14001 auditors. As part of project close out we also checked final documents were fully compliant (e.g. full waste monitoring forms, wste transfer notes, waste quantities, predicted and actual costs) regularly captured lessons learnt and cost savings to inform better waste management across the programme.

The importance of monitoring delivery

As part of our commitment to reducing waste we regularly undertook waste inspections and audits of our projects and suppliers and monitored how our suppliers were assuring their waste management contractors and suppliers. We tracked our delivery through our monthly waste KPIs and regularly challenged our waste returns to be fully confident we were meeting the diversion levels we reported.

Further information

For more information on this Learning Legacy case study please email

Case studies

Designing Out Waste: Stations and Civils

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Designing Out Waste: London Bridge station

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Designing Out Waste: Railway Systems

Reviewing the specific actions undertaken for Railway Systems projects to reduce waste in design and construction.

CEEQUAL: Farringdon station

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CEEQUAL: London Bridge station

This CEEQUAL case study assesses how sustainability was integrated into the design and construction of London Bridge station.