Sustainability in action

Dive further into Alconbury Weald, our most significant strategic site, to look at our sustainability efforts across the site.


From the primary school we have built, to the Grade II-listed Second World War watchtower we have restored, delivering physical value at Alconbury is inherent across the entire development. We continue to create places that allow people to live sustainable and healthy lives, designing sustainability into our sites from the very beginning. At Alconbury one of our founding principles has been to deliver a “walkable community”, ensuring that all residents have the option to walk to schools, shops and parks.

Achievements demonstrating how we create long-term physical value:

Land remediation
  • 89 ha of land returned to usable development platform to date from contaminated to clean; this is equivalent to the size of 108 football pitches
  • 489,000 tonnes of concrete taxiways excavated, processed and reused on site and 445,000m3 of material remediated to date
Education facilities
  • Ermine Street Church Primary School, opened September 2016 – 2FE (2,432m2)
  • iMET Building, opened in 2018 (3,124m2)
Bringing heritage to life
  • Grade II-listed Second World War watchtower – fully refurbished and opened as a community facility and office opened in 2019 (210m2)
Sustainable transport
  • 12.8km of dedicated cycle routes provided to date
  • All homes are within a five to six-minute walk of a bus stop
Public space
  • 49.6% of Key Phase 1 is public open space
  • c.261m2 of public open space per resident
  • 100% of homes are no more than 69m from a green corridor
  • 100% of homes are no more than 147m from a play area
Renewable energy
  • Housebuilders are required to provide a minimum of 10% of the energy for their homes from sustainable or renewable sources
  • Solar panels on the roof of all commercial buildings, providing 37,408kWh of electricity per year, saving approximately 19,786kg of carbon per year
  • Winner of Mixed-Use Development of the Year – Planning Awards 2019


Our work to nurture a culture of community engagement by providing advice and support to advisory groups, school boards and trustees, in addition to hosting community events, ensures people come together and are empowered for generations to come. This has been integral to generating social value at Alconbury.

To support our approach within this capital, there are a number of achievements that demonstrate how we increase social value:

Staff engagement
  • 420 hours’ employee time supporting community programmes in 2019
  • 100% of on-site staff volunteering time for local community groups
Community beneficiaries
  • Seven advisory groups, school boards, networks and trusts supported including Fusion, Groundwork, Huntingdon BID, iMET, Ermine Street Church Academy, Natural Cambridgeshire and Cambridge Ahead
  • 18 community groups sponsored within a 25-mile radius
  • 14 community groups supported for over three years
 Community events
  • Three major events in 2019 – Big Summer Bash, Christmas Carols, Outdoor Cinema
  • Weekly community activities supported through provision of space
Considerate Constructors Scheme
  • All directly appointed contractors are members
  • Average score of 38.5 (out of 50) achieved by our directly appointed contractors to date


At Alconbury, we continually invest in a range of opportunities to help both local people and local businesses. Our award-winning incubator is home to 8 companies with 220 employees, and we have seen companies move from Incubator 1 to the larger space in Incubator 2, demonstrating how our approach to support a range of companies and organisations has helped them expand further on site. Furthermore, the Alconbury Weald Construction Training Hub, run through our EDGE partnership, directly supports local people and target groups into construction training jobs.

Achievements demonstrating how we create lasting partnerships and increase economic value:

Incubator workspace
  • 2,740m² of flexible incubator floorspace for small and start-up businesses provided to date
  • Ten businesses to date trading from the incubator workspace 
Total business floorspace
  • 71,028m² of total commercial floorspace built
Job creation

EDGE – Jobs and Skills:

  • 774 people provided with Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) since EDGE started with 267 placed into employment
  • EDGE has held six career fairs to date, with c.500 students visiting per fair
  • EDGE carries out ten school engagement events per year, in addition to the career fairs

EDGE Construction and Skills Centre:

  • 775 hours of training provided via the Construction Skills Centre
  • 136 learners are employment ready and are actively job seeking 
  • 16 learners successfully employed
  • Five housebuilder partners engaged with the jobs and skills programme (Redrow, Breheny, Morris, RG Carter, Crest Nicholson)


Contractor procurement
  • 100% of our directly procured contracts over £1 million from within a 25-mile radius
  • We have three contractor frameworks and six consultancy frameworks
  • Innovation in the demolition of reinforced aircraft hangars reduced time spent on each hangar from 23 to 4 days
  • Significant disruption and capital costs saved through early engagement with Anglian Water to route pipework away from public highway
  • £10.8 million committed through S106 for education and transport facilities in 2019
Affordable homes
  • Minimum of 12% within Key Phase 1 with a viability review providing increases per phase to policy of 35%


Building nature at Alconbury has been integral to our designs from the very beginning, because we know how well-planned spaces can provide benefits for both physical and mental health. We are committed to planting more trees, enhancing biodiversity and improving access to green spaces to improve both the environment and wellbeing of the residents. We also consider the environmental impact of our operations a key consideration in everything we do.

Achievements demonstrating how we enhance natural value:

Public open space
  • 100% of our green infrastructure has five-year management plans for both ecology and landscaping
Biodiversity net gain
  • When completed Key Phase 1 is predicted to achieve a 3.7% net gain in biodiversity value
Priority species

The design of landscaping and ecology corridors protects multiple priority species of birds, bats and bees

Trees for life
  • Within Key Phase 1 there will be c.51,000 trees from over 87 different species:
    • providing a tree canopy cover of 33% (compared to the average canopy cover across the UK of 17%);
    • storing over 170 tonnes of carbon each year;
    • removing a total of 1.24 tonnes of airborne pollutants each year;
    • creating a total leaf area of 74.5 ha;
    • reducing runoff by an estimated 1,630m³ a year; and
    • with a total replacement cost, on a like for like basis, of £4.77 million.
Water use
  • All homes are designed with water saving fixtures to help residents only use 110 litres of water per person per day; this exceeds building regulations of 125 litres per person per day   
  • 31% of new grey infrastructure by tonnage is from material recycled on site
  • 86% of new green infrastructure by tonnage is from material recycled on site
  • Average energy performance certificate for the commercial buildings delivered by Urban&Civic is 25 (A rating)
  • 139.4 tonnes of CO2e produced from the new buildings operated by Urban&Civic


People are our number one priority; this includes the people who work for us, as well as those building, working and living on our sites. We do this by fostering a culture of safety, allowing employees to express their voice and investing in people to help them feel safe, confident and able to grow.

Achievements demonstrating how we nurture human value:

  • c.300 homes occupied
Healthy lifestyles
  • Alconbury selected as a case study for Sport England’s Active Design Principles
  • Ermine Street Church Academy allotments opened in November 2018
  • 1,727m² of permanent growing space provided across Key Phase 1
  • 1,590 m² of orchards provided across Key Phase 1
Mental health
  • Eight employees have completed mental health first aid training
Healthy eating
  • Ermine Street Church Academy allotments opened in November 2018
  • 1727m² of permanent growing space provided across Key Phase 1
  • 1590m² of orchards provided across Key Phase 1
Health and safety
  • 91% of on-site employees have attended a health and safety briefing in the last six months
  • 100% of the on-site project management team have attended a CDM course within the last 12 months
  • 22% of on-site employees are trained fire wardens and 11% are trained first aiders
  • There have been no RIDDORs on site since 2017
  • Three safety meetings held per quarter ​​​
Emergency support
  • 79% of dwellings are within 250m of an automated external defibrillator (AED)