Ferrovial - Annual Report 2012


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Environmental restoration

Ferrovial is aware that its construction and infrastructure operations can have a significant impact on biodiversity, not only because physical space is occupied by works, with the subsequent destruction or profound alteration of habitats, but also due to fragmentation of the ecosystems that the natural environment sustains. Linear infrastructure, such as roads or railroad, have a particularly significant impact, as do large public works. Although in general such operations must comply with demanding environmental legislation, Ferrovial seeks to adhere to baseline standards of conduct to ensure that such environmental hazards are mitigated.

To this end a two-pronged approach is adopted:

  • Application of a risk assessment and management procedure designed specifically for these kinds of situations (see following section).
  • Implementation of ecological restoration processes, which Ferrovial has developed over the last decade in partnership with various scientific institutions.

Activities in protected or ecologically valuable areas

Of all Ferrovial's activities, civil works construction poses the greatest risk to protected environments and ecologically valuable spaces. As sites are temporary, under certain conditions the company will be authorized to occupy such sites provided that a series or prevention, mitigation and control measures are implemented with regards to the environmental impact of occupying the site. With this risk in mind, Ferrovial Agroman has had a specific procedure in place for more than two years that is used to identify, evaluate and quantitatively monitor such situations and associated risks, as well as implementing measures to offset environmental impacts.

In 2012 this procedure was used to identify a total of 55 temporary sites in sensitive habitats, all in the construction business. Of these, the majority corresponded to civil and industrial works (95.5%), while the rest were building works. The risks procedure was activated when projects involved legally protected spaces (42% of sites), the presence of protected fauna populations (25%) or surface waters of high ecological value (the remaining 33%). For each of these sites specific "Environmental risk planning and monitoring measures" were prepared and overseen by the company's central services.

There is also one permanent site in the Services area, specifically an urban waste treatment center managed by Cespa in the province of Alicante. This site affects the habitat of the Trumpeter Finch (bucanetes githagineus), a species included in Appendix I of the European Birds Directive. To prevent this species from being affected in any way, an exhaustive monitoring and control program has been implemented to watch for any impacts on the vegetation communities that this species of bird inhabits. At the same time, several partnerships have been set up with government research centers to monitor bird populations. Scientific studies resulting from these agreements have helped to develop a greater understanding of the ethology and ecology of this wild bird, in a context of global change.

Case study Technical manual on "Ecological restoration of areas affected by transport infrastructure"

Two decades ago Professor Jourdain wondered, "Why try to impose vegetation cover that projects our own imagination on an area where nature already has its own plans?" Ferrovial, one of the world's largest infrastructure companies, believes that an understanding of nature is required in order to design better environmental restoration that will help rebuild affected systems. There is no question that the most technically and economically efficient restoration projects will be those that, to some degree, help nature to recover on its own, capitalizing as far as possible on ecological processes.

To advance this understanding, for nearly ten years Ferrovial has been working closely with institutions such as the Spanish National Research Council, the Complutense University, Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, and more recently with Fundación Biodiversidad. The scientific results of this partnership, along with the conclusions drawn by the construction firm OHL and other research groups, have been "translated" into a technical language and become embodied in a text published by Spain's Ministry of Environment. The digital edition of the manual can be downloaded at http://www.Ferrovial.com/es/Calidad-y-Medio-Ambiente.


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This is an electronic version of the 2012 Annual Report prepared by Ferrovial, S.A. for its stakeholders, which aims to be complete and accurate. The contents of this version can be checked by referring to the print version. A copy of the print version in PDF format is available to download on this web page