In the CSR Strategy for 2016-2020, we declare we want to “Be a neighbour, guest and partner for local communities”. Thus, we support, among others, limiting the negative impact of our activities on the inhabitants of the areas adjacent to our sites and on local ecosystems. This obligation applies also to subcontractors. In practice, when we limit the impact on the social environment, we also limit the impact on the natural environment, as it means the same levels of noise or dust exposure.
The starting point for long-term minimisation of the impact of a given construction project is its responsible planning. This means, for example, the design of animal crossings in accordance with their migration routes or the ecotone zones in forests along the routes that protect the forest ecosystem. In order to protect nature, water drainage systems are created and transparent sound-absorbing screens are erected. Formally, the design preparation process, including public consultation and environmental impact level, for the given investment constitutes the investor’s responsibility. As a general contractor, we have no direct impact on these issues. However, as a designer for a given contract, they are fully responsible for the investment preparation with regard to its environmental and social aspects.
Yet, to minimise our impact as a general contract, we carefully prepare and organise construction sites, facilities, properly route technological roads, etc., so that our works are as troubleless as possible from the point of view of road participants and surrounding residents. Construction site facilities, warehouses, yards and transportation bases are firstly located on already developed and transformed grounds. If possible, the construction site is located within a sufficient distance from inhabited areas. During the project implementation, we try to transport materials and raw materials mainly on already designated rights-of-way. We also protect tree roots and trunks against mechanical damage related to the use of heavy equipment. We separate animal and plant habitats, while water reservoirs are protected against potential contamination with chemical substances (e.g. oil derivatives). After the completion of works, we restore the environment condition to the nearest possible condition from before the construction. To compensate nature for losses, new trees are planted in place of the trees which had to be cut down. Even the top layer of soil (humus) that had to be removed is reused. It is common to conduct the so-called metaplantation, i.e. to move plants from construction sites to new sites of the same requirements and qualities. If it is necessary to backfill a small reservoir, amphibians, reptiles and birds living in this location are transferred to a safe place upon their capture. In 2019, nearly 2 500 amphibian specimens were transferred, such as green toad, moor frog, common frog, common toad, smooth newt, as well as six species of reptiles, such as viviparous lizard.
The work schedule depends on the natural cycle, which, for instance, affects work halting in the migration period of forest animals, amphibians or fish, or in the bird breeding season. All works comply with legal requirements, including those regarding the Natura 2000 areas. There is also conducted an environmental control of the impact area and habitats on a given territory, while environmental observation is conducted after the project completion. For all investments that may significantly affect the natural environment, we prepare an environmental impact report pursuant to the applicable legal regulations. Works on the report involve experts from various areas, such as ornithology, herpetology, botany, etc. The report presents potential risks and recommendations of solutions that mitigate the investment effects as much as possible. All pro-environmental actions are supported by environmental specialists who monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, issue conclusions, guidelines and recommendations, such as naturalists, botanists, ichthyologists, dendrologists. Most construction sites are subject to environmental supervision according to environmental decisions and contracts with an entity ordering a given investment. Sometimes supervision is carried out at the request of the contract management or preventively, even when the law does not require this. This is simply the precautionary principle as applied by us.
On construction sites, we place information boards about the location of the construction waste landfill site, place to wash concrete pumps, where special care should be taken due to the occurrence of protected species or tree protection zones. Such information allows employees and subcontractors to take care of environmental protection. We have implemented the associated system for visual identification of environmental protection standards only recently, in 2018, and the presence of relevant markings is verified during audits of the construction site assessment system.
One of the principles in force at our construction sites is to have the so-called environmental first aid kit, which includes materials for quick containment and neutralisation of spills of environmentally hazardous substances, such as oils or petroleum products. The kits are stored in marked places and the workers are informed about those places. In accordance with the precautionary principle, any potential contamination is treated as environmentally hazardous until its type and source are determined. Another requirement is to manage the waste produced, keep its records and collect it.
Our Environmental Protection Team, which carries out inspections and audits on the executed contracts, is responsible for the compliance with the adopted environmental protection rules. In 2019, there were no environmental incidents or accidents that would cause environmental damage. No significant substance spillages were observed as a result of conducted monitoring. No fines or others sanctions were imposed on our capital group companies for the violation of environmental regulations. In 2019, two inspections were carried out by the voivodeship environmental protection supervisors. In both cases, Budimex did not agree with their content and therefore the cases are pending.
Specific risks are related to the activities of our other companies. Waste management activities (FBSerwis) entail the risk of environmental pollution associated with incorrect waste handling, e.g. waste storage in an ill-equipped place. As a result, dangerous substances may leak into the soil and water environment or malodorous substances may be emitted. Any failure to comply with the applicable rules of conduct may also result in excessive emission of noise and air pollutants. FBSerwis carries out waste management activities according to the general environmental protection requirements and relevant administrative decisions (integrated permits, permit to collect or process waste). The permits specify the framework for activities and determine:
The applied procedures include, but are not limited to, the waste stream management and management of emissions to the environment (including e.g. prevention and minimisation of emissions; treatment of waste gas streams).
In 2019, FBSerwis took a number of measures to adapt its activities to the new legal requirements. The fire protection conditions were agreed for waste management plants and storage and transport bases. In all places where waste was collected or treated, new video surveillance systems were installed. In 2019, works related to the infrastructure modernisation and extension (extension of halls and storage yards, adaptation to fire protection requirements) started.
In 2019, two fire incidents occurred in the Waste Management Plant operated by FBSerwis Kamieńsk Sp. z o.o.: