HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – has begun construction at the site of its first innovative ‘green tunnel’, designed to blend the high-speed railway into the landscape and reduce disruption for communities.

Unlike a normal underground tunnel, the one-and-a-half mile (2.5km) Chipping Warden green tunnel in Northamptonshire is being built on the surface using a pioneering off-site manufacturing approach to speed up construction and improve efficiency.

The off-site approach will see more than 5,000 giant concrete tunnel segments made in a factory in Derbyshire, creating up to 100 local jobs, before being assembled on site. The completed tunnel will then be covered by earth, with trees, shrubs and hedgerows planted to fit in with the surrounding countryside.

Chipping Warden is one of five ‘green tunnels’ that are being built on Phase One of the HS2 project, which is designed to improve links between London, Birmingham and the North, help level-up the economy and provide a zero carbon alternative to car and air travel.