Motorways and communities

APRR is committed to biodiversity protection and rational resource management. APRR’s wide-ranging initiatives to preserve biodiversity include biological corridors, wildlife crossings and bat roosts. 
APRR also strives to harness the know-how available within the Group and to adopt lean techniques that limit consumption of natural resources

Take it from the expert

"Motorways offer many opportunities to make a practical contribution to the “national biodiversity strategy”. APRR interacts directly with natural habitats and has for many years taken part in efforts to analyse the behaviour of plant and wildlife species and to implement conservation and risk prevention measures. For example, as part of the National Biodiversity Strategy, APRR operates a network of employee beekeepers."

Valérie David
Sustainable Development Director, Eiffage

Making the motorway a biodiversity partner

APRR is committed to a number of short- and medium-term plant and wildlife conservation projects due to run until 2018-2020.  

A wide range of structures - including biological corridors, wildlife crossings and tunnels, observatories and bat roosts - have been built to protect animal species, including, for example, along the A39 motorway between Dole and Bourg-en-Bresse or near Grenoble in the Grésivaudan valley. On the A39, the wildlife crossings designed to provide safe passage to animals are located only 4 km apart (there are a total of 38 such crossings on this 150 km motorway).

The Group encourages employees and customers alike to get involved in the National Biodiversity Strategy. A beekeeping project in partnership with the Bzzz Network saw hives being set up at many of the Group’s operational facilities. Numerous APRR employees have since become volunteer beekeepers, taking care of their hives and harvesting honey each year. To protect plant life, APRR advocates only limited use of pesticides and the adoption of environmentally friendly, rational mowing practices, resulting in many flowering meadows growing alongside the network. 

APRR is also rolling out "biodiversity-compatible motorway areas". The Group erects informative signs to make motorists more aware of the rich biodiversity at certain motorway areas, and underscore the importance of preserving biodiversity. 

In a forward-looking approach, APRR and Eiffage are cooperatively researching solutions to make sustainable motorways a reality. Whether as a member of the “linear infrastructure and biodiversity club” (CILB) or within the framework of the ITTECOP programme  (backed by the French environmental management agency (ADEME) and the French ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy), APRR researches ways to integrate large infrastructures into natural ecosystems. 

Optimising water management

APRR and AREA have unveiled new multi-year water resource protection programmes within the framework of the 2014-2018 planning contracts. The Group has developed a resource conservation policy based on managing consumption, preventing pollution, standardising best practices and developing innovative solutions. 

Water management has been optimised by creating a network that transfers water from catchment areas to watercourses. This network also drains all runoff water from the motorway platform via special, multipurpose treatment ponds.

The Group has made a series of commitments regarding everyday operations. In particular, work sites are organised to decrease consumption, increase recycling and prevent pollution. Teams are mobilised to manage spillage pollution risks and drainage facilities.

Organising the resource conservation strategy

APRR has been entrusted with a natural heritage covering more than 1,000 hectares of verges, earth banks, central reservations and motorway areas. The ground, and natural spaces more generally, are subject to a dedicated “Natural Spaces policy”. This policy aims to keep employees, nearby residents and customers safe, while upholding the company’s environmental commitments and optimising the service life of motorway structures. 

APRR has developed widely-acknowledged resource conservation and management expertise. In particular, the Group applies innovative techniques and methodologies in the areas of road salting, tree lagging and the use of fertilizers and other plant care products. The Group shares its experience with employees via awareness-raising and best practice sharing initiatives. 
Since 2011, APRR has been operating a road pavement material recycling policy, which defines recycling variants and sets targets for recycled coated aggregate contents.

Each winter, APRR activates its “winter driving” programme to enable customers to travel even in the event of snow or black ice. 60,000 tonnes of salt are spread on the roads. APRR has now replaced its use of coarse salt extracted from Mediterranean salt marshes with an industrial by-product known as salt fines. This initiative, developed with local partners at AREA’s initiative, combines technical expertise, economic benefits and a smaller ecological footprint. In 2012, it received a Special Mention from the judging panel in the "Industrial Ecology" category at the Enterprise and Environment Awards (Prix Entreprise et Environnement). 

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