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Sustainability and circular economy principles

HS2’s vision is to be a catalyst for growth. The adoption of circular economy principles can play a key role in delivering this. They do so by stimulating new approaches, products and services, and by creating employment opportunities.

Defining the circular economy

The circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy – a world of make, use, dispose. It’s where resources are kept in use and at their highest value for as long as possible. It can therefore thrive in the long term. It does this by decoupling economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources.

The circular economy is more than simply recycling; it involves looking at the entire life cycle of any process, creating and optimising value by reconsidering what might be seen as waste or system losses and identifying opportunities to achieve the best whole-life outcome.


By implementing circular economy principles HS2 could deliver efficiencies, economic, environmental and social benefits including:

  • lower capital and operational costs
  • increased whole life value
  • an avenue to resilient growth for the UK
  • reduced virgin non-renewable material use
  • reduced waste, carbon emissions, water use and environmental impact
  • improved health (of supply chain workforce and general public)
  • greater opportunities for collaboration
  • new job opportunities throughout the supply chain

HS2 circular economy principles

HS2’s three circular economy principles are to:

  • keep resources in use for as long as possible;
  • recover and regenerate resources at the end of each use; and
  • keep resources at their highest quality and value at all times.

These are complemented by our over-arching principle to use resources efficiently.

Resources are thought of in terms of materials, water, energy and carbon, as well as natural and social capital.

These principles are relevant to everything we and our supply chain do.


These principles need to be proactively considered throughout specification, design, procurement, construction and operation.

We wish to collaborate with our supply chain to explore and develop solutions which implement these principles and realise the benefits.