CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has praised the support given by a Milton Keynes-based construction equipment hire and service provider in supplying generators to Ukraine and for its drive towards zero carbon status.
Mr Sunak toured the new net carbon-zero innovation centre at Speedy’s base in Kiln Farm yesterday (Thursday June 9) after the company donated almost 300 generators to Ukraine’s war effort.
He also a Q&A session with Speedy employees.
The generators are now in use in Eastern Ukraine to help keep essential services running, from relief centres and hospitals to phone masts and water pumping stations.
The innovation centre in Milton Keynes, which represents the sector’s first net carbon-zero hire centre and employs more than 50 people, is also supporting contractors building the first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham, providing low-emission equipment to help meet the project’s sustainability goals, from electric lighting towers to track laying machinery.
Speedy, which operates 200 fixed sites across the UK and works with the industry’s largest contractors, says the innovation centre forms a key part of its commitment to creating a more sustainable industry.
Speedy chief executive Russell Down said: “The Chancellor’s visit reflects the importance of the work we are doing in creating carbon savings for major infrastructure projects, such as HS2, and in providing the industry with a blueprint for minimising the environmental impact of supply chain networks across the UK.
“Customers across construction will increasingly need to interrogate the sustainability of their supply chains if we are to achieve carbon-zero. We recognise our role and responsibility as a key intermediary for the sector, which is why we are making significant commitments to invest in the equipment and ways of working that will support our customers deliver more sustainable projects.”
Mr Sunak said: “It was fantastic to hear about the work Speedy is doing to support people in Ukraine. People all across the UK are doing their part as we stand against Putin’s illegal invasion.
“I know that many people have felt anxious in recent months about rising costs and it was great to hear some of the questions from Speedy staff here in Milton Keynes.”
He told Speedy’s staff that the cut to National Insurance due to be implemented from next month will leave £330 more a year in workers’ pockets. The government’s £37 billion package of support is cutting £400 off every household’s energy bill and paying £1,200 to the eight million most vulnerable households, he added.
Speedy’s ECO range of low carbon and carbon-zero tools and equipment accounts for 30 per cent of its itemised hire fleet, with the aim for its ECO products to account for the majority of its itemised fleet by 2027.
The innovation centre showcases the latest electric, solar and hydrogen-powered tools and equipment from manufacturers ranging from Hilti to Generac and the MX Fuel range from Milwaukee which is exclusively available for hire from Speedy.
All commercial vehicles operating out of the site are either fully electric or fuelled by hydrotreated vegetable oil, which emits up to 90% less carbon dioxide emissions when compared to red diesel.
Powered by 670 solar panels, the centre uses energy efficient lighting and climate control technology and is home to a wellbeing and wildflower garden – an 18-metre living wall and beehives made from repurposed hard hats.
The site also uses furniture, from desks to garden benches, made from recycled materials to help further lower its environmental impact.