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Leeds firm launches living wall to make national rail, housing and highways projects eco-friendly

A Leeds firm is launching an eco-friendly alternative to bricks and concrete, with a 120-year lifespan, which could transform rail and highways projects across the country.

Servo Group, which boasts existing contracts with Network Rail, Bamnuttall and Strata, is launching a ‘living wall’ to replace conventional railway and highway walls and gabion baskets. It is environmentally friendly, looks more attractive than conventional concrete and becomes carbon negative within a year of installation.

The Flex MSE system, which could be game-changing for the rail, housing and highways sector is likely to be taken up by most of Servo’s clients, which span the country, including Network Rail.

The retaining wall system will grow various vegetation options that allow it to blend into the natural environment, making it more visually pleasing as well as ecologically sound.

Steve Proctor from Servo said: “Almost every client, we have shown this to has been impressed and it will make a massive environmental impact on our sites both in Leeds and around the country. It is made using entirely recyclable materials and it will save our clients up to 40 per cent on install costs, as well as being far more visually attractive than traditional walls or gabion baskets.”

Along with its 120-year design life, the Flex MSE system also has a 75-year guarantee and takes up to two thirds of the time to install compared to a traditional system.

Replacing traditional solutions with more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as this, is a particular priority in Leeds, where the council pledged to make the city carbon neutral by 2030, in response to its declaration of a climate emergency back in 2019. Other cities such as Bristol, Nottingham and Oxford have also pledged their commitment to carbon neutrality to assist with the Government’s 2050 target for the entire country.

The retaining wall system has already been specified by Highways England, Network Rail, the Environment Agency and Natural England, and it has been recommended for sites of special scientific interest by the Environment Agency. The manufacturing process produces 97 per cent less greenhouse gases than concrete and 98.5% less than steel.

Steve Proctor added: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this product to our clients, saving them time and money and contributing to the fight against climate change in Leeds and cities around the country. The interest so far has been phenomenal, and as well as the environmental benefits it will make sites look far more natural and appealing.”

Leeds-based Servo Group is a multi-service provider that has achieved fast, national growth since its inception in 2014. The company, which provides reliable S.I.A licensed manned guarding, CCTV, vetted and screened rail labour, property management and construction services serves high-profile clients such as Buckingham Group, GMI and NHS.

The firm hit a £10m turnover in 2019 and expected to double over the next 2 years and has around 600 operatives working around the country. It has also been awarded some major rail tenders, including work on the upcoming HS2 build.

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