Ferrovial - Integrated annual report 2013 / Biodiversity


Ferrovial is aware of the impact that some of its activities have on the natural environment. In recent years, the company has developed innovative methods to mitigate such effects, capitalizing on the company’s technological and scientific advances in the environmental restoration of infrastructure. Work is also being done to offset the damage that cannot be mitigated on site by offsetting mechanisms in countries that have a consolidated scheme in place with sufficient experience (e.g. the U.S.).

In addition, in 2013 the company has committed itself to the Spanish Companies and Biodiversity Initiative (IEEB) promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Ferrovial has been one of the first companies to subscribe the agreement. The initiative aims to “integrate natural capital into business policy and management, supporting large and medium-sized companies”.

With this commitment, Ferrovial undertakes to include biodiversity in its business policy and develop its activity guaranteeing the conservation of biological diversity, the appropriate and sustainable use of its components and the fair and just distribution of the profits acquired by the use of genetic resources. In addition, the company will have to undertake actions such as the following: analyze the impact of its activity on biodiversity and natural resources, include natural protection in its management manuals, set realistic and measurable targets for conservation of biological variety and incorporate into its annual reports the activities and results obtained in this area.

Activities in protected or ecologically valuable areas

Linear infrastructures such as highways or rail track, as well as the execution of large public works, have a significant impact on biodiversity, both in terms of occupying space and the destruction or profound alteration of habitat, and the fragmentation of the territory.

With the aim of mitigating the environmental impact and risks derived from the activities in the best way possible, work is being done to put into practice the processes of ecological restoration as well as the application of procedures for evaluating and managing risks designed specifically for these kinds of situations. However, these interventions are subject to demanding environmental legislation, normally through an Environmental Impact Statement.

In cases of temporary sites, under certain conditions the company will be authorized to occupy such sites provided that a series or prevention, mitigation and control measures are implemented with regards to the environmental impact of occupying the site. With this risk in mind, Ferrovial Agroman has consolidated the implementation of a specific procedure that is used to identify, evaluate and quantitatively monitor such situations and associated risks, as well as implementing measures to offset environmental impacts.

In 2013 work was carried out on 31 sites subject to the Environmental Impact Statement. There were restrictions due to protected fauna in 14 of them; 15 were located in Protected Natural Areas; and 20 had high-quality watercourses nearby.

For each of these sites specific “Environmental risk planning and monitoring measures” were prepared and overseen by the company’s central services.

Collaboration on the Euroscut Açores highway in the “SOS Pardela” campaign

The Cory’s Shearwater (“pardela”) is a protected marine bird that nests in the Azores for the last two months of the year. In 2012 the Secretary for the Environment and Sea of the Government of the Azores and the organization “Amigos de las Azores” (Friends of the Azores) asked the concessionaire to help, as most of the deaths of these birds took place due to traffic on the roads. Given that the toll road carries out 24-hour surveillance with vehicles along the concession, it agreed to collect the birds that are injured and located on the toll road. They are then delivered immediately to centers for recovery. The “Amigos de los Azores” association gave a course to the surveillance team so that they know how to act. They were also given a manual on collecting these animals.

Radial 4 toll road

The Radial 4 Toll Road is working with the Environment Department of the Autonomous Region of Madrid on conserving the temporary or hidden wetland water ecosystem located in the highway’s zone of influence. This ecosystem has been formed naturally by the accumulation of a large amount of rainwater in a hollow in the ground. The presence of water in what is a much drier environment leads to a high level of biodiversity and the appearance of communities of hydrophilic vegetation such as reeds and unusual aquatic plants. In addition, this natural reservoir is an important watering and feeding area for numerous species of birds, many included in the Regional Catalog of Threatened Species of wild flora and fauna, such as the Booted Eagle, Hen Harrier, the Eurasian Stone-Curlew, the Great Gray Shrike, the Calandra Lark, etc.

Euroscut Algarve

The Euroscut Algarve toll road has worked with the association Centro de Recuperación e Investigación de Animales Salvages de la Ria Formosa (Center for the Recovery and Research of Wild Animals in Ria Formosa - RIAS) by handing over a Griffon Vulture that was found and taken in near the highway. These birds begin their migration from Andalusia in the months of September and October toward Africa. The journey involves a great expenditure of energy and some of them are weakened or become malnourished, so it is important that they receive immediate assistance when they are found.

Once the Griffon Vulture was found it was freed together with seven others found by other associations in an action organized by Centro de Estudios de la Avifauna Ibérica (Centre for Studies of Iberian Birdlife) as part of the LIFE “Innovation against Poisoning” project. The freed birds are tagged on their wings to help their visual location and thus to allow them to be monitored within the monitoring program for species that are bio-indicators for the use of poisons.


Heathrow Airport has been awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark Award from The Wildlife Trust for the sixth year in a row. So far, the London airport is the only one to have received this award.

The airport actively manages around 100 hectares across 13 sites for natural conservation. The area includes four nature reserve areas that are open to the public.

In its award to Heathrow, The Wildlife Trust highlighted the special care given to certain natural species.

The ARTBA Globe Award for Environmental Excellence in Construction

The LBJ Express project received the ARTBA Globe Award for Environmental Excellence During Construction. These awards are given to private-sector companies for their efforts in protecting and enhancing the environment during the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects in the United States of America.

The environmental team of the LBJ Express Project was recognized for its Comprehensive Environmental Protection Program, as well as its Soil and Groundwater Management Plan, which has been used to manage any heavy metals discovered during construction. Additionally, the environmental team has reused millions of cubic meters of excavated soil in other parts of the project and has donated soil for use in other City of Dallas and State of Texas projects. The project also tested, treated and recycled groundwater to help with problems of drought in North Texas.