M25 junction 28 – supporting the local community


02 Apr 2024

While our focus is maintaining and improving roads, we believe having a positive impact on our neighbours is just as important, especially where we’re carrying our major improvements.

M25 junction 28 – supporting the local community

We’ve pulled together some of the activities we’ve been doing in the community around our improvement scheme at junction 28 on the M25.

You can find the latest information about the scheme on our project webpage.

In the community

Click a heading to find out more

Here in the south east, we’re lucky to have loads of amazing heritage both above and below the ground that not only tells the story of our region, but sometimes also how transport has evolved.   

One such site is that of Maylands Aerodrome. Once home to Hillman’s Airways, a pioneer of package holidays, the site in Essex will soon be used for transport once again, but this time very much on the ground.

Archaeologists have been busy on our site at M25 junction 28, where we’re working to improve the link between the M25 anticlockwise and A12 eastbound, to find out more about the Aerodrome and what else might be hidden below the ground.

In 2022, local historical and archaeology groups were invited to site to learn about its history from the team, and Tony Philpot, Chairman of the RAF Hornchurch Historical Trust, and author of a book on the aerodrome’s history.

M25 junction 28 Archaeology visit

And you may be wondering what happens to these artefacts found – including glass bottles and containers – linked to the site’s aviation past? They have been handed over to the RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre to create a new display celebrating the Maylands Aerodrome.

It’s not just recent history, the team uncovered what is believed to be a 7,000-year-old axe head or adze from the Mesolithic period. 

By taking this considerate approach to our work today, we’re able to preserve the work of the engineers and pioneers of the past.

M25 junction 28 Heritage Museum

In aumtumn 2023, the team were approached by Harold Hill Deer Aid – a non-funded, non-profit making charity made up of local residents – to see if we could help with new equipment to support the charity’s work. And the team thought it was a stag-geringly good i-deer!

The group respond to both deer and other wildlife incidents in this region and work very closely with the emergency services, to not only rescue animals, but make sure they get any further treatment they need.
Following a generous donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including hi-visibility clothing, boots, safety glasses, handheld and head torches, gloves, and heavy-duty scissors – the team will be protected from head to toe (or should that be head to doe?) while carrying out their amazing rescues.

Harold Hill Deer Aid Volunteer, Jan Sergent, said: “I would like to thank GRAHAM and National Highways for listening to our concerns and recommendations. The staff we have spoken with have been more than accommodating and have taken our group seriously which we greatly appreciate."

“Your very kind donation of PPE will enable us to continue carrying out our work safely, confidently, and efficiently, therefore, benefiting not only us but the animals we are trying to help and protect. We are very humbled that you chose to donate to our cause. Your kindness means everything to us.”

We think the work this charity does is simply fantastic and were delighted to be able to help such a worthy cause.🦌

M25 junction 28 Harold Hill Deer Charity donation

We’ve also been doing plenty on our site to protect wildlife, including keeping deer safe by installing hundreds of metres of new protective deer fencing. The fencing not only stops deer and other wildlife from entering our site, but also prevents them from wandering onto the busy M25 and A12, making journeys safer for both wildlife and motorists.

Hidden animal highway

We’ll be putting in a culvert to allow the Grove Brook to flow under the new exit for traffic leaving the A12 eastbound. However, this culvert has a very special secret, we spoke to project manager Zach to find out more:

“Hidden away within the Grove Brook culvert, there’ll be a secret new highway just for wildlife. Water flows along the base and running the full length of the culvert, there will be a ‘mammal shelf’ to allow wildlife, such as water voles and otters to safely travel under the road without getting their feet wet.

“This is just one of the innovative approaches we’ll be delivering on the scheme that helps support and protect the wildlife that lives along-side our network. It has also been recognised as best practice within the industry by the Considerate Constructor Scheme.”

M25 junction 28 animal highway


Fin-tastic fish relocation

In August 2023, the scheme found a temporary new habitat for wildlife in Weald Brook.

The project team had the challenge of balancing the delivery of the essential improvement scheme, while protecting the wildlife and biodiversity surrounding it.

To start installing steel girders for the new Maylands and Grove bridges, the team need to temporarily divert the Weald Brook. No expense was spared for the water’s inhabitants, as approximately 600 fish and 12 other species were painstakingly relocated to a new home.

Ecologists found a 50cm long European eel and several Bullhead fish, which are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

The brook will be returned to its natural route and its residents moved back in once the works are complete.

M25 junction 28 fish relocation

💐 Spring has sprung on our scheme, as the team puts petal to the metal to plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs for a local charity.

Located close to our improvement scheme in Essex, the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery welcomed a team of willing volunteers to plant trees, shrubs, hedges, and plants around their new state-of-the-art building and grounds in early 2024.

The green-fingered crew, armed with spades and wheelbarrows, made the short trip over the A12 from our construction site between Romford and Brentwood to plant over 1,000 different species of plants, and deliver several tonnes of topsoil.

🙏🏻 Praising the team’s efforts Farouk Ismail, Gardens of Peace Trustee said: “It was a pleasure meeting the eager team of volunteers who undertook some extensive tree and shrub planting at our Maylands Fields site on Colchester Road.

“We would like to express our thanks to the team for their great community spirit and goodwill by offering to supply topsoil and the workforce to carry out the planting in record time, notwithstanding the aches and pains that go with such work.

“We are delighted with the outcome and as a charity, we welcome and much appreciate your generous support for our community project.”

M25 junction 28 Gardens of Peace volunteering

Littering is a dreadful social problem. It’s not just unsightly, it can have a deadly impact on wildlife and the environment, and it’s dangerous for those who have to go out and collect it from beside our roads. Each year, as a country, we spend hundreds of millions of pounds clearing up litter.

In March 2023, a brave team took time out of the scheme to take part in the Great British Spring Clean, by carrying out a litter pick along the A12.

Collecting a whopping 30 black bags of rubbish, some of the more interesting finds included:

  • a pair of ski goggles
  • a child’s electric car, which looks to have been involved in an RTC, driver had already fled the scene
  • four industrial batteries
  • a frying pan and cutlery
  • multiple vapes and tobacco packets.

👷🏻‍♀️ Project support officer Megan commented “We’re always keen to get stuck in where we can and do our part for the local community, and the Great British Spring Clean is a great opportunity for us to do that.”

M25 junction 28 Great British Spring Clean

Helping charities to have egg-traordinary Easter 2024

Our egg-cellent site team has done the cracking job of collecting more than 100 Easter eggs for local charities.

🐰 Taking on the role of Easter Bunny, the eggs have been delivered to SNAP, a charity based in Brentwood that supports families with children and young people who have additional needs or disability, and the Salvation Army, Harold Hill, providing practical help and support for people in need in the community.


International Women’s Day

On Friday 8 March, the scheme celebrated International Women’s Day by bringing together women from National Highways, our construction partners, and representatives from the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) to talk about the unique perspectives and contributions of women in the industry.

Following the day, Assistant Project Manager Lauren said: “I’m proud to be part of a team, and wider organisation, that not only has inspirational women at all levels, but supports and encourages equality and diversity.  It was a great to come together as women working in construction and engineering to discuss our experiences and the wealth of knowledge these women have obtained through the incredible opportunities our industries have provided.”

M25 junction 28 IWD


Ready, set, glow…lighting up Harold Hill Christmas lights

We were ‘de-lighted’ to support the Harold Hill Christmas light switch on event held in 2023. Organised by a group of volunteers, the event includes a Christmas market, fairground rides, entertainment and, of course, a chance to meet the big man himself – Santa in his Grotto. And we made sure each child visiting the grotto received a gift.

Harold Hill Christmas Light Switch on, Committee Member, Jan Sergent said: “We are now very proud to say that with kind donations such as yours, once again we are able to bring a little Christmas Sparkle to our unique, fantastic community with Santa pressies for the children, lots of Christmassy stalls and a fun filled day of entertainment.”

M25 junction 28 Harold Hill lights


Food and toys donated to The Trussell Trust

We understand that sometimes people need a helping hand and will turn to food banks, especially around Christmas. In 2023, we were once again been able to donate a range of food products and toiletries to The Trussell Trust foodbank in Brentwood.

The team also held a collection in the office for a range of children’s toys to donate towards the Christmas toy appeal. The toys will be handed out to children who might not receive a gift this Christmas.

M25 junction 28 Trussell Trust


Volunteers help at Salvation Army Centre

Donning Christmas jumpers, volunteers from the scheme helped out at the Salvation Army Centre near our office in Guildford in December 2023. They were tasked with putting together Christmas food bags for families, decorating the centre ahead of their Christmas events, and organising the food bank ready for emergency food parcels.

M25 junction 28 Salvation Army volunteering


On your marks…set…bake

It was ‘on your marks…set…bake’ on site in September 2023, all in the name of charity.

With rewards handed out for star baker, and the best faker, the team enjoyed a well-earned coffee and cake break as part of the nationwide Macmillan Coffee Morning.

And following the fundraising efforts of the health and safety advisor, who has been undertaking a series of hikes and other events in memory of a close friend, the team have raised a whooping £1,500 for Macmillan – well done everyone.

M25 junction 28 Macmillan Coffee Morning

With such a major construction project on the doorstep, we’ve been working with local schools, universities, and careers services to inspire the next generation of engineers.


Inspiring the next generation at Crownfield Junior School

In early 2024, we visited Crownfield Junior School to deliver an inspiring career talk on the various job opportunities available within the construction industry to over 120, 10-11-year-old students.

“Aspirations” week which takes place every year has been organised by the teachers to allow the students to hear firsthand experiences about what it is like to work on a busy construction site.

A fantastic initiative that is invaluable to the student’s education journey, inspiring the next generation toward rewarding careers in construction.

M25 junction 28 Crownfield School


Our tunnel boring machine is ‘Simply the Best’

Pupils from the nearby Drapers Maylands Primary School have helped us to launch our Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) – Tina Turney – in late 2022.

M25 junction 28 TBM

The machine, which will be used to dig the new route of a gas main that’s being diverted as part of our improvements, recently arrived on site, and the pupils were there to meet her.

TBMs are traditionally given female names for luck, and a few weeks ago, the pupils had been challenged with the important job of coming up with a name for our machine.

The winner was Maanya, who came up with the name Turney, which was soon nicknamed Tina Turney.

M25 junction 28 TBM naming

The 44 year 5 and 6 pupils have been learning about tunnelling and our work at junction 28 from the team, as well as why engineering is such a vital job and the importance of site safety.

We look forward to keeping the students up to date with Tina’s progress, we might even inspire some future engineers or tunnellers.

Scheme rated as excellent

Our project achieved top marks and rated ‘excellent’ by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) in November 2023.

CCS is an independent organisation that aims to raise standards within the construction industry by promoting and supporting construction schemes in their efforts to care for the environment, local community, and their workforce.

Following our most recent visit by the independent assessor, the project gained top marks in all three categories – Respect the Community, Care for the Environment and Value the Workforce – and once again scored a maximum score of 45/45.

The assessor praised the project for: “…continuing to conform to the CCS Code of Considerate Practice to an excellent standard. Community communication and support arrangements remain very comprehensive and appearance standards are very high. It is great to see the progress in the site's social value plans and the wide range of community support and engagement activities that have been undertaken to date.”

Project manager Zach said: “I’m delighted that we’ve once again achieved top scores across the board from the Considerate Constructor Scheme. And having just achieved our first bridge lift – a significant milestone for the project – it’s great recognition of all the hard work that everyone is putting in to deliver this project safely, with consideration to those around us, road users and the environment.”

M25 junction 28 CCS November 23