Flower power! Youngsters help National Highways brighten up new A-road


14 May 2024

Schoolchildren near to our M42 junction 6 upgrade scheme were recently invited to help plant wildflower seeds along the route of the new A4545 link road, helping us to mark the end of our centenary of A-roads celebrations and helping to boost biodiversity on the scheme.

Flower power! Youngsters help National Highways brighten up new A-road

The 2.4km dual carriageway link road aligned to the west of Bickenhill is currently under construction and is planned to open later this year. It’ll improve access to key businesses – including an expanding Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham International Station, the new HS2 interchange station – from a new junction (5a) on the M42.

The green-fingered team from Kingshurst Primary School with staff from National Highways and delivery partner Skanska.

Children from nearby Kingshurst Primary School joined staff from National Highways and our delivery partners at Skanska to plant a variety of species along the roadside including yarrow, wild carrot, musk mallow, common sorrel, common bent, smaller cat's tail, and slender creeping red fescue. Throughout the morning, the children learned about the importance of looking after our environment and the work we do to maintain biodiversity on this scheme.

Once the seeds were firmly bedded and watered, the children were then treated to a special demonstration from L Lynch Plant Hire and Haulage showing them how to stay safe around HGVs. They were shown about HGV blind spots and were given a demonstration showing a rigid Hiab - a vehicle made up of a truck, trailer and lorry-mounted crane all in one rigid structure - in action. Throughout their visit they were kitted out in personal protective equipment (PPE) donated by Greenham.

Know the zones: learning about safety around HGVs

Regional Delivery Director for National Highways’ major projects in the Midlands Anita Prashar said:

“At National Highways we are committed to our responsibility for the ongoing stewardship and evolution of A-roads, now and for the future. We’re delighted the children from Kingshurst primary school could join us to help make the new A4545 a colourful, biodiverse place that will attract wildlife and pollinators in the future, but also bring our year of celebrations for the centenary of A-roads to a fitting end.

“The new A4545 is an incredibly important part of the M42 J6 upgrade because it will unlock congestion and provide a new link to many key businesses and venues. Through increased capacity and more reliable journey times, the project as a whole will encourage continued investment in the regional economy and support new corporate, commercial and residential development opportunities.”

Teacher Viv Gittoes from Kingshurst Primary School said:

“It was a great privilege to be invited along on the day to help plant the wildflowers. The children had a marvellous time and really enjoyed themselves. They also loved being able to sit in the truck and learn more about how it worked. We are grateful that we were able to attend.”

Some of the Kingshurst schoolchildren water the newly-sown wildflower seeds

Dan Trathen, Project Director for Skanska, added:

“Our collaboration with Kingshurst primary school children to plant wildflower seeds along the road symbolizes our commitment to sustainability and biodiversity. It's been fantastic to involve local children in this initiative - they brought great enthusiasm and energy which resonates with Skanska’s commitment towards sustainable solutions.

“At Skanska, we believe in delivering projects that go beyond their primary purpose by contributing positively to local communities and environments. We are thrilled to contribute towards easing congestion through this project while also providing an attractive landscape for both wildlife and people who use the road.

“We look forward to seeing how this development will support regional economic investment while simultaneously enhancing residential, corporate, and commercial opportunities."

The A4545 is due to open this winter

You can read more about 100 Years of A-Roads here while further details about our M42 junction 6 improvement can be found here

View more images of the day below!