Highways England outlines plan to decarbonise strategic road network


Highways England has announced its new carbon plan that will see it cut carbon from road construction, maintenance and operations, and support the transition to zero emission vehicles.

The plan sets out a comprehensive roadmap to rapidly decarbonise the strategic road network (SRN). Highways England plans to achieve this by putting roads at the heart of Britain’s net zero future through three key commitments; achieving net zero for its own operations by 2030, delivering net zero road maintenance and construction by 2040; and supporting net zero carbon travel on our roads by 2050.

Contractors and suppliers will also be required to act, including commitments to reduce carbon year-on-year by using the latest technologies, so that by 2040 our road maintenance and construction is near zero emissions.

The company has been progressing towards net zero for some time, with examples including having already introduced plug-in hybrid vehicles to its fleet, installed more effective LED lighting on the M62, utilised recycling and solar power for resurfacing on the A590, and launched electric vehicle trials with Leeds, Coventry, Sheffield, Kent and Nottingham Councils.

Highways England will generate more electricity from renewables, work with its supply chain to transition to net zero construction and support low carbon travel, all while identifying further opportunities to deliver wider sustainable development, such as green spaces and biodiversity.

Highways England is taking action by the following dates: by 2025 Highways England has made a Greening Government Commitment to reduce its own carbon emissions by 75% compared with the 2017/18 baseline.

By 2030 Highways England will be net-zero for its own carbon emissions. This includes switching to LED lighting, changing its vehicle fleet to electric and planting up to 3 million additional trees

By 2040 all construction and maintenance activities carried out on the Strategic Road Network will be net-zero.

By 2050, all vehicles on its network will be net-zero. To support that Highways England is taking action in this Road Period (2020-2025): to provide charging infrastructure on network and create a blueprint of on-road services for electric vehicles; to train our Traffic Officers to meet the needs of electric vehicles in incident recovery; to support modal shift and integration of modes; to act as an expert advisor and assessor for Government’s trials of emerging zero-carbon HGV technologies.