UK to become ‘world leader’ for decarbonising highways
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Future roads could be built using asphalt made from grass cuttings and “carbon capturing” cement, supported by £30million Government funding awarded to seven innovative projects. The net zero schemes aim to ensure the latest tech and innovation can reduce emissions and improve regional connectivity.
Seven projects spread across the UK, from Lanarkshire to Devon, have been awarded funding today through the Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads competition.
The programme supports projects led by Local Highways Authorities focused on tackling the long-term decarbonisation of highways infrastructure, such as streetlights, and transforming local authorities’ approach to decarbonising roads.
The winning projects include cutting carbon emissions from our streetlights to producing asphalt made from green waste like grass cuttings.
Other projects plan to drive changes to the design, construction and maintenance of typical UK highway construction.
Another involves the development of a first-of-its-kind system approach to creating a net carbon-negative model for green infrastructure delivery.
Richard Holden, Roads Minister, said: “The UK is a world leader in technology and innovation and we must use that strength to both drive decarbonisation and the next generation of high tech jobs that go alongside it.
“We are supporting this vital agenda to help level-up through £30million funding for ground-breaking projects and boosting regional connections to support growth.
“The Government is determined to create good, well paid jobs – via innovation and investment across the UK – as we accelerate the road to net zero.”
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The seven successful Local Highways Authorities and their partners will be provided funding, subject to due diligence, to develop, test, pilot and roll out new technologies to facilitate decarbonisation, including in supply chain emissions.
One of the programmes which has been given funding from the Government is the Wessex Partnership goal of creating “Net Zero Corridors”.
It will pioneer net zero roads that are built without creating more carbon emissions overall in Somerset, Cornwall, and Hampshire in nine “net zero corridors” linking rural and urban areas.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is planning to spend some of the money on decarbonising street lighting in the area.
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The plan is to work on increasing efficiency for low carbon lighting to make sure they can still be clearly seen by drivers and to create a framework for an alternative manual for highway lighting, signing and road marking.
Live Labs 2 is designed to ensure innovations are shared across the whole of the UK and bidders were encouraged to create partnerships across the public and private sector, and academia.
Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT, said: “Tackling the carbon impact of our highways’ infrastructure is critical to our path to net zero but hard to address, so I am pleased that bidding was so competitive.
“Live Labs 2 has a huge ambition – to fundamentally change how we embed decarbonisation into our decision-making and to share our learning with the wider sector to enable behaviour change.
“Each project will bring local authority-led innovation and a collaborative approach to create a long-lasting transformation of business as usual. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from our successful bidders and taking that into my own organisation.”
Live Labs 2 is funded by the Department of Transport (DfT) and organised by The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).
This represents “directors of place” who are responsible for providing day-to-day services, such as local highways, as well as strategic long-term delivery.
This programme follows the previous and successful Live Labs 1, a £22.9million innovation programme that focused on the adoption of digital technology across the local roads sector in England.
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