Shropshire Council delivers UK’s first carbon-neutral highways maintenance programme
Shropshire Council is currently delivering a £1m carbon-neutral highways maintenance programme, the first such programme led by a council in the UK.
Working in collaboration with contractors Kier and Miles Macadam, and engineering consultants WSP, a trial programme of highways maintenance schemes is currently being delivered across the county.
This recognises the vital need to maintain and operate a safe road network, whilst acknowledging and addressing the effect these operations can have on the environment.
The sites that have been completed to date include the A41 at Grindley Brook, the A53 at Shawbury and the A442 at Quatt.
The remaining 11 sites in the trial programme will be delivered by June 2021.
Careful consideration was given to reducing the embodied carbon of the construction materials at the design stage by using lower mixing temperatures, lower energy resources and lower bitumen content, whilst producing greater durability than conventional materials.
This has led to a reduction of approximately 150 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The remaining 300 tonnes of carbon produced by the programme has been offset through Miles Macadam’s verified carbon reduction programme, which invests in the protection of the Amazon Rainforest.
In addition, this programme also provides Shropshire Council with a variety of British woodland trees to offset the equivalent total embodied CO2, through its ‘Community Tree Scheme’ initiative.
This process ensures that the benefits of carbon offsetting from local highway projects are kept in Shropshire, and demonstrates the commitments made by Shropshire Council and its partners to combat climate change at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
Shropshire Council has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net carbon zero by 2030, following a climate emergency declaration in May 2019.
Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:
“Whilst there is a lot more to be done, this is a positive step forward, especially for an industry that is heavily reliant on the use of natural resources. By working with highways specialists, Shropshire Council’s highways team and their partners will have delivered the first carbon neutral, routine highways maintenance programme in the UK and setting an example for the rest to follow.”
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health & climate change, said:
“This is a great initiative. We’ve always said we wanted Shropshire Council to be at the cutting edge of the fight against climate change and this is yet another example of how the council is leading the way.”