Shropshire’s carbon-neutral highways programme in running for national award
Shropshire Council’s £1m carbon-neutral highways maintenance programme – the first such programme in the UK – has been named as a finalist in the national Highways Awards 2021.
The programme has been shortlisted in the Environmental Sustainability in the Highways Sector category, with the winners to be announced on 21 October.
Working in collaboration with contractors Kier and Miles Macadam, and engineering consultants WSP, a trial programme of highways maintenance schemes was delivered across the county earlier this year.
Work was carried out at nine
sites, including the A41 at Grindley Brook, the A53 at Shawbury, the A442 at Quatt, Coalport Road, the A4117 from the B4363 to Snitton Lane, B4385 Purslow to Three Ashes, B4385 west of the A488, Birch Road in Ellesmere, and Oswestry Road in Trefonen.
For each scheme 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 led to a reduction of approximately 95-tonnes of carbon emissions (see notes).
The remaining 189 tonnes of carbon produced by the programme has been offset through Miles Macadam’s verified carbon reduction programme, and provided Shropshire Council with a variety of British woodland trees to offset the equivalent total embodied CO2, through its ‘Community Tree Scheme’ initiative.
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 Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said:
“This work 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.
“Shropshire Council’s highways team and our partners have delivered the first carbon neutral, routine highways maintenance programme in the UK and set an example for the rest to follow.
“I’m delighted that this work has been recognised through being shortlisted in the national Highways Awards.”
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, natural assets and the green economy, said:
“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.
“ 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.”
For information about the Highways Awards see https://www.highwaysawards.co.uk/live/en/page/2021-finalists
These 95 tonnes are a combination of both using Miles Macadam as a contractor and using their proprietary material in the resurfacing.
The Award for Environmental Sustainability in the Highways Sector – sponsored by Total UK Limited, Bitumen Division – is awarded to an organisation, highway authority or partnership that is able to demonstrate consideration of environmental issues within a project. The project should improve sustainability in the highway environment such as: carbon footprint reduction; local environmental benefits; sustainable material use; reduction of CO2 plus involve community liaison and consultation.