UK Motorway at dusk

Government funding highway decarbonisation through innovation

The Department for Transport has announced that government funding will be used to help develop innovative projects that allow for reduced emissions whilst improving regional connectivity.

Potential projects include roads being constructed using asphalt made from grass cuttings as well as carbon capturing cement. This will be done with the support of £30 million worth of government funding that will be split between seven successful local highway authorities, through the Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads competition. The seven successful bids are:

  • Highways CO2llaboration Centre for material decarbonisation, Transport for West Midlands
  • UK Centre of Excellence for Material Decarbonisation in Local Roads, North Lanarkshire Council
  • A net carbon-negative model for green infrastructure management, South Gloucester Council and West Sussex County Council
  • A382 Carbon Negative Project, Devon County Council
  • Ecosystem of Things, Liverpool City Council
  • Decarbonising street lighting, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Net Zero Corridors, Wessex Partnership

As part of the bidding process, bidders were encouraged to form partnerships across the public and private sectors, as well as academia, as part of the plan to ensure that innovations are shared across the UK. Due to this, there are four interconnected themes that the winning projects will be working together across:

  • The idea of a green carbon laboratory will look into the role that non-operational highways can play in the sourcing of materials and fuels, an example of this being the use of biomass from green waste to create alternative fuels and asphalt additives.
  • A future lighting testbed helps with research into what the future of local road lighting will look like, as well as determining what is needed going forward and how lighting can be further decarbonised.
  • A UK centre of excellence for materials will provide a centralised hub for research and innovation, allowing for the testing of construction materials and how they can best be used.
  • Corridor and place-based decarbonisation will be striving to achieve decarbonisation across specific, wider regions and corridors, with this covering urban and rural areas alike.

Richard Holden, Roads Minister, said:

“The UK is a world leader in technology and innovation and we must use that strength to 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 £30 million 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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