Locale : Global (English)
The net zero challenge
We conducted interviews with the supply chain to understand the level of availability, action and willingness to change the way National Highways projects are constructed and maintained.
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Decarbonising England's strategic road network

National Highways is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions for its strategic road network in line with national and global agendas including the 1.5°C reduction goal of the Paris Agreement, the UK’s commitment to be a net zero economy by 2050 and the Government’s Decarbonising Transport: A Better, Greener Britain (2021).


Net Zero Plan


England, UK


National Highways


Carbon reduction

reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2020

We have been working collaboratively with WSP, Ramboll and KPMG to develop a Net Zero plan focussing on three key areas: corporate emissions, supply chain, and road user carbon. We led the work considering the supply chain.


National Highways is one of the UK’s largest buyers of construction materials, required to keep the road network in good condition and ready for the future. In 2020, emissions from the maintenance and construction of the network amounted to an estimated 734,000 tonne of CO2e. With the government committing to net zero in line with the sixth carbon budget recommendations, it is clear that action is needed now to largely decarbonise the construction sector by 2040.


We’ve been responsible for calculating the carbon footprint and developing strategic mitigation measures for supply chain emissions through National Highways capital and operational infrastructure programme of works. We used data collected from the supply chain to calculate the baseline carbon emissions and projected estimated emissions out to 2050 based on the current Road Investment Strategies. We conducted interviews with the supply chain to understand the level of availability, action and willingness to change the way National Highways projects are constructed and maintained. This enabled us to set interim targets such as requiring all construction plant and compounds to be zero emissions by 2030. The largest carbon saving across projects is by reducing the embodied carbon within the construction materials and products used on site We also undertook and Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) to analyse the potential impacts of the strategy on different sections of society.


As part of the Net Zero Plan, implementation plans detailing how engagements with the key stakeholders will take place to ensure that National Highways support all the sector wide commitments such as net zero steel and concrete by 2050. The plan further highlights the need to innovate and place the net zero challenge at the heart of highways projects and to support National Highways in their commitments as well as enabling the government to meet its carbon budgets.

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