Roads: Carbon Emissions

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 3 September 2019.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the amount of CO2 produced in the production and maintenance of roads; and what assessment he has made of options for reducing those emissions through the use of more environmentally-friendly materials.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Management and maintenance of the Strategic Road Network is the responsibility of Highways England. The Annual Assessment of Highways England Performance 2019 report, published by the Office and Rail and Road (ORR) on 18 July, gives a total figure of 72,302 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2018/19.

The Department does not hold this level of information for the local roads network, which is the responsibility of local highway authorities.

The Government is committed to exploring innovative ideas and processes for more environmentally friendly ways of constructing, repairing and maintaining road surfaces. The Department announced in January 2019 a £23m programme of innovation trials with the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and commercial partners.

The programme includes £1.6 million being provided to Cumbria County Council to extend a trial for the selection and testing of recycled plastic in surfacing and structural treatments on the local road network. This trial will assess the suitability and durability of the plastics additives from minor patching work and pothole repairs through to major resurfacing.

In addition, Highways England are also trialling the use of recycled material from tyres in the asphalt mix on the southbound M1 between junctions 23 and 22 near Leicester.

Technological innovation in road maintenance processes can also improve efficiency and reduce waste by recycling existing road material. Highways England is taking such an approach in reconstructing a 10-mile stretch of the A1(M) southbound carriageway between Leeming and the Ripon interchange.

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