£30m to bring net zero highway projects to life

The Department for Transport has announced a £30m investment to help deliver innovative highway decarbonisation projects.

The multi-million pound ‘Live Labs 2’ competition has been announced to bring ideas for net zero highways to life.

The competition will particularly focus on making the construction, maintenance and running of the UK’s roads more sustainable.

Previous funding supported plant-based ‘living walls’ to tackle roadside emissions and trials of innovative pothole detection techniques.

gray concrete road between green trees under gray clouds

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: ‘Investing in innovation is a priority for this Government. That’s why we’re supporting Local Highways Authorities to develop cutting-edge projects and help drive our decarbonisation mission.   

‘Our £30 million investment will go towards a greener, safer transport landscape. It will help create green, high-skilled jobs across the country and I look forward to seeing these innovative ideas brought to life.’

The launch of the second round of the competition, which is organised by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), follows the first £22.9m Live Labs programme which launched in May 2019 and supported the creation of eight local projects.

Paula Hewitt, ADEPT President, commented: ‘ADEPT is delighted to be able to move ahead on Live Labs 2 with this new round of DfT funding and support. The highways and transport sector is the UK’s single biggest carbon emitter and although we are seeing a transition to electric vehicles, there is a huge gap where we are yet to tackle road infrastructure and maintenance.

‘Local authorities are perfectly placed to lead the drive to create net zero highways and local roads from the bottom up. The Live Labs format has proven particularly successful for highways authorities, enabling rapid change, innovation and experimentation.

‘Following the success of the first ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme, Live Labs 2 aims to build on the partnerships between DfT, councils, commercial partners, SMEs and academia to deliver scalable zero carbon objectives with potential for commercialisation and applicability to diverse areas across the UK.’

Photo by Ashleigh Robertson


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