New £30m Government scheme could see future roads made out of grass cuttings

James Brodie

James Brodie

26 Jan 2023

A new £30m Government scheme could see future roads and highway infrastructure built using a number of innovative, low carbon and carbon free methods and materials, including roads made using asphalt made from grass cuttings. 

Seven projects have been selected for Government funding through the Live Labs 2 competition, the theme of the latest Live Labs scheme being ‘Decarbonising Local Roads’. Projects targeting long-term decarbonisation of the UK’s highway infrastructure, from how we build new roads to the lights that illuminate them at light, have been selected to receive money. 

The successful proposals are all in England and Scotland. The projects will seek partnerships across the public and private sectors, and with universities, to develop solutions in four distinct areas; how do we build and maintain carbon-neutral highways, how do we light them, where do we develop the materials needed for them, and where do we deploy them?

Teams in the West Midlands, South Gloucester and West Sussex and in North Lanarkshire want to develop and champion new materials for use in highway construction, using recycled materials including biomass from green waste. 

The initiative launched by South Gloucestershire and West Sussex County Councils aims to develop a first-of-its-kind carbon negative model for building green traffic infrastructure. Similarly, a partnership in Wessex will pioneer new carbon-neutral roads it will call ‘net zero corridors’, with a plan for nine of these new roads that will link rural and urban areas in the county.

Devon County Council aims to develop new ways of designing, constructing and maintaining roads, along with new walking and cycling options, while a project in the East Riding of Yorkshire is looking into developing new and efficient low carbon lighting that’s still bright and safe. 

Liverpool City Council wants to investigate integrating roads and transport into a wider ‘Ecosystem of Things’, which will consider how we build roads in urban areas in relation to other green initiatives, such as recycling infrastructure and how we match roads with public spaces. 

Roads Minister, Richard Holden said: “The UK is a world leader in technology and innovation and we must use that strength to both drive decarbonisation and the next generation of high tech jobs that go alongside it.

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