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Government invests £30 million to help decarbonise highways

Funding to develop innovative solutions to make the construction, maintenance and running of the UK’s roads more sustainable

The Government is investing £30 million in a competition to find and develop novel solutions to help decarbonise the country’s highways.

The Live Labs 2 competition, which is organised by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and funded by the DfT, is part of the Government’s drive to create cleaner air and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

It follows the success of the first £22.9 million Live Labs programme which launched in May 2019 and supported the creation of eight local projects testing innovative solutions on local roads.

Previous projects included:

  • Fibre cables that detect vibrations from vehicles and dynamically change signal junctions to combat congestion
  • Trials involving drones to detect potholes in Kent
  • Plastic roads in Cumbria to boost value for money in the construction of highways
  • Plant-based living walls to tackle roadside emissions.

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.

Paula Hewitt, ADEPT President, said: “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.

The Live Labs 2 Prospectus and details for application is expected to be published in late Spring 2022.

  • Road