Amey helps council with £4.5 million road decarbonisation drive

15 September 2023 4 min. read

The Department for Transport and the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport have approved funding for a new campaign to decarbonise roads in North Lanarkshire. The local authority, and its delivery partner Amey, will now work to create a centre of excellence for decarbonising roads.

North Lanarkshire is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the north-east of the Glasgow City council area and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs, commuter towns, and villages. This status means that its roads are under constant pressure – and could present an issue for the region’s future decarbonisation efforts.

According to the Department for Transport (DofT), vehicle miles travelled in the region have had year-on-year growth in each year between 2011 and 2019. Following a sharp decline in the lockdown period of 2020, traffic levels in 2021 and 2022 increased, to see 2.04 billion vehicle miles travelled on roads in North Lanarkshire in 2022. This is roughly consistent with the levels seen before the pandemic – leaving North Lanarkshire out of step with the rest of Great Britain – where vehicle miles are now below 2016’s levels.

Amey helps council with £4.5 million road decarbonisation drive

As North Lanarkshire Council looks to decarbonise its roads, it has been handed a £4.5 million shot in the arm from the DofT and the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT). Coming as part of Live Labs 2: Decarbonising local roads in the UK – a three-year, UK-wide programme worth £30 million – the funding will help make the local highway network and highway infrastructure more sustainable.

North Lanarkshire Council and its strategic delivery partner, Amey, had created a business case for a new Centre of Excellence (CofE) model. The proposition aimed to help break down siloed working practices, review, and trial leading innovation, and bring the industry together to tackle one of the largest challenges facing the UK roads sector on the path to carbon net zero.

Following the review of the business case by the Live Labs 2 Commissioning Board in April 2023, highlighting the strategic, economic, commercial, financial, carbon and management case for the programme, the project team was also tasked with final assessments. All criteria were successfully met to secure funding for the CofE programme.

Councillor Kenneth Stevenson, convener of the communities committee at North Lanarkshire Council, commented, “The council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and we have already surpassed our 2022 target by reducing our carbon footprint significantly. As a council, we are well placed to drive and influence a change in behaviour. The transport sector accounts for a large portion of the emissions and, here in North Lanarkshire, we want to be at the forefront of innovation and developing solutions to this crisis. This is a fantastic opportunity to be a driver for change and make North Lanarkshire a Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads, supporting the whole industry.”

Amey and North Lanarkshire Council will now work together with their Live Labs 2 project partners, Transport for the West Midlands and Colas to achieve the objectives for the CofE programme. Drawing on a network of national and international partners, the programme will identify leading road materials innovations, provide a centralised hub for live trialling and evaluation, develop a knowledge bank and virtual collaboration environment, and enable a process to share and disseminate learnings at pace.

Amey Highways Sector Director Andy Denman added, “The transport industry as a whole has a plethora of low carbon solutions. The challenge for local authorities is deciphering the potential impact, quality of the material and evaluating whole life carbon to filter out the high quantity of the proposed solutions. Working with leading industry partners, such as Transport Scotland, The Future Highways Research Group, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, will be critical in creating a robust selection and evaluation framework. This will help accelerate the adoption of material innovations across the sector, giving local authorities the confidence to adopt sustained decarbonisation solutions that the industry desperately needs.”

Named as a platinum firm for public transport in Consultancy.UK’s 2023 industry rankings, Amey is a consultancy which delivers infrastructure solutions using its team’s insight into systems, people and technology. Due to this, the firm is already at the heart of a number of decarbonisation efforts in the UK’s infrastructure.

Amey has also supported South Gloucestershire Council and West Sussex County Council to secure another Live Labs 2 project to develop a ‘green carbon laboratory’. Meanwhile, the firm also partnered with Swindon Council to achieve carbon reduction ambitions including optimising the authority’s EV charging point strategy.