Funding to support projects focused on a greener approach to highway maintenance and construction has been awarded to Somerset Council.

The Council’s Highways team has been granted part of Live Labs 2’s £30 million funding pot for its net zero corridors project as part of a consortium of local councils.

The initiative sees Somerset Council joining forces with Cornwall Council, Hampshire County Council, Devon County Council, and Liverpool City Council to deliver cutting-edge, innovative ideas to decarbonise how the UK builds and maintains its highways network.

Each of the authorities has identified several demonstrator corridors or neighbourhoods with Somerset Council selecting diverse areas which present different challenges in developing ways to deliver net zero schemes. The councils will support each other, sharing learning, practice and insights and will be supported by academic teams, including Exeter University.

Live Labs 2 is funded by the Department of Transport (DfT) and organised by The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), which represents ‘directors of place’ who are responsible for providing day-to-day services, such as local highways, as well as strategic long-term delivery.

Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Climate Change, Councillor Sarah Dyke, said:

“As a Council, it is critical that we look at new and sustainable ways in reducing carbon emissions as we aim to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

“Highways maintenance plays a large role in pushing towards our objective, so we are excited to be a part of this round of funding to enable us to look at how we deliver schemes.”

Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, said:

“I’m passionate about ensuring we find new and innovative ways in tackling our carbon emissions output across our schemes.

“Our partnership with other local authorities will only help in producing new ways of working as we push towards carbon neutral in seven years’ time.”

Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT, said:

“Tackling the carbon impact of our highways’ infrastructure is critical to our path to net zero but hard to address, so I am pleased that bidding was so competitive. Live Labs 2 has a huge ambition – to fundamentally change how we embed decarbonisation into our decision-making and to share our learning with the wider sector to enable behaviour change.

“Each project will bring local authority led innovation and a collaborative approach to create a long-lasting transformation of business as usual. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from our successful bidders and taking that into my own organisation will be brought to life thanks to tens of millions of pounds in government funding.”

photograph of a country road looking towards Glastonbury tor

About this article

January 26, 2023

Sophie H

Climate Emergency