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Programme that aims to decarbonise the local highways network

IntroductionThe programme


Somerset Council is working alongside Cornwall Council and Hampshire County Council on an innovative programme which could ultimately transform the way roads are maintained by drastically cutting the amount of carbon emitted while work is being carried out.

The programme

ADEPT Live Labs 2 is a three-year, UK-wide £30 million programme funded by the Department for Transport that aims to decarbonise local roads.

Seven projects, grouped by four interconnected themes, are being led by local authorities working alongside commercial and academic partners.

Each project is testing new solutions to decarbonise construction, maintenance and decommissioning the local highway network. The programme is overseen by an independent Commissioning Board, which includes the Department for Transport and other experts from across the public and private sectors.

To date, decarbonisation of transport in the UK has focused mostly on electric vehicles, active travel and changing public behaviour rather than the planning and design of transport infrastructure or local roads assets. However, the UK’s local roads infrastructure and maintenance make a significant and ongoing contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change impacts and future resilience.

The Wessex Live Labs 2 project

The Wessex partnership of Somerset, Cornwall and Hampshire will be among these pioneering authorities from different corners of the UK. The group is working in nine ‘corridors’, trialling new ways of working, materials and processes to get as close as reasonably possible to net zero emissions.

The diverse networks of the three local authorities (including geographies, contracting models and material access) will ensure findings are representative of highway maintenance on each local authority road ecosystem. Using an iterative process, the aim is to progressively decarbonise maintenance across the whole asset lifecycle within the Wessex Partnership.

Corridors will be a test bed for innovation, circular solutions and new ways of thinking. Our approach will be underpinned by the Doughnut Economics Model, a framework that balances environmental and social needs to ensure wider impacts (such as on levelling up) are understood.

The Wessex Partnership, Liverpool City Council, Devon County Council and their respective partners, sit within the wider corridor and the Place Based Decarbonisation theme. This is one of the four thematic areas within the overall Live Labs 2 programme. Shared learning, approach and discussion therefore will cut across both within the Wessex partnership and the wider group.

Further information is available on the About Doughnut Economics page.

Last reviewed: November 13, 2023 by Paul

Next review due: May 13, 2024

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