Innovative process supports carbon neutral highways maintenance

Resurfacing at Forest Avenue

Calderdale Council has completed work on a carbon neutral road resurfacing project – the first local authority to deliver a scheme of this kind in the North.

The Council’s highways service has been working with contractor Miles Macadam to reduce and offset the carbon emissions created during road resurfacing work. This recognises the vital need to maintain and operate a safe road network, whilst acknowledging and addressing the effect these operations can have on the environment.

A pilot scheme of reduced-carbon resurfacing work has recently taken place across the borough to improve the road condition of Moor Lane, Forest Avenue and Forest Lane in Ovenden, Crow Wood Park and Pye Nest Gardens in Pye Nest, Cliffe Avenue in Lightcliffe, and Paddock Lane in Norton Tower.

This programme of resurfacing covers a total area of just over 16,500m2 and has been carried out using Miles Macadam’s ‘Milepave’. This is a reduced carbon resurfacing process using less aggregate, lower mixing temperatures and a lower bitumen content than conventional asphalt surfacing materials.

Using this process for the recent work has resulted in savings of approximately 208 tonnes of aggregate, 27 tonnes of bitumen and 48 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to 144,000 car miles.

Although this is a significant reduction on standard resurfacing, it is impossible to remove all the carbon emissions involved in this type of resurfacing work. Therefore, further work is taking place to offset the remaining emissions, which in this case is around 56.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

This will involve the planting of 57 trees, equating to one tree per tonne of carbon, plus an additional 57 matched by Miles Macadam, making 114 trees in total. The trees will be native broadleaf varieties planted on behalf of Calderdale Council in one of Miles Macadam’s verified tree planting schemes in the UK.

As part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency, the Council continues to look for ways it can reduce carbon emissions – considering environmental impacts in all its decisions. This includes ensuring that projects incorporate the principles of the Council’s green and healthy streets policy and support the ambition for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2038 at the latest, with significant progress by 2030.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“Since we declared a climate emergency in 2019, the whole borough has made huge leaps to work towards our ambitious carbon neutral targets. We know there is lots more to be done, but we continue to look for ways we can reduce emissions, particularly as part of Council projects.

“Our green and healthy streets policy aims to ensure that environmental impacts are considered as part of all built projects, including transport infrastructure and maintenance. I’m pleased that this pilot project is putting carbon reduction at the heart of the design, considering how essential maintenance can be more sustainable.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Cllr Jane Scullion, said:

“We know how important it is for our roads to be well maintained and we do all we can to ensure that good quality surfaces are in place for all road users.

“Initiatives like this one allow us to continue with our important maintenance programmes, whilst reducing the impact on the environment. We will be looking to extend the use of this process to other suitable maintenance situations in future.

“Whilst we acknowledge that there’s more to be done, this is a positive step forward in helping to reduce our in-house carbon emissions.”


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