Road to Net Zero
17 April 2023
In 2019, the UK became the world's first country to set a Net Zero 2050 target into law, mandating a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. The infrastructure sector, which collectively contributes one-sixth of the UK’s total carbon emissions, needs to dramatically reduce its emissions in order for the UK to be able to meet its decarbonisation targets. The Road to Net Zero project by HAUC and TfL was commissioned to better understand how street and road works must change to minimise emissions and contribution to climate change. To achieve this, research will be made into the current state of practice, current and future innovation and the potential consequences of any implemented changes within the following three categories:
- Climate Change, Net Zero and Beyond
- Material / Process Innovation
- Measuring Environmental Performance
EA Technology are leading the study on Climate Change, Net Zero and Beyond category. This category focuses on the sector’s emissions and what smart solutions can be used to achieve Net Zero emissions. We are delivering this project alongside University of Birmingham who will be leading the studies on Material / Process Innovation and Measuring Environmental Performance. Together we are also creating a web-based carbon calculator that utilities and highway authorities can use to track emissions associated with street and road works. The project consists of three phases, Discovery, Design and Delivery. The Discovery phase has just come to a close and we are delighted that the project has progressed onto the Design phase. For further information about the wider project check out the dedicated project website roadtonetzero.org.uk.
As part of the Discovery phase, EA Technology conducted two studies on "Climate Change, Net Zero and Beyond."
The first study involved a literature review that identified various emissions areas that need to be considered, challenges associated with decarbonization, and some promising innovations that can help reduce emissions. However, the literature review did not cover where and when these solutions should be implemented or the wider impact considerations that need to be made.
To address these gaps, EA Technology completed a second study that quantified sector-wide emissions, split into emissions areas and types of work. This study provides an overview of the emissions associated with street and road works, as well as the energy demand from vehicles and machinery. The study received input from industry representatives, including qualitative insights regarding work operations and quantitative data on asset utilization and variation across work types and emissions areas. The goal of this study is to provide a better understanding of the key sources of emissions, highlight areas for targeted solutions, and identify areas that require further investigation and innovation.
More details on the findings can be found on the downloadable Discovery Phase Findings report or on HAUC’s Road To Net Zero website.