Civil Engineering

Mapping out a ‘zero carbon future’ with Highways England

Mapping out a ‘zero carbon future’ with Highways England image

Highways England (HE) has launched an “ambitious programme” that is putting roads at “the heart of Britain’s net zero future”.

As part of its “Net Zero Highways - 2030 / 2040 / 2050 Plan”, the government company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England's motorways and major A roads is challenging contractors to reduce carbon year-on-year to “deliver net-zero road maintenance and construction by 2040”.

The plan, which supports the government’s own recently published Transport Decarbonisation Plan, takes a three-fold approach.

  1. It is focusing on the reduction of emissions within its own organisation by 2030
  2. Emissions by its supply base delivering construction and maintenance on the SRN by 2040
  3. How it can support road users to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Dave Brown, GRAHAM Highways Director, praised the visionary plan and reaffirmed our pledge to take immediate and sustained action to support HE’s drive to net zero. He said:

“The Highways England Net Zero Plan is an ambitious, well thought-out roadmap that will help deliver sustainable highways infrastructure for the long term. Of course, the targets and objectives are challenging for all of the associated contractors, suppliers and stakeholders of Highways England. For GRAHAM, we fully endorse the plan and will continue to support Highways England and the government’s wider build back greener agenda.
“Our own Climate Action Strategy is already showing positive results. Driven by our aggressive targets, we have transitioned swiftly towards electric vehicles. Now, 75% of our available company cars are either fully electric or plug-in hybrid. And on our Highways England projects, we are trialling low carbon measures such as the introduction of fully electric diggers, hydrogen tower lighting, hybrid generators, battery banks, HVO biodiesel and zero-carbon welfare units, are making a telling contribution to carbon reduction.”

GRAHAM and Highways England

GRAHAM is a long-term partner of HE.

Most recently, we were appointed to deliver major M2 Junction 5 improvements. The £92 million contract will see our highways team improve the slip roads and junction approaches around the M2 junction near Sittingbourne in Kent.

We recognise the critical role that we can play in working collaboratively with HE to make the shift to net-zero.

Already, we have implemented a range of measures and initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to carbon reduction in full alignment with the targets and objectives issued in HE’s latest plan.

Some of these include:

  • Launching a Climate Action Strategy which outlines our vision and ambition for net zero across our entire value chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions)
  • Rolling out accredited Carbon Literacy training across the organisation
  • Identifying and utilising new technologies to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions on all of our HE sites
  • Sourcing and hiring eco specification welfare accommodation for sites with energy saving features (increased insulation, double glazing, lighting and heating with PIRs)
  • Commencing a series of net zero carbon workshops
  • Undertaking energy audits throughout our business
  • Partnership with an energy management consultancy to procure new electricity connections for sites and offices
  • Verification of our GHG emissions to ISO 14064 through the Achilles Carbon Reduce scheme

More information

For more information on our approach to carbon reduction, please visit: and to read Highways England’s Net Zero Plan in full, visit: