National Highways launches environmental sustainability division

By Leila Steed10 January 2022

Aerial view of a road network in the UK

National Highways has established a new environmental sustainability division, in an effort to achieve its net zero carbon goals.

Made up of a 50-strong team of staff, the department will be dedicated to delivering the organisation’s three main objectives; achieving net zero for its own corporate emissions by 2030, net zero for road construction and maintenance emissions by 2040 and net zero for road user emissions by 2050.

Mike Wilson, Executive Director, Safety Engineering and Standards, said, “We’re committed to our ambitious vision of net zero by 2050 but recognise the scale of the challenge that faces us.

In addition to developing a new environmental strategy, National Highways said the division will work with its executive directors and board “to deliver the ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions to net zero across England’s motorways and major A-roads by 2050”.

The new department is headed by Stephen Elderkin, who has led National Highway’s £1bn A12 upgrade scheme for the past three years.

Elderkin, who also previously worked for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and led the Government analysis for the Climate Change Act, carbon budgets and energy efficiency policies, said, “National Highways connects the country, playing a vital role in national prosperity.

“But we must do that sustainably, making our contribution to achieving a net zero economy and showing ambition and leadership to leave a positive legacy through our approach to the environment.”

He added, “The challenge to us and the industry is to demonstrate how we are delivering improved environment outcomes; rapidly decarbonising transport and supporting biodiversity to create the cleaner, greener network a zero carbon Britain needs.

“The environmental challenges we face can only be achieved by working together - I look forward to working with our supply chain partners and stakeholders to achieve our ambitious goals.”

Speaking of Elderkin’s recent appointment to his role as head of the new division, Wilson said, “Being able to call on someone with Stephen’s experience will make a real difference in our capability to deliver that promise.

“Our net zero carbon plan and the new division will put roads at the heart of the low carbon economy, while preserving the convenience and economic benefit of an efficient road network.”

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