West Sussex County Council partnered project set to receive £4.7 million Live Labs 2 highways decarbonisation funding

‘Greenprint’ project aims to explore how plant material mowed from our roadsides can be used for bio fuels and road materials

West Sussex County Council, working with South Gloucestershire Council and partners, has been given the green light to move forward with a new joint project ‘Greenprint’, which aims to explore how plant material mowed from our roadsides can be used for bio fuels and road materials.

Funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), Live Labs 2 is a three-year national innovation programme developed by The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) to achieve zero carbon local roads and highways across the UK.

Greenprint is one of seven projects spread across the UK, from Lanarkshire to Devon, to have been awarded a share of a £30 million fund provided by DfT through its ‘Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads’ competition. The projects were selected after pitching their ideas to a ‘Dragons’ Den style’ panel of independent experts drawn from the highways and transportation sector.

Working in partnership, the Greenprint project aims to develop a first-of-its-kind approach to creating a net carbon negative model for delivering green infrastructure, for example producing alternative fuels for highways vehicles from road verge grass cuttings and tree prunings.

Other winning projects include ‘carbon capturing’ cement, testing and deploying recycled materials from other industries to build roads and increasing efficiency for low carbon lighting.

Cllr Joy Dennis, WSCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “This is great news for us in our drive to become carbon neutral by 2030, one of our key priorities. Being able to transform waste materials into something useful will help us on our decarbonisation journey and this partnership now has the funds to explore and trial this initiative in more detail.”

Toby Savage, South Gloucestershire Council Leader and Climate Emergency Portfolio lead, said: “Building on the work already underway in South Gloucestershire to change how we manage our highway verges to improve biodiversity and the need for local green sources of energy, I am excited about working with West Sussex County Council and other partners through the Greenprint Live Lab to drive forward and share zero carbon innovation.”

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “The UK is a world leader in technology and innovation and we must use that strength to drive decarbonisation and the next generation of high tech jobs that go alongside it. We are supporting this vital agenda to help level-up through £30 million funding for ground-breaking projects and boosting regional connections to support growth. The Government is determined to create good, well paid jobs – via innovation and investment across the UK – as we accelerate the road to net zero.”

Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT said: “Tackling the carbon impact of our highways’ infrastructure is critical to our path to net zero but hard to address, so I am pleased that bidding was so competitive. Live Labs 2 has a huge ambition – to fundamentally change how we embed decarbonisation into our decision-making and to share our learning with the wider sector to enable behaviour change. Each project will bring local authority led innovation and a collaborative approach to create a long-lasting transformation of business as usual. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from our successful bidders and taking that into my own organisation.”

The Greenprint project will run for three years, with each council testing different approaches for processing green waste into useful products.