Tarmac has cut the carbon emissions of three road schemes by up to 80% compared to projects using traditional methods.

The project, which involved three local roads in the north east, has been hailed as setting a new benchmark for the way roads are maintained.

Tarmac, working in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, together with international partners including Shell, Volvo CE, Wirtgen and JCB, combined an extensive range of low carbon materials, techniques and plant equipment for the first time to resurface a section of the A689 in Wynyard, near Hartlepool, and two residential roads in Stockton-on-Tees Borough.

Warm mix asphalt was used together with a new bio-component binder from Shell, which uses bio-genic materials to create a technical carbon sink in the road to prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere.

The surface course and lower layer of the pavements used 30% recycled asphalt planings (RAP) in the lower layer and 20% in the surface course to reduce the need for primary materials. Tarmac’s asphalt manufacturing plant at Coxhoe was powered by a combination of bio-fuel and electricity.

A number of electric plant vehicles and prototypes were supplied by partners such as Volvo and Wirtgen, including electric and hybrid road rollers and an electric bond coat sprayer.

Other plant vehicles were powered by hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), provided by Certas Energy, as an alternative to diesel. Materials were also kept in stores provided by ZappShelter, to minimise the energy needed to dry them out before producing asphalt, and Greener Power Solutions provided a battery unit.

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Brian Kent, Tarmac technical director, said the project had national significance, providing a blueprint for how to decarbonise every element of highways delivery.

He added: “Our team has shown that it’s possible to significantly turn the decarbonisation dial with new material technologies, cutting-edge plant and collaborative working with local authorities and the supply chain.

“To replicate this approach on every project will require further investment and scaling up of technology across the industry. It’s now important that we take learnings from this ground-breaking project to help inform further decarbonisation across the local and strategic road networks.”

Councillor Clare Gamble, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “The state-of-the-art technology used by Tarmac from development to delivery of these highways has created an environmentally sustainable, durable road surface that will last for years while reducing carbon as much as possible. It will benefit people in our Borough for many generations to come.”

Darren Fitch, Volvo CE head of market area GB, Ireland, Benelux and Iceland, added that policymakers and authorities must also play their part to supporting the decarbonisation transition.

He added: “2030 may seem far away, but it is coming quickly and we need action if we have a chance to reach the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

“Stepping up and using our collective power – as we demonstrate here with this holistic end-to-end partnership – will strengthen our ability to do more and achieve more for the environment.”