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Key figures in the Highways industry have called upon councils to commit to better, long-term strategies to reduce carbon emissions. 

At the Road Surface Treatments Association’s annual conference this month, industry experts noted that local councils are falling short where reducing carbon emissions is concerned. 

Members of the conference identified that while councils have been testing innovative approaches with trials, many have yet to commit to enduring plans to tackle the carbon crisis.

Ross Bullerwell, managing director at North Yorkshire (NY) Highways, said: “Many authorities have a strategy, but are not necessarily doing their part. In North Yorkshire, we’ve pushed the council to come up with a five-year plan, which is around holding projects to account for what they are delivering”. 

He added: “We have to make sure that as part of the strategy, as part of our design, as part of declaring the carbon emergency, we must have year-on-year plans that deliver something. Otherwise, in five years, we’ll still be doing a little trial.” 

Transitioning from trials to long-term strategies will require hard work and a change in prevailing attitudes. Sean Rooney, head of highway maintenance at Oxfordshire County Council revealed that trials are often used to “get around procurement”, and that the industry must work together to “change the attitude of people” and enable future progress. 

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