Taking the initiative on climate change

Hampshire County Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and being prepared for a 2 degree rise in temperature.

This is an exciting time to work in Highways, and we are constantly looking for innovative ways we can help achieve these objectives. Here are some of our recent initiatives:

Low carbon street furniture

In January 2022 we were the first highway authority to trial low carbon street furniture. Our plant-based bio polymer bollards are made from sugar cane. They are lighter and easier to install – and cheaper – than standard concrete bollards. They also have a lower carbon footprint because when sugar cane grows it absorbs CO2.

The sugar cane used is regulated and adheres to local and international standards of sustainability. Plantations are not allowed to expand into areas which would harm bio-diversity, and they do not take away arable land for farming, so there is no impact on food security and availability.

Highway materials recycling

In 2021 the Highways team and our partners won a prestigious International Green Apple Environment Award for our new highway materials recycling facility. This dedicated facility recycles material for re-use in road repairs – bringing back material taken up during repair, processing it cleanly and quietly, and then re-using it elsewhere on the local road network.

The recycled material is laid cold which means specialist insulated lorries are not needed to collect and deliver the material, and there is no waste from unused material. The cold recycled road surface uses a fifth of the energy of traditional materials and saves 40 per cent of the CO2 emissions.

With around 5,500 miles of roads to maintain across Hampshire this will make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint, leading the way in sustainable construction and reducing our reliance on external supply chains.

Zero emission vehicles

We’re making significant financial and carbon savings by using zero emission vehicles for our highways inspectors, engineers and technicians, and installing charging infrastructure at our offices and depots.

These new highways vehicles are part of a fleet of over 30 Nissan vehicles. The electric vehicles have a range of over 150 miles and cost only 2p per mile to run, compared with the 13p cost per mile of the diesel vehicles they have replaced.

The programme is helping reduce emissions and improve air quality across Hampshire.