24 MAY 2023


National Highways has unveiled ambitious plans to deliver a more sustainable road network that not only connects the country but also protects and enhances the environment over the next three decades.

As one of the country’s largest landowners with 30,000 hectares of green land, National Highways has set out its vision to use its green land to reconnect habitats, reverse the decline in biodiversity, help wildlife thrive and build in environmental resilience to a changing climate. 

The Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which was published on 18 May, sets out National Highways’ plans to map out a green future for the 4,500-mile network with a focus on three key areas: the protection and enhancement of nature, carbon reduction and support for community health and wellbeing.

Nick Harris, National Highways’ chief executive, said: “Most journeys will still be made by road in 2050 so it is more important than ever that we manage our network in a way that balances the needs of today with those of tomorrow.

“This is why we are passionate about making our network as environmentally sustainable as it can be. From the air that we breathe to the natural resources that we use to create and innovate; our economy, health and wellbeing depend upon a thriving environment.

“With 4,500 miles of motorways and major A-roads, we are uniquely placed to play an active and positive role in achieving this, ensuring that our network can be a force for good.”

The strategy includes using land to reconnect habitats that have been severed around and adjacent to the network, contributing to the national effort to reverse the decline in biodiversity, helping wildlife thrive by providing quality habitats, and building environmental resilience to a changing climate through initiatives such as natural flood management.

It also commits to investing in measures to remove carbon from the network, support the transfer to zero-emission vehicles, develop new ways to reduce pollution and enhance historic and cultural features on, or close to, major roads.

Tailored solutions that could be delivered as part of the plan include erecting solar panels on noise barriers; introducing wetlands for natural flood management; improving the visibility of heritage features from the road; installing green bridges.


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