26 January 2022 | Net Zero
Hampshire County Council is the first Highway Authority in the country to trial plant-based plastic bollards, in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, improve safety and save money.
The trial project aims to install plant-based bio polymer bollards, derived from sugar cane, which are lighter – so easier for Hampshire Highways operatives to install – and cheaper. The ‘non-crete’ bollards are low carbon because they are not made of concrete and they do not have the associated carbon costs in terms of manufacturing. A key constituent of concrete is cement, and the cement industry is responsible for around 7-8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, the County Council’s Executive Member for Highways Operations, said: “This is a great opportunity to effect positive change at a local level and really reflects the County Council’s determination to play its part on the critical issue of climate change and carbon reduction. Innovations like this will make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint, leading the way in sustainable construction.
“These new bio polymer bollards are made from sugar cane and when sugar cane grows it absorbs CO2. This ‘carbon capture’ actually reduces the carbon levels in the atmosphere – providing a negative carbon footprint.
“The County Council has set a target for climate resilience, acknowledging the significant impact of climate change on our communities, our infrastructure, and the services we deliver. Climate resilience is crucial and rising temperatures, increased flooding and more extreme weather events have already been felt in Hampshire. In recognition of the importance of building resilience, the County Council has declared 2022 the “Year of Climate Resilience”. This presents an opportunity for the County Council to increase awareness of the importance of resilience, promote our unique approach and the actions we are taking to build resilience, and to develop some showcase projects in partnership with key stakeholders – this trial, if successful could be such a project.”
The new polymer based bollards are resilient, and if struck they do not splinter and should not disrupt the foundation base in the pavement.
The sugar cane used to produce the Non-Crete bollards is regulated and adheres to local and international standards of sustainability. Plantations are prohibited from expanding into areas which would negatively impact bio-diversity and they do not take away arable land for farming, so there is no impact on food security and availability.
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.