14 June 2021 | Innovation | Collaboration | Net Zero | BY: Milesmacadam Ltd

Miles Macadam delivers carbon neutral surfacing scheme in collaboration with Shropshire Highways & KierWSP

In early 2021, Miles Macadam worked in collaboration with Shropshire Highways & KierWSP to deliver a carbon neutral surfacing scheme.

This alliance required an innovative approach to sustainable surfacing. As a road maintenance organisation, Miles Macadam recognises the vital need to maintain and operate the road network and the importance of acknowledging and addressing the effect this has on the environment.  Since being carbon assessed in late 2019 and becoming carbon neutral in the summer of 2020, Miles Macadam continues to make progress in lowering our emissions. The natural progression of that is to work with clients, assisting them in reducing their own carbon footprint and achieving their emissions targets.

With Shropshire Highways commitment to reducing its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, following a climate emergency declaration in May 2019 and subsequent Government imposed targets, an obvious opportunity presented itself for Miles Macadam to demonstrate their ability to produce a carbon neutral highway’s surfacing scheme.

Miles Macadam was contracted to install 19,676m² of our Asphaltic Grouted Macadam, Milepave™, across 9 sites throughout Shropshire’s Local Network. The objectives of this scheme, set out by the client, were to maintain Shropshire’s roads in a safe and usable condition whilst delivering a maintenance programme that was carbon neutral. Product selection was based on performance and overall product sustainability.  By specifying the low carbon, warm mix Grouted Macadam Milepave™ these objectives were successfully met.

Milepave™ combines low carbon emissions and longevity making it the ideal material solution for this scheme. It uses lower mixing temperatures, lower energy resources and lower bitumen content, whilst producing greater durability than conventional materials.  It offers a high strength surface course combined with flexibility to combat underlying ground movement which is sealed fully against water ingress. The process of using Milepave™ to seal areas prone to damage can extend the life of a road by approximately 10 years.

As well as Miles Macadam’s reduced carbon product, they utilised their own bespoke Carbon Calculator to measure the overall carbon footprint of the surfacing project. The organisation then offset those emissions through a verified carbon reduction programme to ensure net zero status. In addition, Shropshire Council mirrored the total carbon offset through its own ‘Community Tree Scheme Initiative’ which involved planting a variety of British woodland trees throughout the county to sequester the equivalent total embodied CO2.

Overall, the scheme generated 189.1 tonnes of embodied carbon. Specifically, the Scope 3 Transport emissions accounted for 77.17 tonnes CO₂e of the total. This was offset and will equate to a saving of approximately 705,007 miles driven in a diesel car.

There are no indirect emissions apportioned to Shropshire Council from the use of Miles Macadam as they are a carbon neutral organisation. The indirect emissions from the use of their sub-contractors to Shropshire Council have also been greatly reduced through the offsetting of transport emissions.

The use of lower resource use product Milepave™ had a 12% saving over a conventional hot mix surface course and Milepave™ being a warm mix material had a 15% saving, equating to approximately 50 tonnes CO₂e.

Kit Ebben from Miles Macadam commented, ‘Our aim is to reduce the overall carbon footprint of road improvement schemes. Shropshire has broken the mould, engaged their supply chain and built a sustainable model for delivering Carbon Neutral projects. This is a great achievement and creates a blueprint for future schemes.’

Miles Macadam have provided a long-term, durable solution for the treatment of Shropshire council’s carriageways and implemented the UK’s first Local Authority Carbon Neutral Surfacing Scheme.

Dan Flower of Kier Highways commented:  “Always great to have Miles Macadam on the Shropshire contract. Always professional and hardworking, no job is too much hassle. I look forward to working with you all again soon.”