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Lower Thames Crossing raises the bar for carbon neutral construction

News / Transport

2nd March 2022

The Lower Thames Crossing has announced it will become a ‘pathfinder project’ leading the way for carbon neutral construction as part of its efforts to make the new crossing the greenest road ever built in the UK.

Improving connectivity in the Thames Estuary and benefitting the UK, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing will almost double road capacity across the Thames in the region. It will become an essential part of the UK’s transport infrastructure and improve journeys for millions of people. The crossing will boost the economy by providing a reliable new connection between people and jobs, businesses and customers, and the region’s key ports, manufacturing centres and distribution hubs.

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board said: “The ambitions of the Lower Thames Crossing team echo our own. Just as they aspire to create the greenest road ever built in the UK, we are striving towards creating the world’s greenest Estuary. That is why we partner with and support brilliant projects like these that take an innovative approach to sustainability. This project leads the way for transport infrastructure progress in the UK.

“Everything we do has the people of the Thames Estuary at its heart: our Green Blue Workplan sets out our key steps to helping level up the region and deliver clean, sustainable growth that works with the environment. The Lower Thames Crossing has the potential to help improve the lives of millions of people, by creating jobs, protecting wildlife and opening up areas of landscape. We fully support it and invite local businesses across the Thames Estuary to get involved, and join our charge towards a new, greener economy.”

Innovating low carbon infrastructure

As a pathfinder project, the Lower Thames Crossing will work with a broad range of partners from major engineering companies to small businesses and universities, to identify, test and scale-up innovative ways of building and maintaining low carbon infrastructure.

The announcement was made at the ‘Road to Net Zero Construction’ event held on 25 February in partnership with the Lower Thames Crossing and Thames Estuary Growth Board. At the event, the firms bidding to build the project set out their commitment to support National Highways’ low carbon goals and engaged with over 170 local supply chain businesses to explore how to make this happen.

New ideas being considered include removing diesel from its sites by only using alternative fuels such as hydrogen and electricity for construction plant and looking at alternatives to carbon-intensive materials such as concrete and steel, after which the project will also consider carbon offsetting to address any residual emissions. These plans will be shared with the supply chain and wider industry so they can be used on this or any other infrastructure project and could catalyse change across the industry.

Matt Palmer, Executive Director for the Lower Thames Crossing said: “Our roads play a critical role in keeping people and the country’s economy moving, now and long into our low-carbon future. We want to make the Lower Thames Crossing the greenest road ever built in the UK, and as a pathfinder project we will push the boundaries in construction and show how we and other large infrastructure projects can help the UK reach net zero.

“But we can’t do it alone. We have an ambitious partner in the Thames Estuary Growth Board, and we’re delighted that over 500 local business have already signed up to our SME directory and registered their interest in supporting the project; it’s an incredibly exciting opportunity to develop low carbon innovations that can help them be at the forefront of a new green economy in the region.”

Roads Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said: “Exploring carbon neutral construction is crucial to our efforts to decarbonise our transport network and Build Back Greener from the pandemic. I hope this ground-breaking proposal from National Highways will pave the way for other innovative, green solutions to roadbuilding in the future.”

Lance Taylor​, Chief Executive Officer for Kent based Gallagher Group a leading Estuary Visionary business who attended the Road to Net Zero Construction event said: “Businesses like ours have a huge amount to offer this and other projects, including local skills and new innovative ideas to drive down carbon. We’re delighted with the opportunity to show the major firms bidding to build the Lower Thames Crossing what we can do.”


Find out more about the Lower Thames Crossing’s green ambitions:


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