Bromley leading the way with more sustainable road network

Published Thursday, 15 October 2020

An innovative approach to road building and repair, which will not only reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce traffic delays caused by roadworks is being introduced across the borough.

Working with its highways maintenance partner, Riney, Bromley Council has committed to using warm mix asphalt for road maintenance moving forward, a solution that involves laying asphalt at lower temperatures than traditional mixes. This means the new surface can be laid faster, it sets quicker, is much more sustainable to produce and best of all, enables roads to reopen more quickly, getting traffic back on the move.

As the government continues to outline its plans to build back better and greener, with £100m set aside for road repairs and improvements, Bromley Council is supporting a campaign to encourage other local authorities across the country to take action and help both the environment and road users by adopting warm mix asphalt as the default method of paving our roads. 

The material is supplied through Riney by its parent company, Tarmac, and is quick and easy to lay, requiring less cooling time between courses and so increasing the amount of material that can be laid in a standard shift.

It is estimated that this method of road building and repair could save 60,000 tonnes of CO2 per year nationally, the equivalent of 300 million miles of car journeys* and offers significant public health benefits in terms of clean air.

Despite these benefits, a report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Highways states that the widespread adoption of warm mix asphalt has so far failed to take place. The report states that adoption in the UK currently stands at less than 4 per cent, lagging far behind the US (40 per cent) and France (15 per cent).

Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “Bromley is the clean, green and safe borough, we are pleased to be one of the first boroughs to adopt this more sustainable and efficient way of working. It supports our environmental commitments including achieving carbon neutrality for council activities by 2029.  This is another example of Bromley working with our partners and contractors for our residents benefit providing them with a great place to live now and for future generations.” 

Councillor Huntington-Thresher continued, “There is no cost difference to us but with less energy intensive methods repairs completed quicker and with less impact on the environment, this is the right thing to do.  In the coming months, we are committed to spending in excess of £1million as part of our existing work programme and I am pleased to be showcasing this new way of working.  This is another example of where doing the right thing from an environmental perspective actually delivers other benefits too, which in this case, ultimately means that our road works will be completed quicker, enabling all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians to get back to their normal journeys quicker to get back to their normal journeys quicker, with potential reduction in congestion and the like. Bromley is pleased to be working with Riney adopting innovative technologies to lead the way in London.”

Brian Kent, national technical director at Tarmac, said: “An increasing number of local authorities are taking action to adopt more sustainable ways of working and it’s great to see Bromley leading the way in the capital with a commitment to use the material across its network. 

“Warm mix asphalt is a proven materials technology that benefits road users, residents living around areas of roadworks, highways workforces who spend less time exposed to traffic during roadworks, and the environment.”


Editor's notes

‘Working for better roads - Warm Mix Asphalt: reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiencies’ report issued by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Highways, September 2019. This report was researched and funded by the members of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), which jointly supports the APPG on Highways in conjunction with the Institute of Highway Engineers. The AIA is a partnership between the Mineral Products Association (MPA) and Eurobitume UK and was established in 2000 to increase awareness of the asphalt industry and its activities, and the uses and benefits of asphalt.

Warm mix asphalt:The simple principle behind warm mix asphalt (WMA) technologies is to manufacture and lay the asphalt at lower temperatures, thereby using less energy and delivering meaningful carbon savings, without compromising performance. WMA can be produced at temperatures up to 40°C lower than traditional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) and requires limited modification of existing plant. It can also be laid using existing equipment. 

WMA is produced at lower temperatures, so less energy is used in its manufacture and therefore fewer emissions are generated. As well as reducing the CO2 associated with manufacture, warm mix asphalt will arrive at trafficking temperature sooner, leading to earlier re-opening to traffic. This then reduces vehicle emissions arising from lower vehicle speeds or stationary traffic at roadworks and improves fuel efficiency.

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