Climate change and the strategic road network

The challenge

We must consider how the changing climate will affect our strategic road network - the 4300 miles of motoways and major A-roads we manage including bridges, tunnels, drains and earthworks.

The latest climate projections for the 2070s indicate that the UK may experience:

Future proofing our network

We must anticipate future trends in climate and weather conditions when planning long term development and improvement of our network.

Climate change poses many risks to infrastructure organisations. We must be flexible when planning the long term development of our network.

This includes considering future trends in climate and weather conditions and keeping up to date with the latest climate science.

Our net zero highways plan sets out how we aim to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

However, we must also adapt to the climate change we will experience over the coming decades.

Our approach to net zero carbon and climate change
Our approach to net zero carbon and climate change

This diagram shows the elements of our net zero carbon strategy (electric vehicles, renewable energy, energy efficiency, low carbon materials, led lighting and minimising waste) and our approach to climate change (flood protection, condition monitoring, business continuity, temperature resilience and risk assessment).

Some elements intersect both net zero and climate change adaptation (durable materials and asset design, technology, good governance and nature based solutions).

Our approach

If you would like to read full details of our approach to climate change, you will find them in:

Preparing for climate change on the strategic road network - third adaptation report under the Climate Change Act (January 2022)

Under the Climate Change Act 2008, we are required to produce a report detailing our climate change adaptation strategies and, optionally, revisit it every five years afterward. This is known as the Adaptation Reporting Power (ARP). We developed ARP1 in 2011, and ARP2 in 2016.

Our current report, ARP3:

  • re-evaluates significant climate risks threatening the safe operation of England’s Strategic Road Network using more up-to-date climate projections
  • assesses progress against previously identified adaptation actions
  • identifies areas for improvement and appropriate actions