We become world's first roads organisation to achieve global carbon management standard

National Highways becomes first roads organisation in the world to achieve global carbon management standard

Our management system to reduce carbon during the design, construction, and operation of England’s strategic road network has achieved Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2080 accreditation.

PAS 2080 ‘carbon management in infrastructure’ is a global specification for managing whole-life carbon in infrastructure. It was developed by the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board with the British Standards Institute (BSI).

PAS 2080 provides a consistent framework for evaluating and managing carbon across infrastructure.

The standard recognises organisations that:

  • have strategies in place to reduce carbon
  • develop more collaborative ways of working to promote innovation, delivering benefit to society and communities
  • make an important contribution to tackling climate change

Mike Wilson, Executive Director, Safety Engineering and Standards for National Highways, said:

“By leading the way in delivering more sustainable solutions through design, construction and operation, National Highways will leave a positive green legacy for generations to come.

“This accreditation is one of a number of ambitious commitments for 2022 toward decarbonising construction and maintenance, working with partners across the sector.”

Road Minister Richard Holden said:

“We must always keep the environment in mind in everything we do and this accreditation is a clear recognition of the hard work done by National Highways and the innovation taking place across our roads to reduce our environmental impact.”

Net zero highways

Our Net zero highways plan, published in 2021, set out our approach to achieve net zero.

It puts roads at the heart of Britain’s net zero future through three key commitments:

  • achieving net zero for its own operations by 2030
  • delivering net zero road maintenance and construction by 2040
  • supporting net zero carbon travel on our roads by 2050.

Road projects

We have introduced new and updated processes and procedures to help us consistently assess the carbon impacts of each of our roads projects.

These will also help us identify and implement low carbon opportunities consistently at every stage throughout a project’s lifecycle, including:

  • net zero materials
  • low carbon construction methods


From 2023, we will introduce a series of updates to our existing processes for planning and managing renewal and operational maintenance programmes.

These will help us identify changes to our ways of working that support low-carbon delivery.

We will be audited annually to demonstrate year on year improvements in managing and reducing whole life carbon emissions.

We will develop training and resources around carbon and net zero.

We will ask our contractors and their sub-contractors to implement their own PAS 2080 accredited carbon management systems by the end of 2025.

Lower Thames Crossing

Separately, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing scheme has also received PAS 2080 accreditation in its own right, the first UK road project to do so.

This highlights its commitment to carbon neutral construction as a Pathfinder scheme and help the UK reach net zero by 2050.

This ambitious project involves the construction of 14.3 miles of new road and a 2.6-mile tunnel under the Thames to relieve congestion at Dartford.

It will provide more reliable journeys for local communities and improve the flow of freight to and from major ports.

Materials roadmaps and opportunities register

Following PAS 2080 accreditation, we have published new road maps for materials and will shortly publish our ‘low carbon opportunities register.’

Materials roadmaps

Our net zero roadmaps for concrete, asphalt and steel demonstrate the technologies we have identified and the steps we will take to achieve net zero emissions for each material.

They identify and quantify the potential impact of the decarbonisation levers available for each material and how we will realise them.

Low Carbon Opportunities Register

To help us identify carbon interventions, we are developing a live ‘Low Carbon Opportunities Register’ as a central repository of low carbon design and delivery options.

The register will help us to review opportunities against current standards, technological readiness, and commercial viability.

It will allow companies to learn from best practice with projects, feeding in where measures have successfully been implemented.

We will be hosting industry briefings sessions on materials roadmaps and the opportunities early in 2023.

Read more about our Net zero highways 2030-2040-2050 plan.