Live Labs 2 trials begin

The ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK trial has begun live trials across the country.

The Department for Transport-funded scheme’s trials are taking place in North Lanarkshire, Scotland and in the West Midlands region – including Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The three-year, UK-wide £30 million programme aims to decarbonise the local highway network, and includes seven projects, grouped by four interconnected themes, led by local authorities working alongside commercial and academic partners.

One of the themes is The Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads, which identifies leading road materials innovations, providing a centralised hub for live trialling and evaluation, and a knowledge bank and virtual collaboration environment.

Working as a collaborative partnership, North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) and Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) are working with Amey and Colas to achieve the objectives for the Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads programme, which is split into the north and south campuses.

The first set of Live Labs’ trials include repair and solutions and products from a wide range of partners, including FM Conway, Degafloor, Roadmender, Colas, Meon, Multevo, Instarmac, Viafix, Roadtechs, Velocity, Tarmac, LCM (Low Carbon Materials), JCB Pothole Pro and Thermal Road Repairs.

The teams repaired a total of around 100 potholes using these materials, comparing their carbon footprint and technical performance against existing reference solutions.

The programme will continue to rigorously test, monitor, and evaluate the performance of the materials in partnership with the Expert Research Group, comprised of leading pavement and carbon researchers from University of Nottingham, Aston University and the Future Highways Research Group. A case study and findings will be published in the coming months to drive sustainable innovations that transform local roads, while contributing to the UK’s net-zero carbon goals.

Mark Corbin, Senior Responsible Owner for The Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads South Campus and Transport for West Midland’s Director of Network Resilience said: “Through these trials, we are pushing the boundaries of road materials innovation and paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future. I am proud to be part of this collaborative initiative and excited to witness the positive impact it will have on decarbonising our roads.”

Councillor Kenneth Stevenson, Convener of the Communities Committee at North Lanarkshire Council added: “We are very pleased with the response to our appeal for innovative materials that could help decarbonise the UK road network and achieve net-zero targets, and these trials are the first time we can put new materials and methods to the test. I look forward to seeing the outcomes and sharing these with the industry.”

Highways Sector Director at Amey, Andy Denman said: “We have worked with the sector bodies and programme partners to build the Centre of Excellence, bringing knowledge and expertise together to transform our carbon and climate change ambitions and put them into real actions. We’re excited to see the progress over the next few months and how this may shape our sector for the better.”

Daniel Morgan, Colas’ Executive Director for Products & Surfacing Solutions said: “These trials represent an exciting step forward in our efforts to achieve our decarbonisation goals, they create the opportunity to explore innovative materials and repair solutions that have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. We look forward to the outcome of these trials and the positive impact they will have for the highways sector.”

Image from Shutterstock

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