National Highways has created a new Environmental Sustainability division as it bolsters its commitment to the green agenda.
The division will work with the organisation’s executive directors and board to deliver an ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions to net-zero across England’s motorways and major A-roads by 2050.
Bringing together National Highways’ environmental teams and a new carbon team into one central division, it is hoped the move will raise the profile of the environment within the organisation and create additional capacity and capability to deliver on the issue.
The 50-strong division will also develop National Highways’ new environmental strategy.
The division will be led by Stephen Elderkin, who brings to the position experience from both major project delivery and economic and chief analyst roles.
Commenting on the appointment, Elderkin said: “It’s a privilege to take on this role at such a critical time. We’ve seen how COP26 has brought heightened public recognition of the need for action on climate change.
“National Highways connects the country, playing a vital role in national prosperity.
“But we must do that sustainably, making our contribution to achieving a net-zero economy and showing ambition and leadership to leave a positive legacy through our approach to the environment.
“The challenge to us and the industry is to demonstrate how we are delivering improved environment outcomes; rapidly decarbonising transport and supporting biodiversity to create the cleaner, greener network a zero-carbon Britain needs.
“The environmental challenges we face can only be achieved by working together – I look forward to working with our supply chain partners and stakeholders to achieve our ambitious goals.”
Moving forward, the division will have several key objectives, including:
- Implementing the net-zero plan
- Developing the long-term vision and strategy for an environmentally sustainable National Highways
- Enhancing biodiversity
- Reducing local environmental impacts from the National Highways network
Mike Wilson, executive director of Safety Engineering and Standards, said: “We’re committed to our ambitious vision of net-zero by 2050 but recognise the scale of the challenge that faces us.
“Being able to call on someone with Stephen’s experience will make a real difference in our capability to deliver that promise.
“Our net-zero carbon plan and the new division will put roads at the heart of the low-carbon economy, while preserving the convenience and economic benefit of an efficient road network.”
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