Lower Thames Crossing awarded Gold by the Carbon Literacy Project

The planned Lower Thames Crossing tunnel east of London has been awarded Gold level accreditation by the Carbon Literacy Project, the first major UK infrastructure project to achieve this level.

National Highways explains the scheme is a Pathfinder project exploring low carbon construction, and is committed to raising awareness amongst its workforce of the costs and impacts of carbon dioxide from everyday activities, and motivating them to reduce emissions in their professional and personal lives.

The Carbon Literacy Project has awarded the Lower Thames Crossing its Gold award and accredited the project as being “culturally Carbon Literate” after over half of staff have completed Carbon Literacy training, and collectively completed over 2,500 hours of carbon training. This has strengthened staff knowledge of climate change and the actions they can take to help tackle it – both at work and at home. The project’s three Delivery Partners will also be working to achieve Carbon Literacy accreditation.

Matt Palmer, Executive Director, Lower Thames Crossing said: “The Lower Thames Crossing will tackle congestion at the Dartford Crossing, while also serving as a carbon pathfinder project to showcase our ability to develop essential infrastructure in a Net Zero future. The foundation for this is our people, and it’s incredibly important we have a better understanding of how by working together, individual small actions can make a real difference – on this project, on the next, and on the UK’s pathway to net zero.”

Phil Korbel, Co-Founder and Director of Advocacy from the Carbon Literacy Project said: “A Carbon Literacy Gold is a major achievement for any organisation. In embedding Carbon Literacy training in the project at such scale the Lower Thames Crossing is walking the walk in terms of maximising its people’s capacity to do their best climate action.  From top table to digging holes in the ground, everyone has a role to play, and this training starts that vital journey.”

National Highways says carbon reduction is at the heart of the Lower Thames Crossing and the project’s procurement process has already reduced predicted carbon emissions by around 50% at no additional cost, by committing to use low carbon methods and materials. The project plans to remove 20 million litres of diesel from its worksites by using hydrogen to power its heavy diggers and equipment. It will also use electric plant for static or slow-moving machinery where a mains connection is possible and in smaller equipment where battery solutions are viable. Other renewable fuel sources and biofuels may also be used. 

The detailed examination of the Lower Thames Crossing by the Government’s independent planning experts, the Planning Inspectorate, ended on 20 December 2023.  The Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport on whether to give permission to build and operate the new crossing in March, with a final decision expected in June. If given the go-ahead, construction is expected to start in 2026.

(Picture – National Highways)


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