Westminster Council paves the way with new recycled roads

Westminster City Council and FM Conway has completed a carbon-neutral initiative in Elmfield Way, Westminster, using 92% recycled materials for a new road surface, the highest percentage ever used on a UK road.

In collaboration with the council, FM Conway upgraded the road and footways using low-carbon techniques, resulting in a 78% total carbon saving, equivalent to around 100 tonnes of CO2. To offset remaining carbon emissions, high-quality Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) units, certified by Verra, the world’s largest carbon registry, were used.

The new carriageway, spanning 1,600m2, employed approximately 280 tonnes of warm mix, single-layer asphalt on Elmfield Way. The asphalt, manufactured at lower temperatures and laid in a 30% thinner layer, reduced the overall tonnage by approximately 30%, saving carbon throughout the life cycle. The use of recycled content also reduced the need for virgin bitumen and quarried stone, preserving the natural environment and minimising carbon impact from material haulage.

The project included enhancing the footway between the Woodfield Medical Centre and Harrow Road, installing 11 new LED lamp columns, 200m of new cabling, and conducting full drainage clearance. FM Conway’s low carbon footways model, implemented in the footways, contributed additional carbon savings, incorporating closed-loop recycling of excavated materials and using lower thickness paving materials and lower carbon cement alternatives.

The entire project was executed without the use of fossil fuels on-site, employing Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in the resurfacing element, alongside electric mini-excavators, disc cutters, and compaction plates. A solar-powered welfare unit, with HVO as a backup, was also used in the footways element.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality said: “The use of 92% recycled materials is remarkable and a huge step in the right direction as part of the council’s commitment to creating a Fairer Environment.”

“We’re not only reducing our carbon footprint but also promoting a cleaner, greener future for Westminster. This is only the start of more carbon saving initiatives we’ll be trialling in the city to get us one step closer to hitting our net-zero targets.”

FM Conway Sustainability Director, Matt Tallon, said: “This one-of-a-kind scheme illustrates how it is possible for the best low carbon products, methods, and techniques that are available today, can be stacked together to deliver massive carbon reductions.

“It is only once these embodied and operational carbon savings are made, should the residual carbon be offset, which in this case was done with high quality, verified ‘VCS’ carbon removal and renewable projects, as well as the planting of trees in the UK.”

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