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Sustainability key in future highway design

Key considerations of future road design will be sustainability and climate change, thanks to a panel of design experts who are working closely with Highways England.

The Company’s Strategic Design Panel has published its fourth progress recommendations report.

The report discusses the Panel’s progress over the past year and a half (June 2019 to end of 2020) and suggests key recommendations to take forward in the second period.

The Panel recommendations include:

  • accelerate communication and training to promote and embed its design vision and principles into its processes and culture
  • act on the Panel’s recommendations for adapting to climate change, reducing carbon, supporting biodiversity and the design of corridors
  • publish a design strategy to clearly articulate its ambitions for the second road period and beyond

The role of The Panel is to make sure that design excellence in landscape, engineering and built environment is considered in all of Highways England projects.

They will be focused on supporting and challenging Highways England in the quality and improvement of England’s strategic road network (SRN).

The report says:

“Roads are long in their planning and long-lasting in operation. Designers must anticipate changes in long-term technological, social and environmental conditions under which they will function well into the future.”

Minnie Moll, Chief Executive at Design Council, said:

“Infrastructure has the power to connect communities, boost economic growth and enhance the built and natural environment. Of course, this can only be achieved if it is well designed – with people and the planet considered throughout the process.”

A further recommendation the report advises is that road planning and design must accept the challenge of creating a network resilient to climate change, with emphasis on sustainable design.

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