Building new roads increases traffic, leading to more carbon emissions. The Government claims new roads will not significantly increase emissions so we decided to find out using their own data. We used Freedom of Information laws to ask Highways England for the carbon impact of its 50 RIS2 schemes. So far we have data for 45 out of the 50 listed schemes, which reveals that Highways England estimates the extra traffic will lead to almost 32 million tonnes of extra carbon emissions, whilst construction adds another 4 million tonnes.
We've requested more on scheme construction emissions but are still waiting for most of these. For the detailed breakdown for each scheme see our findings below:
Please note: these figures do not include emissions, such as from the change in land use (although sometimes this is included in construction emissions), power generation for electric vehicles, manufacturing emissions from increasing car ownership, changes in settlement and activity patterns and wider synergetic effects.