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 National Highways for the carbon impact of its 50 RIS2 schemes. We also found the figures in National Highways' published environmental reports for schemes where they are available. So far we have the user emissions data from extra traffic for 46 out of the 50 listed schemes, which reveals that National Highways estimates the extra traffic will lead to almost 33 million tonnes of extra carbon emissions. We also have the construction emissions data for 30 of the 50 RIS2 schemes, and National Highways data shows construction would add just under 6 million tonnes.
We've requested more on the remaining scheme construction emissions and will update this page when it becomes available. 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.