Highway authorities could be saving millions and reducing CO2 emissions if they switched to warm mix asphalt on road construction and maintenance, MPs have said.

Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Highways have released a report on the environmental, safety and performance benefits of warm mixes.

Warm mix asphalt can be produced at temperatures up to 40C lower than traditional hot mixes, which are often laid at 190C.

The warm material can reduce CO2 emissions by around 15% depending on product and plant. It also cools quicker so jobs can be open to traffic sooner and cuts fumes in half for every 10C reduction in temperature, creating a safer working environment.

Red tape and a reluctance to try new ideas are said to be the blockers to a wider roll out.

The material already accounts for almost 40% of production in the USa and over 15% in France but represents just 4% in asphalt production in Britain.

If all asphalt production in Great Britain were switched to warm mix it would save at least 61,000 tonnes of CO2 the equivalent of almost 300 million car journeys, the report states.

Highways England – the national roads operator – estimates that an increase in shift outputs of 20% could be provided by using warm mixes on its network saving up to £70m a year.

Richard Hayes, chief executive of the IHE, said: ‘The use of warm mix asphalts within the UK will significantly support the reduction in the carbon footprint of road surfacing. However, this is not the only benefit as warm mixes allow the new surface to return to traffic use much earlier thus reducing delays.’


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