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There’s never been a better time for green road infrastructure

With oil prices and logistic costs at an all time high, the case for sustainability in road construction has never been stronger.

Repairing some of the UK’s busiest roads whilst simultaneously trying to reduce carbon emissions to net zero may seem like an impossible task. But our team of road surfacing and civil engineering specialists at Minster Group, is at the forefront of green road surfacing practices.

For many years we’ve been championing sustainable approaches as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional methods and materials. Now, the case for ecological is also the case for economical because there’s never been a better time to go green.

One of our recent green projects
One of our recent green projects: This new Lincolnshire footpath was created by Minster Group using recycled concrete from Pelham Bridge refurbishment in Lincoln

A clear-cut case for sustainability

As you’ll know, inflation is soaring at 6.1% year on year, and it’s expected to exceed 8% this summer. Meanwhile, the cost of oil and gas are skyrocketing while worker shortages and added difficulties in shipping are driving up costs elsewhere. 

During 2021, the cost of shipping increased by over 350%. Meanwhile, Driver shortages have swept Europe, including the UK. The cost of fuel has risen 40% in a year and the cost of oil has risen by more than 70% in 12 months. At the same time, demand for aggregates and asphalt is at a 12 year high. As a result, the cost of infrastructure, road surfacing and construction in general is becoming ever higher…. But that’s not the case with sustainable civil engineering.

Green solutions, which were once derided as an unnecessary luxury are now much more economical than the ‘old fashioned’, resource-intensive alternatives and this means the case for sustainability has never been stronger – and that’s before we factor in the increasingly pressing environmental argument for change.

Quite rightly, the government aims to cut emissions, reduce consumption and waste and increase recycling, but, according to Parliament Sustainability targets, the UK has underperformed in all its carbon emissions targets for 2020/21.  National Highways even reported that emissions related to road construction and maintenance in 2020 exceeded 734,000t of CO2e. The UK’s 2050 net zero target, which aims to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy by 2050, means an overhaul of road operations and maintenance needs to happen – and fast.

On a financial and environmental level, no country can afford to carry on building, repairing and replacing road infrastructure using virgin materials and wasteful practices and pollutive products  while sending precious material to landfill. 

Working as a sustainable organisation - Minster Group
Working as a sustainable organisation – Minster Group

A sensible alternative

Minster Group is at the cutting edge of innovation and dedicated to sustainability, recycling and environmental responsibility. We work on green projects around the UK for both the Ministry of Defence (MoD), private developers and local authorities, creating hundreds of miles of new roads using recycled material, and preventing thousands of tonnes of material from going to landfill. 

For years, roads have been traditionally surfaced and repaired using raw materials such as concrete and asphalt, simply discarding old material into landfill. With Minster’s award-winning green strategies, partnerships with like-minded suppliers, technological investments and pioneering new approaches – we are routinely recycling road material to create the sub-base, base and binder course layers of brand new roads. 

Each year, our green technologies and practices prevent an estimated 2,310 tonnes of CO₂ emissions from being produced. This is equivalent to the quantity of CO₂ sequestered by 924,000 trees each year and our costs have always been comparable with non-sustainable approaches. Now, we can be even cheaper.

In fact, 50% of all Minster’s work is currently carried out with zero waste, with extracted material being recycled for use in future surfacing projects, such as new roads, footpath surfacing, industrial yards and car parks. We also produce our own recycled concrete products using the waste materials removed from infrastructure projects, with additional material recycled on site.

By using recycled materials to surface and repair new roads, Minster Group has been able to significantly reduce the need for shipping, meaning this hasn’t had any impact on the cost of our works.

Minster Group MD Bruce Spencer-Knott receieves sustainability award from Balfour Beatty
Bruce Spencer-Knott, founder and managing director of Minster Group, accepting a Sustainability award from Balfour Beatty

Bruce Spencer-Knott, managing director of Minster Group, said:

“Our mission at Minster Group is to continuously improve the sustainability of our road and civil engineering practices by using recycled materials wherever possible.

“Our innovative approaches enable us to complete high-quality civil engineering projects with a reduced impact on the environment, and we continuously strive to improve the sustainability of road surfacing, through the reduction of emissions and the use of recycled materials wherever possible.

“Civil engineering and road surfacing are among the most pollutive elements of the construction sector, but we’re proud to have significantly reduced our impact on the environment using a range of green technologies and waste reduction strategies.”

Minster’s award winning green strategies have been recognised by a number of organisations including BusinessGreen, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards, and were recently named ‘Sustainable Supply Chain Partner’ by infrastructure giants ​​Balfour Beatty.

Click here to find out more about our sustainable materials and technologies, and click here to see examples of these in practice.

If you’d like to enquire about our work and find out how we can help your organisation, contact us today.

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