This section provides road data on environmental impacts ranging from emissions to increased fuel economy and road recycling.
Speed and CO2 Emissions
Source: Highways Agency, 2003
This graph represents emissions with free-flowing traffic. The emissions represented are an average for all vehicles. This is the latest study representing CO2 emissions for free-flowing roads. It is only available for kilometres per hour.
UK Average CO2 Emissions from New Cars
Source: SMMT 2012
CO2 emissions are only reported in grammes per km (g/km).
Note on Decrease in Road Revenue — In November 2012 the Office of Budget Responsibility projected in 2012 a £13 billion loss in revenue by 2029 due to higher efficiency in vehicles, creating a loss in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and fuel duty revenue for the UK government. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) proposes toll and managed motorways as a way to fill this capacity gap in future revenue. This is to be achieved through denationalising the road network and instituting a toll network. IEA proposes that this could generate £150 billion in revenue while simultaneously phasing out VED and Fuel Duty as a means of generating revenue. the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimated that in order to keep up, fuel duty would have to be raised by 50%. The IFS proposed the introduction of a national toll network as a means to address future projected falls in revenue from road users. See Road Toll Schemes, Revenue, and Decrease in Road Revenue for further information on tolls.
Historic and Forecast Traffic and Emissions: England
Source: DFT 2011
Reduction in Road Transport Emissions
‘Other’ refers to: P particulates, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, lead, and sulphur dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions are not available centrally.
Alternative Fuelled Cars
Source: DfT, 2012
Alternative fuelled cars include: petrol / gas, gas, gas bio-fuel, gas diesel, electric, and hybrid electric vehicles.
GB Average New Car Fuel Consumption
Source: DfT, 2012
Reduction in Rail Transport Emissions
Source: DFT: 2012
‘Other’ refers to: particulates, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, lead, and sulphur dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions are not available centrally.
Road Construction Waste by Type
Type of materials
2011 - 2012
|Water recycling by 2020:||80%
|Total construction waste tonnes||355,716
|Water use at construction sites m3||212,725
|Non-hazardous waste tonnes||354,725
|Hazardous waste tonnes||1,009
|Waste sent to landfill||0.9%
Road Construction Waste Reuse
This represents all Highways Agency affiliated road construction projects throughout 2011 – 2012. Figures for Local Authority construction are not available centrally.
- Noise pollution due to road traffic affects nearly 40% of people in the EU, with noise typically exceeding 55 decibels.
- Another 20% are exposed to levels in excess of 65 decibels.
- In the UK, noise pollution due to road traffic affects roughly 12 million people.
Sources: TRL 2010, UKNA 2011, WHO 2012
Rolling traffic noise is less abrasive than engine noise. At lower speeds of 30 mph or less, engine noise dominates; at higher speeds rolling noise is dominant. Some solutions range from measures to reduce noise at the source through low-noise asphalts and low-noise tyres; to deflecting noise through street insulation barriers. For more than 10 years, the UK has been installing low-noise surfaces during construction projects. A new measure in the EU to incorporate twin-layer porous asphalt has decreased noise pollution significantly. The Highways Agency is currently reviewing the potential use of this material.
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