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19th July 2021

FCP underpins plan for more trees next to England’s roads

Highways England’s net zero plan includes target to plant at least 3m trees by 2030, based on FCP analysis of roadside opportunities.

Note: this article was published when Verna was called FCP. You can read more about our name change in 2022.

Update: Highways England changed its name to National Highways in August 2021.

Highways England has today released Net Zero Highways, a wide-ranging strategy to make the national road network carbon neutral by 2050. The agency’s own operations will be net zero by 2030, through a plan which includes planting at least 3m trees — a target set using analysis produced by FCP’s ForestFounder system.

In a joint project with consultancy WSP, we used ForestFounder to scan all of the land owned and managed by Highways England, which runs alongside the nation’s motorways and A-roads. This enabled an assessment of the carbon and biodiversity benefits of planting different types of trees on the land identified by ForestFounder as suitable.

As a result, Highways England was able to make confident decisions about the role tree-planting could play in its net zero and sustainability strategies.

Announcing the Net Zero Highways plan, Highways England’s Chief Executive Nick Harris said: “Highways England recognises the threat of climate change and the risks it poses for us all. That’s why we’re pledging to take effective action to take carbon out of roads.”

You can see the 3m trees target, and all of Highways England’s net zero plans, in Net Zero Highways.