ADEPT’s Live Labs 2 shortlist announced – 10 projects go forward to Dragons’ Den

The ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK three-year, £30m programme funded by the Department for Transport has published the shortlisted projects going through to the next Dragons’ Den stage.

The initial 30 bids submitted to the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) from local authority-led partnerships across the UK, have now been whittled down to ten. The programme is looking for schemes that address the long-term decarbonisation of highways infrastructure and assets across local roads.

The potential projects competing for a share of the £30m funding are:

  • Brighton & Hove City Council and Kent County Council (in partnership with the Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland)
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Devon County Council
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council (in partnership with the Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland; Cambridgeshire County Council; Derbyshire County Council; Hull City Council; Lancashire County Council; Oxfordshire County Council; Westminster City Council and York City Council)
  • Liverpool City Council (in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Newcastle City Council)
  • North Lanarkshire Council
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council and West Sussex County Council
  • Transport for West Midlands
  • Wessex partnership (Somerset County Council, Cornwall Council and Hampshire County Council)

A range of approaches have been put forward by the competing schemes:

  • Creating a UK Centre of Excellence for materials and manufacturing in roads
  • Testing the performance of recycled materials in roads
  • Introducing an ‘Ecosystem of Things’ mapping approach
  • Creating a test bed of net zero corridors underpinned by the doughnut economics model
  • Creating a ‘National Fleet Impact Strategic Response’ to counter scenario-based risk from fleet vehicles

The Dragons’ Den panel of independent experts drawn from the highways and transportation sector will be looking for projects that raise the bar in terms of local highways authorities’ approach to delivering net zero local roads. The panel will be evaluating innovation, a focused approach to carbon reduction, trials that can be successfully scaled up and a rigorous approach to monitoring and evaluation.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Innovation will be critical in our drive towards a cleaner transport system, and that’s why we’re funding projects such as those shortlisted today to help decarbonise the nation’s roads.

“Our goal is to reach net zero by 2050, and this kind of innovation will be key to reaching our goal.”

Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT said: “We have been overwhelmed by the innovations and commitment to achieving net zero across local roads evidenced by all the applications to ADEPT’s Live Labs 2. The final ten are a truly exciting set of projects that each demonstrate the ambitions and scope of local authority leadership across the highways and transportation sector. I also want to thank DfT and our Commissioning Board partners for their support and expertise as we move to this next stage.”

The Dragons’ Den will be held on 4th November with the winners announced shortly after. Successful proposals will move into a funded mobilisation stage (January to March 2023), to develop fully specified and costed programmes including with procurement, legal and communications strategies.

ADEPT represents local authority, county, unitary and metropolitan directors of place. The Live Labs initiatives are part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of innovation and technology in place-based services.

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