Roundabout building and the circular economy

What can the circular economy teach the highways sector? Martin Lamb of Iten Global explains how a European funded project involving Maple Consulting and HelloMyPA will help road construction and maintenance to be more sustainable

Caerphilly based SMEs, Maple Consulting and HelloMyPA are part of European consortium who have been awarded a two-year research contract to investigate how to bring circular economy principles into road construction and maintenance. The project is funded by seven European national road administrations, including National Highways (formerly Highways England) as part of the Conference of European Road Director’s transnational research call.

Studies show that the circular economy can contribute towards tackling the remaining 45% of greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be resolved by transitioning to renewable energy alone, whilst considering the use of natural resources that is not always considered in the context of achieving carbon reductions.

Although many national road administrations well developed sustainable policies, these are often out of sync with their procurement practices. The CERCOM (Circular Economy in Road Construction and Maintenance) project will investigate what practices are in place currently and the enablers and barriers for adopting circular practices. It will deliver an innovative risk-based framework and management tool to facilitate a step change in the adoption of circular economy principles in procurement and multi-lifecycle management by NRAs across Europe. This will be tested on three schemes across Europe. Finally, a wide range of supporting activities will be undertaken, to raise awareness, develop capability, and adopt new standards, implement assessment methods, develop innovative procurement practices and provide training (technical, operational and change in culture).

Further details of the project were published in the August/September edition of Highways Magazine (p32 and 34) – which you can read here: A project website is under development, which will be operational by the end of November.

The project started in September 2021 and will run for two years, led by Research Driven Solutions (Ireland), Technical University of Delft (Netherlands), International Transport Experts Network (UK, contracted by Maple Consulting), Danish Technological Institute (Denmark) and HelloMyPA (UK).

For further information, contact