Reducing carbon emissions on north Oxford project

As part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency, Oxfordshire County Council is working together with contractor Milestone Infrastructure to deliver the council’s first diesel-free construction project.

Milestone has been using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) at the council’s A40 north Oxford site, between the A34 overbridge and the Wolvercote roundabout, since construction work began in the summer. This means that all construction plant and welfare facilities are powered entirely by HVO.

On average, HVO reduces carbon by around 90 per cent, therefore saving 875 tonnes of carbon in one year* on the north Oxford scheme. This is the equivalent of 1,073 direct flights from London to New York.

Councillor Duncan Enright, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “One of the key aims of our improvement works along the A40 is to reduce carbon emissions and promote more sustainable transport. And it is equally important that we work with our partners to minimise the environmental impact of the works that will bring our plans to fruition.

“We need to lead by example and support climate action in all that we do, and I’m delighted to see our project team working innovatively with our partners to deliver significant reductions in our carbon production on this scheme. It’s through innovative solutions like this that we can achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Richard Stonehouse, Contracts Manager at Milestone Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to have successfully implemented the use of HVO across all plant and welfare facilities on the A40 scheme. As a business, we are committed to carrying out our work in an environmentally responsible manner and this means reviewing our processes to see where improvements can be made. Following these reviews, switching to HVO was a no-brainer.

“By reducing our carbon output so significantly, we can provide a tangible benefit to the people of Oxfordshire and the future generations who will hopefully reap the rewards of our responsible environmental practices.”

The A40 north Oxford highways scheme is on the north-west edge of Oxford, between the Wolvercote roundabout and the A34 flyover. The scheme began in March 2021 and will run until April 2022.

The scheme includes widening the existing road to allow for additional lanes, bus lanes, cycleways and a central reservation. It also includes a large new signalised junction and signalised pedestrian crossing.

The project is part of the wider programme of A40 improvements that will also bring an extension of the dual carriageway around Witney and a new park and ride in Eynsham.

Further information on the A40 north Oxford scheme and the A40 improvements programme can be found on the county council’s website.


  • * In the past, construction plant and welfare facilities have been powered by diesel, which emits approximately 6.23kg of carbon per litre used. With the scheme using 3,000 litres of fuel per week, this meant that using diesel would result in a carbon output of 18,690kg per week. If used for a whole year, this equates to 971 tonnes of carbon being emitted.