Diesel to disappear by 2035 – CLC


The Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) CO2nstruct Zero taskforce has published a plan to eliminate the use of diesel from most UK construction sites by 2035. 

CO2nstruct Zero programme logo.
Credit: CLC.

The taskforce’s Zero Diesel Sites Route Map aims to reduce diesel use in construction by 78% by 2035. 

The minister for business, Nusrat Ghani MP, joined the CO2nstruct Zero team for the launch of the plan at HS2’s Old Oak Common Station construction site. 

The plan includes reduction strategies that align with the standards set out by the UK’s 2021 Sixth Carbon Budget, and the UK’s wider goal to reach net zero by 2050.


According to the CLC’s plan, there are more than 300,000 items of Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) in use across the UK construction sector. 

Projects typically require diesel generators ranging from 10kVa to 500kVa on-site for power generation. 

Consequently, the UK construction industry used around 2.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of diesel on site in 2020. 

The World Health Organisation has linked the burning of diesel fuels to air pollution, lung cancer and heart disease.


The Route Map proposes a number of strategies to support the task force’s 2035 goal. These include:

  • Roll-out support for hydrogen, electricity and other cleaner power sources. 
  • Asking companies to reduce the use of diesel generators on sites. 
  • Helping companies to develop diesel reduction plans. 
  • Working with clients to help commit to banning diesel usage. 
  • Tracking data on industry diesel usage to manage progress. 

The plan acknowledges a variety of solutions and industry support will be necessary to meet its goal, which will lead to increased costs. 

The taskforce used MP Chris Skidmore’s Mission Zero to developm the new plan, stressing the need to decarbonise NRMM by the end of 2023. 

The Greater London Authority (GLA) and HS2 have already set minimum emissions standards for NRMM, the latter aiming to have all its sites diesel-free by 2029. 


The firms involved in the Zero Diesel site working group include:

  • Alun Griffiths. 
  • Bam Nuttall. 
  • FM Conway. 
  • Kier. 
  • Keltbray. 
  • Laing O’Rourke. 
  • Morgan Sindall. 

Neil Wait, head of environmental delivery at HS2 Ltd, and chair of the Zero Diesel Route Map working group, said: “Today’s launch is a tangible demonstration of the industry’s shared commitment to radically cut our reliance on diesel. 

“I would encourage companies to get involved and support the move towards cleaner, greener construction.”

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