Take part in the Road to Net Zero Construction Event

Event countdown:

Friday 25th February 202209:30 – 12:30

About the event

The Lower Thames Crossing and Thames Estuary Growth Board are delighted to bring together local stakeholders and businesses at an interactive virtual event to exchange ideas, skills and innovations in the drive towards net zero.

National Highways has ambitious plans to design the Lower Thames Crossing to be the greenest road ever built in the UK.

The Road to Net Zero Construction’ is your opportunity to hear from business leaders and the main works contractors bidding to build the Lower Thames Crossing as they set out their low carbon priorities.

Following the release of our SME Directory to main works contract bidders in November last year, this event is the next step in integrating our main works contractors with local businesses. National Highways will soon commence the procurement process for the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing. As a result, direct engagement to put forward your proposals to contribute to deliver net zero construction will follow.

Sign up to engage directly with our main works contract bidders and to share new ideas, best practice and solutions that will shape the green agenda within the Thames Estuary region.


Time Section Speaker
09.30 - 10.05 Introduction Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing
Kate Willard OBE, Thames Estuary Growth Board
Charles Stevenson, JCB
10.05 - 10.35 Presentation by main works contract bidders
10.35 - 11.35 Breakout groups
11.35 - 11.40 Comfort break
11.40 - 12:00 Feedback from breakout groups Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing
12.00 - 12.30 Closing remarks Cllr Peter Schwier, Essex County Council
Emma Ward, Department for Transport
Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing

Speaker List

Matt Palmer

Executive Director Lower Thames Crossing

Matt has some 30 years of experience leading roles in design, project and programme management. He has a successful track record as a senior executive and leader across a range of major organisations and programmes, both in the UK and internationally. Prior to the Lower Thames Crossing, Matt was Development Director at Heathrow, responsible for leading the creation of the £14bn scheme to deliver a third runway.

Kate Willard OBE

Chair Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Thames Estuary Envoy

Kate is the Thames Estuary Envoy and chairs the Thames Estuary Growth Board. In addition, she is an independent consultant working on a diverse portfolio of infrastructure and growth projects. With a background in culture and creativity, Kate has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium, working as a regeneration expert with the European Commission on major transnational projects in employment, social cohesion and regional development.

Whilst living and working in Hungary, Kate also established the first UK-Hungarian cultural partnership trust, Brouhaha Magyarország and was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company, Rural Regeneration Cumbria.

Kate chairs Arts Council England Area Council North, is a Non-Executive Director Arts Council England National Council and member of the Performance and Audit committee, is a Churchill Fellow and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

In 2020 Kate was appointed by the Queen with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her longstanding contribution to transport and the economy.

Emma Ward

Director General for Roads, Places and Environment Group Department for Transport

Emma Ward joined the Department for Transport as Director General for Roads, Places and Environment Group on Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Emma has extensive experience working with businesses, local leaders and stakeholders, as well as on place-based approaches to growth and devolution. She was previously DG responsible for Domestic Planning and Implementation at the Department for Exiting the European Union and was also the first Director of the joint Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Cities and Local Growth team.

Cllr Peter Schwier

Climate Czar Essex County Council

Peter Schwier has been a district councillor for six years and was recently elected to Essex County Council and subsequently became the Council’s Climate Czar.

Climate action is a high priority for Essex County Council. This will involve many different initiatives, moving towards becoming carbon neutral as soon as possible.

By profession, Peter is a retired farmer with a degree in agriculture, giving him a close working relationship and understanding of the environment. He also has experience running a small engineering business. The experience of running small businesses and his rural knowledge are assets which will be of great assistance when applied to the larger needs of the County Council.

Peter has lived in both France and America where he gained a commercial pilots licence. He has always been interested in renewable energy and his house benefits from a large array of solar panels combined with battery technology.


Charles Stevenson

General Manager JCB

Charles Stevenson is currently the General Manager of JCB’s London Office. Charles has a range of experience in both the private and public sector including as an Expert Trade Adviser at the Department for International Trade and a Director of the Construction Equipment Association. He also sits on the board of the Combined Industry Theft Solutions and the steering group of the Committee for European Construction Equipment. Charles is also a Net Zero Champion at the Construction Leadership Council.

Sign-up for event

You can sign-up for the event here.

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