Highways England funds trial of rubberised road in new tyre recycling scheme

Roads across the UK could soon be rubberised in a bid to cut down on tyre waste, if trials funded by Highways England are deemed successful.

A newly-laid stretch of road between junctions 23 to 22 on the M1 southbound has been laid with a surface developed by materials firm Tarmac that puts recycled tyre rubber into a traditional asphalt mix.

The durability of the rubberised road will be tested on this small stretch of the M1, in a bid to see if it can withstand high levels of traffic over a long period of time. Tarmac says up to 750 waste tyres could be used per kilometre of road made of the surface, depending on its thickness.

EU law bans the disposal of tyres in European landfill sites, which Highways England says results in waste rubber being shipped to the Middle East and Asia. It says one Kuwaiti landfill site houses over seven million tyres and is visible from space.

Martin Bolt, Highways England corporate group leader, said: “Highways England is committed to investing in innovation to help us meet the economic, environmental and efficiency challenges we face in our changing world and also to delivering environment improvements as we strive to ensure our road network works more harmoniously with its surroundings.

“This trial could well be the first step to rapidly reducing the number of tyres piling up in the UK and beyond. The economic and environmental potential of this new asphalt is significant and we are delighted to be working with Tarmac in this trial.”

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