London’s first ‘recycled road’ is laid in Tower Hamlets


TOWER Hamlets has become the first borough in London to get a ‘recycled road’ made partly from old tyres that would otherwise have been destined for a landfill site.

The council has been working with Tarmac, the company behind the new technology that uses rubber crumb from the 40 million waste tyres produced every year mixed into asphalt.

Earlier this year work began on Canrobert Street in Bethnal Green where approximately 100 recycled tyres were mixed into a new road surface laid by council contractors JB Riney.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, commented on the scheme: “It’s great to see innovative solutions to repurposing waste that could otherwise go to landfill or incineration.

“We were one of the first councils to declare a climate emergency and we’re keen to explore all ideas that can reduce our impact on the environment.

“This product will provide a safe surface with less emissions and disruption during the laying process.

“We want residents and businesses to think about how they can reduce their carbon footprint so it’s important we do our bit too.”

The introduction in Bethnal Green follows a successful trial on the M1 motorway.

The surface is laid at a lower temperature which means roads can be re-opened quicker with up to 10 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions, improved site safety, reduced fumes and less risk of burns to workers.

It is hoped that more boroughs will follow Tower Hamlets in adopting this product and technology to reduce emissions.

Brian Kent, national technical director at Tarmac, added: “Used tyres remain a significant and overlooked waste stream and our new, innovative rubber modified asphalts offer a more sustainable option for local roads.

“It’s fantastic to see the London Borough of Tower Hamlets taking the lead in the capital and delivering environmental savings by leveraging this new technology and unlocking the benefits of a circular economic approach.”

Tower Hamlets Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has committed to working towards becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2025.

Carbon emissions are on track to be cut by 60 per cent this year and the council’s ambitious Liveable and School Streets programmes aim to make walking, cycling and access to public transport easier and safer for all.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has established a £200,000 Air Quality Fund.

It is backed by the Breathe Clean campaign which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of poor air quality and the actions that need to be taken to improve it.

The council has signed the Clean Van Commitment to move to zero emission vehicles by 2028 and is encouraging businesses to follow suit with grants via the Zero Emissions Networks and Low Business Emissions Neighbourhoods schemes.