Highways England is trialling innovative new road surface on a section of the M1.
The new surface, which uses recycled tyres, has been laid between junctions 23 to 22 on the southbound carriageway of the M1, located close to Leicester.
This road surface, developed by Tarmac, looks to harness the huge amount of waste tyres each year in the UK and put them to use to create environmental and economic benefits to the UK.
Currently, the UK produces in the region of 40 million waste tyres each year, but significantly, in excess of 500,000 have to be shipped out every year to be landfilled because EU rules mean disposal of tyres by landfill is banned in the UK.
Therefore, tyres are shipped out to the Middle East and Asia, but the problem is so stark now that one site in Kuwait, which has more than seven million tyres in its landfill, can now be seen from space.
By using waste tyres for innovative road surface solutions, Tarmac believe that up to 750 of these tyres could be used in every kilometre of road surfaced with new material, depending on how thick the road is.
Implementing the new surface on the M1 will give Highways England the chance to test durability on a part of the road network which is used frequently.
Martin Bolt oversees innovative projects for Highways England; he said there is “significant” potential in using this new asphalt in terms of improving environmental performance.
He 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.”