Sustainable Construction

Local councils using rubber modified asphalt


“It’s fantastic to see Leicestershire County Council embracing the many benefits of these new asphalt technologies and the first authority to use the new material for a project of this scale. It’s vital that other authorities follow their lead in adopting the use of the more sustainable highways solutions available which support local and central government ambitions to achieve net-zero targets, as well as benefiting road users, local residents and the highways workforce.”

Brian Kent, National Technical Director at Tarmac

A road in the London borough was resurfaced by Tarmac Kier Joint Venture (TKJV) using granulated rubber from end-of-life recycled tyres. Barnet Council trialled the use of recycled tyres for road surfacing as part of its commitment to building a borough fit for the future where residents and businesses can benefit from sustainable services, amenities and infrastructure.

ULTIPAVE R, a rubber modified stone mastic asphalt (SMA) uses warm mix asphalt technology to achieve a reduced carbon footprint, typically 8-12 per cent lower than the equivalent conventional SMA. Using warm mix technology also means that the material can be laid quicker and set faster, and so roads can be reopened sooner. Around 240 tonnes of rubber modified SMA was laid as part of a new surface course at Hill Top Road by the TKJV’s surfacing team in a single shift.

Depending on the thickness of the road surfacing, Tarmac Kier has calculated that up to 500 waste tyres could be recycled in every kilometre of road resurfaced with the ULTIPAVE R solution, which can help reduce the 120,000 tonnes of rubber waste including 500,000 tyres that are exported from the UK annually.

Councillor Peter Zinkin, vice chair of Barnet Council’s environment committee, said: “This approach in Barnet helps the council as part of its demanding sustainability strategy, while maximising the reuse of end-of-life tyres which would have been exported as waste.”

Tarmac has also helped Leicestershire County Council to deliver greener roads with the biggest supply to date of a new rubberised asphalt, for the resurfacing of the A426 Blaby Bypass. With 4,800 tonnes locally supplied from our Mountsorrel Quarry, the asphalt used rubber from approximately 3,300 waste car tyres.

In comparison to conventional hot mix asphalt, the use of the warm mix technology on this project has delivered a saving of over 14 tonnes of CO2 in total – the equivalent to the emissions generated by cars travelling an estimated 116,000 kilometres.

Leicestershire County Council was awarded £5million from the Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, to carry out the works on a key part of the network which include resurfacing and strengthening sections of the carriageway at the end of their life cycles. The Council was supported in its bid by Tarmac, as we provided detailed information on the sustainability benefits of using warm mix and rubber modified asphalt technology.

Trevor Pendleton, Leicestershire County Councillor, cabinet member for highways and transport said: “Using recycled and carbon-friendly components for our road improvements emphasises our commitment to improving the environment. Work on both the Blaby and Harborough bypasses is already almost completed with minimal disruption to motorists and I am delighted to see the environmentally-friendly innovations used in this project.”