Older road surfaces which contain cancer-causing chemicals are being recycled, cleaned, and re-used on new roads, thanks to a new method being used in Nottinghamshire.
The coal tar used on older roads contains chemicals which can cause cancer, and is classed as hazardous waste. Once dug up, this used to be shipped to a specialist disposal facility in Skegness, at a cost to the taxpayer of around £1m a year.
But now that material can be dug up, stripped of the carcinogens, and safely re-used in other parts of the county.
It is thought this has saved half a million pounds for Nottinghamshire County Council since last April, and almost 250,000kg of carbon emissions.
Once dug up, the potentially dangerous chemicals can now be extracted, before other materials are added, creating a new mix which can be laid on roads.
The new mix has now been used on Oatfield Lane, in Shelford, Bassingfield Lane in Bassingfield, and Raymoth Lane, in Worksop, among others.
It is hoped the new method will continue next year, with 12 sites earmarked for the new material to be laid.
Highways firm Via has also estimated that it has so far recycled 9,500 tonnes of the old material at 45 sites around the county.
Grace Ollivent, performance and quality manager at Via, said the scheme came about as part of a drive to improve environmental standards at the company.
She said: “There’s a demand from our employees and from the public to demonstrate that we’re a responsible business, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the engagement we’ve got.”
Via was set up in 2016 in partnership with Cornwall and Nottinghamshire county councils.
Late last year, the Conservative-led Nottinghamshire County Council announced it planned to buy the remaining shares in the company from Cornwall council at a cost believed to be around £5 million.
The sale is yet to be finalised, but is expected to be wrapped up imminently.