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Today's story - looking into plastic potholes.

October 3, 2018 6:27 AM

Wiltshire Council isn't very good at fixing potholes, so councillors Brian Mathew and Steve Oldrieve have made a modest suggestion to improve matters. This motion went to the council meeting on May 22nd:

The Use of Plastic Waste in Road Repairs, Re-Surfacing and Construction:

"With the disposal of waste plastics becoming increasingly important to the residents of Wiltshire and the UK in general, as previous destinations in the Far East, including China, stop taking our plastic waste, there is need for us here in Wiltshire to do our bit to recycle plastic waste at home.

Wiltshire drivers are also complaining of the state of our roads after the last winter, with all too often temporary fixes popping back out of the road, within weeks of being patched.

So what links these two problems?

The answer is a possible solution, by using waste plastic in road construction, road repair and road re-surfacing. What are the benefits of doing this?

• Increase lifespan of roads • Reduced maintenance costs • Cheaper alternatives to Polymer Modified Bitumen • Reduction in landfill tax costs • Reduced carbon emissions • A Green alternative to bitumen in asphalt.

This technology is now up and running in the UK with real life experience from Penrith, Dumfries and Galloway, Carlisle, and Cumbria. As well as similar experiences being found internationally in Canada and India. If all the UK's roads were repaired and maintained in this way, it would consume an estimated 60,000 tons of waste plastic a year. Waste that might otherwise end up being incinerated, filling landfill, or polluting our seas.

Wiltshire Council prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation and problem solving, so here it can be a leader in both solving its waste plastics problem, and building stronger, cheaper to maintain roads. A 'win win' is on offer.

This motion calls on Wiltshire Council to undertake a feasibility study into this method of using waste plastics in its road repair, resurfacing, and road building programmes."

At the time it was deferred for further consideration by councillors. That happens today as a small 'task group' meets in Chippenham to hear from the industry and from researchers. A recommendation will then be made back to the council on whether or not to proceed.