By Andrew Williams,
The need to find uses for recycled tyre rubber is encouraging considerable lateral thinking on the part of the environmentally aware. Recent tests suggest that tyre derived rubber crumb is perfectly suited for constructing, rebuilding and repairing public rights of way.
Most rights of way are currently repaired using crushed concrete. This gives a very hard surface, which is long lasting but unsuited to the needs of a great many users of these routes. By contrast, tyre waste creates a durable surface, with the advantage of versatility and suitability for a wide range of uses.
Following trials by Nottinghamshire and Hertfordshire County Councils it appears that rubber crumb from tyre waste meets their needs perfectly. According to Peter Jarman, Rights of Way Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, Local Authorities are obliged to provide surfaces which meet the needs of as many user groups as possible. Jarman confirmed that, ?the surfaces themselves have demonstrated that they are durable and suit the needs of all our main user groups. The feedback we have received has certainly been very positive and we consider the trial a success. Finding a surfacing solution which best satisfies the varying needs of the different users is a significant challenge for local authorities and we?re extremely pleased with the way these trial sections have performed. We are now looking for more opportunities to incorporate recycled tyre material in other surfacing projects.?
Hertfordshire County Council echoes these findings, stressing that the softer, yet durable, surface afforded by tyre waste is ideal for bridleways. Colin Hambrook, Countryside Access Officer for Hertfordshire County Council, explains: ?We commonly use crushed concrete as an aggregate which hardens over time and can therefore be unacceptable to a significant number of horse riders. We?re hopeful we?ve found a good alternative in tyre-rubber.?
It seems that even after recycling, some tyres will continue transporting people into the countryside, in an extremely environmentally friendly way.