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Tyre pollution could be 1,200 times WORSE than exhaust emissions

Tyre emissions 1,000-times worse than exhaust emissions

A new study has revealed that tyre emissions could be much worse than those coming from car exhausts. Testing was undertaken using a popular family hatchback, running brand new, correctly-inflated tyres.

The experiment was undertaken by Emissions Analytics, which has previously highlighted the issue of tyre emissions. The new study backs up those concerns.

Tyre emissions tested

McLaren 765LT

For reference, Euro 6D emissions regulations state that a car should emit no more than 0.0045g/km of exhaust particulates. Emissions Analytics found that tyres, brakes and road surfaces combined emit 5.8g/km of non-exhaust emissions (NEE) – that’s 1,289 times worse. Tyre wear pollution is currently unregulated.

In reality, few cars will be running on new tyres inflated to the correct pressures. This means the actual NEE emissions figures could be much worse than the results of the Emissions Analytics test.

The UK government’s Air Quality Expert Group has requested before that NEEs be recognised as a source of airborne particulates, even on electric vehicles (EVs). It’s been pointed out before that EV NEE figures could be worse than an equivalent petrol or diesel-powered car. 

Tyre emissions 1,000-times worse than exhaust emissions

“It’s time to consider not just what comes out of a car’s exhaust pipe but particle pollution from tyre and brake wear,” said Richard Lofthouse, senior researcher at Emissions Analytics.

“Our initial tests reveal that there can be a shocking amount of particle pollution from tyres – 1,000 times worse than emissions from a car’s exhaust. What is even more frightening is that while exhaust emissions have been tightly regulated for many years, tyre wear is totally unregulated – and with the increasing growth in sales of heavier SUVs and battery-powered electric cars, non-exhaust emissions are a very serious problem.”

Emissions regulations ‘frankly out of date’

Tyre emissions 1,000-times worse than exhaust emissions

“The challenge to the industry and regulators is an almost complete black hole of consumer information, undone by frankly out of date regulations still preoccupied with exhaust emissions,” said Nick Molden, CEO of Emissions Analytics.

“Ultimately, though, the car industry may have to find ways to reduce vehicle weight too. What is without doubt on the horizon is much-needed regulation to combat this problem. Whether that leads to specific types of low emission, harder wearing tyres is not for us to say – but change has to come.”

Skoda Octavia taxi with illegal part worn tyres

Taxi with illegal part-worn tyres approved by councils

Skoda Octavia taxi with illegal part worn tyres

Four councils in the North West of England have been exposed for issuing licenses for a taxi fitted with unsafe tyres.

Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral and Sefton council-approved test centres passed the vehicle, despite the risk. The car in question was fitted with illegal unmarked and unsafe part-worn tyres.

The case has been branded a ‘scandal’ by the National Tyres Distribution Association (NTDA).

John Stone, owner of Stone Tyres in St Helens, fitted a Skoda Octavia with four illegal tyres. Three were part-worn tyres dating from 1999, 2001 and 2003. The fourth was an illegal part-worn winter tyre imported from Germany in 2010. None of the tyres were labelled ‘PART-WORN’ as they should be by law. The letters must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high.

Despite this, each test centre passed the Octavia as safe for use. John Stone says this “raises serious questions” over taxi passenger safety in the North West and the across the UK.

‘It is a disgrace’

How to buy the right tyres for your car

“Part-worn tyres are not safe, yet some councils are awarding licenses to vehicles running on illegal and potentially unsafe tyres – it is a disgrace and the licensing of vehicles running illegal part worn tyres needs to be stopped now,” said Stone.

“Full credit to St Helens council as when I approached them with my findings they took the issue with great seriousness and decided there and then that this wouldn’t be allowed to happen again. I’m pleased to say that on the back of this campaign St Helens [council] has already agreed to ban the use of part-worn tyres on all licensed vehicles. They should be applauded for such a pragmatic and positive response, which ensures the safety of the public.” 

Although it is not illegal to sell and fit part-worn tyres, their use is governed by the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994. It is an offence for anyone to sell a part-worn tyre that does not meet the following requirements:

  • The structural integrity must not be compromised.
  • It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally.
  • No plies or cords should be exposed.
  • Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.
  • The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.
  • Part worn tyres which have not been re-treaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high.
  • These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.

The NTDA, which represents the UK’s national and independent tyre distributors, is calling for an outright ban on part-worn tyres due to safety concerns.

‘Beyond belief’

MOT advisories on tyres and brakes

Stefan Hay, NTDA chief executive said: “As we have advised the Department for Transport on a number of occasions part-worn tyres should not be fitted to vehicles, full stop. John has exposed a serious flaw in taxi licensing testing procedures in not one, but four, areas in the North West and we are extremely concerned that the practice is nationwide.

”The combined age of those four different makes of tyre was 67 years old, they had illegal repairs, different speed ratings and no part-worn mark. This really is beyond belief! John is to be applauded for the incredible work he has done to expose this shocking situation, but it is appalling that it has taken his personal efforts to uncover such apathy towards passenger safety.

“Inspections carried out over several years into the sale of part-worn tyres have shown serious safety breaches, including dangerous and unsafe repairs, exposed cords, bead damage and evidence of run-flat damage. We call on these councils to review their procedures without delay.”

Tyre emissions 1,000 times WORSE than exhausts

Tyre emissions can be 1,000 times those allowed from exhausts

With modern diesel exhaust emissions lower than ever, attention is turning to other forms of pollution. More specifically, tyre wear.

According to Emissions Analytics, tyres are a major contributor to arguably the biggest source of pollutant emissions from cars today: non-exhaust sources.

This is dust and particulates that are emitted from our tyres constantly – and our brakes when we use them. This currently unregulated source of pollution contributes to particulates in the air, as well as microplastics in the ocean.

Excessive tyre emissions: theory and testingTyre emissions can be 1,000 times those allowed from exhausts

The UK Government’s Air Quality Expert Group recently concluded that “non-exhaust emissions are recognised as a source of ambient concentrations of airborne particulate matter, even for vehicles with zero exhaust emissions of particles”.

Emissions Analytics theorised that, based on 1.5kgs of mass being lost per tyre over a 30,000-mile life, a car emits 200 milligrams of tyre particulate matter every kilometre. At that level, tyre emissions would be 22 times higher than the permitted levels in current exhaust gas regulations, which are 4.5mg/km.

In testing, it stacked the odds up in case practice yielded immeasurably low results. Low quality tyres, high speeds, intense cornering, high load in the car and a poor surface quality, were intended to help produce a measurable result. The results were shocking – 5.8 grams per kilometre lost. That’s 29 times the hypothesised result, and more than 1,000-times the allowed particulate emissions from an exhaust pipe. 

Tyre emissions can be 1,000 times those allowed from exhausts

This is a worst-case scenario, though many real-world factors weren’t influencers. The tyres were appropriately inflated, whereas many aren’t in the ‘real world’. Surface quality varies from good to bad. Speed limits are often broken and, of course, budget tyres are a commonplace cost-saving measure made by motorists, against expert recommendations. 

Much of what comes off our tyres are comparatively large chunks, compared with the ultrafine ‘soot’ that comes from exhausts. PM10 or above, up to 10,000nm in size, is however joined by particles down to 10nm, due to the heat generated by tyres when in use. For reference, tailpipe emissions are described as ‘mostly below 100nm’. Regardless, even including larger chunks, the resulting pollution is both ground and watercourse-based microplastics (the larger bits) and fine particles that comprise air quality.

These results are worrying, in a world where heavy SUVs are proliferating on ever-more aggressively-worked tyres that are growing in size by the year. It’s Emissions Analytics’ belief that tyres won’t be unregulated for too much longer.

1 in 10 drivers don’t know what winter tyres are

Motorists' poor knowledge around winter tyres

Research reveals many motorists haven’t heard of winter and all-weather tyres, despite their potentially huge benefits for traction and grip in colder weather.

The study by Goodyear questioned 2,000 UK motorists in December 2019. It revealed that nine percent didn’t know winter tyres exist. And more than one in five (22 percent) didn’t know what all-season tyres were. Also, 48 percent said weren’t aware what effect winter and all-season tyres have.

Colder weather tyres work best when temperatures dip below seven degrees centigrade. 

Motorists' poor knowledge around winter tyres

Fewer than one in five (15 percent) said they’d ever bought winter tyres, while 47 percent of those (nearly 150 people), said they hadn’t because they didn’t think UK weather necessitated them. Three in five (59 percent) said they’d only consider them if heavy snow became a sure thing, while 52 percent said icy roads would sway them.

Looking at the scenarios people were most were afraid of, 38 percent said they were most concerned about losing control in cold conditions. A total of 17 percent were most worried about being stranded – a scenario winter tyres could very well prevent.

Drivers said they’d sooner upgrade their headlights (22 percent) or fit new windscreen wipers (43 percent) in preparation for winter conditions.

Motorists' poor knowledge around winter tyres

“Winter and indeed all-season tyres will always provide better performance than summer tyres when temperatures drop,” said Andy Marfleet from Goodyear.

“The reason for this is that the tread compound used in summer tyres will turn rigid in lower temperatures and won’t grip the roads as effectively. Winter tyres and all-season tyres are made with a tread compound that will stay flexible in colder weather.

“It’s worrying that so many drivers either don’t know or don’t appreciate the impact that using the right set of tyres can have on their safety and the performance of their vehicle during the winter.”

Driving school to teach the importance of tyres

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Tired of hearing about how important tyres are? Tough, says a driving school, which is trying to get the message across early to new drivers.

It’s believed the majority of new drivers are under-educated when it comes to tyres. Of course, what puts many off being attentive to the quality and condition of their rubber is expense. However, a high quality tyre can actually reduce the cost of ownership, as well as make the car safer and reduce your environmental impact.

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Red driving school has partnered with Michelin and Kwik-Fit on its campaign to get tyre education across to drivers. Red says 68 percent of its customers buy a car within three months of passing their test. It wants to educate students more broadly on what to prioritise when maintaining their car. Tyres, it says, should be much further up the list of priorities.

It’s a well-trodden mantra, but tyres are the most important safety feature on your car. They’re key to the function of both the steering and brakes. 

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

“Michelin and Kwik-Fit play vital roles in ensuring tyre safety in the UK, and we are thrilled to be partnering with both businesses to open up the conversation to the learner driver community,” said Ian McIntosh, CEO of Red Driving School.

“The partnership recognises our commitment to promoting the highest levels of road safety for all our customers. High-quality, well-fitted tyres are a vital part of staying safe on the road.”

Car tyres a ‘stealthy source‘ of ocean pollution

Car tyres a stealthy source of ocean pollution

“Tyres sit uniquely at the intersection of air quality and microplastics.” That’s the opinion of Emissions Analytics, which is seeking to raise awareness of the impact vehicles tyres are having on our oceans.

Think of plastic waste and most people will picture bottles, packaging, bags – maybe even tea bags and clothes. But tyres are a major source of microplastics found in our oceans, and the problem is only going to get worse.

Emissions Analytics names three emerging threats: budget tyres, electric vehicles and SUVs.

According to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) study in 2017, between 15 and 31 percent of the 9.5 million tonnes of plastics released into the oceans each year could be primary microplastics.

Two-thirds of which come from the washing of synthetic textiles and the abrasion of tyres while driving.

In the same year, a study by Pieter Jan Kole at the Open University of The Netherlands put the figure at 10 percent. “Tyre wear and tear is a stealthy source of microplastics in our environment, which can only be addressed effectively if awareness increases,” was the rather stark conclusion.

‘Big chunks of plastic’

Car tyre wear

The lack of awareness stems from a general misunderstanding of the composition of a modern tyre. “Tyres are essentially yet more big chunks of plastic,” says Friends of the Earth. “When they break down they behave and persist like other plastics in the environment.”

Emissions Analytics claims that over the course of 12,500 to 31,000 miles, a typical tyre will shed 10 to 30 percent of its tread rubber into the environment. Particles will end up by the roadside or washed into drains, which in turn takes the pollution into rivers and the ocean.

Just as concerning is the fact that Friends of the Earth estimates that up to 10 percent of tyre wear is generated as airborne particles, which contribute to air quality issues and lung problems.

The IUCN report refers to data that says while there is no reliable information on the transfer of microplastics from tyres to the world’s oceans, both Norwegian and Swedish researchers have pointed out that a large fraction of particles found in the sea seem to originate from car tyres.

Tyres and our oceans: emerging threats

SUV tyre next to the water

What about the emerging threats?

Emissions Analytics points to the fact that budget tyres wear rapidly and have high emissions. It also says that the instant torque and higher kerb weights associated with electric vehicles will increase wear rates, adding to the pollution issue.

The increased weight is also a factor associated with SUVs, along with the typically larger wheel sizes adopted by such vehicles. The larger the tyres, the greater the problem.

“On this basis we think tyres are set to be scrutinised and regulated more, and perhaps also reinvented for electric cars to perform well in durability and noise. There will be opportunities and threats that arise from these changes,” says Emissions Analytics.

It is also calling for a review of the European tyre labelling, with the environmental impact added to the ratings for rolling resistance, wet grip and noise.

Tyre fitter with tyre label

Friends of the Earth wants to see a government-backed test to identify how resistant each type of tyre is to wear and tear – with clear labels for buyers. It says tyres with the highest rates of tread abrasion could be banned from sale.

Other suggestions include a tyre levy to help tackle the problem of microplastic pollution, more efficient use of roadside gully pots used to catch debris, and increased road cleaning.

The problem isn’t going to go away. As the IUCN points out, calls for a ban on microbeads in cosmetics are welcome, but this source is responsible for just two percent of primary microplastics. The impact of tyres is far, far greater.

In the UK, we generate up to 19,000 tonnes of microplastics tyre pollution, which finds its way into our waterways, rivers and seas every year. Something to think about next time you’re changing a worn tyre.

One in ten drivers don’t know what tyre tread depth means

Tyre tread depth

A new study by Kwik Fit has revealed some worrying statistics around UK drivers’ knowledge of tyres. From the legal limits, to the very meaning of some tyre terminology, too many of us are in the dark.

The headline figure is that just 25 percent of drivers seem to be able to correctly state legal tread requirements. As for everyone else? Forty percent were incorrect, 20 percent admitted to not knowing and 4 percent said it depended on the make of rubber

Most worryingly, 11 percent of the drivers surveyed said they didn’t know the meaning of ‘tread depth’, let alone what the legal requirements are.

Do we check our tyres enough?

Tyre tread depth

The truth is, short of getting out there every month, it’s difficult to check them enough. According to Kwik Fit, 12 million drivers would admit to checking their tread less than once every six months. Fifteen percent say they never check. 

One in five have never checked their tyre wall condition, while 12 percent have never checked pressures. Just 44 percent of drivers say they check their pressures at least once a month.

‘Clamping’ bad rubber

illegal tyres

For a bit of fun, and to get the message across, Kwik Fit deployed ‘wardens’ to inspect car tyres and ‘clamp’ those that were dangerously low. Hidden cameras then captured drivers’ reactions. These usually went from anger at the clamping, to concern about their tyres and gratitude for the warning. They also got a free tyre for unwittingly taking part.

“These figures are alarming and prove we have a lot of work to do when it comes to tyre education,” said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit.

“Tyre treads are designed to give good grip, which is especially important when the roads are wet. Without adequate tread, the performance of the tyre will decrease and ultimately affect the overall safety of the vehicle. For all the safety developments car manufacturers are making, we have to remember that tyres are the only part of a car that are in contact with the road and so it is vital that they are in the best condition possible.”

13 percent knowingly drive with illegal tyres

illegal tyres

A new survey reveals many motorists knowingly drive with their car tyres in illegal condition, while even more don’t know how to check them.

Around 13 percent of respondents in a poll by Halfords Autocentres said they had knowingly driven on tyres with illegal tread depths. Just over a quarter (27 percent) said they hadn’t checked their tyre tread in the last three months, while 42 percent said they didn’t know how to.

In total, 65 percent said they didn’t know the rules around worn tyres.

Tyre tread depth: the rules

illegal tyres

October is Tyre Safety Month, so what better time to make sure yours are up to standard? A tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre is the legal minimum. In fact, experts recommend tyres be replaced when the tread wears below 3mm.

Not adhering to the rules on tread depth could land you with a £2,500 fine and three penalty points PER TYRE. That’s a potential £10,000 fine and a lost licence for four illegal tyres.

Also, make sure there are no tears, and that the rubber isn’t cracking or perishing. Check the date on your tyres to make sure they’re still at their best and look out for flat-spots. Keeping your car’s suspension alignment in check will maximise the life of your tyres.

illegal tyres

“We were surprised to find that so many Brits are driving with tyres below the legal tread depth,” said Halfords Autocentres expert, Martin Barber.

“Tread depth can reduce braking and steering ability especially in unpredictable weather and wet driving conditions. After completing millions of tyre checks to help keep Britain’s cars on the roads, we’re proud to offer a free tyre check for every motorist.”

How to buy the right tyres for your car

How to buy the right tyres for your car

Tyres are the most important part of your car when it comes to safety. They’re the only bit of the car that actually touches the road, so every input you make – acceleration, steering, braking or otherwise – goes through them. 

The contact patch is smaller than you’d think, too – about the size of your computer keyboard across all four tyres.

There’s a reason all racing drivers are obsessed with tyres, then – and they’re just as important for road driving. Read our five-minute guide to make sure you choose the right tyres and stay safe.

Are premium brands better?

How to buy the right tyres for your car

Never has the mantra ‘you get what you pay for’ been more true than with tyres. They’re one of the few products where you really are better off plumping for a premium brand.

In a recent back-to-back test by Fifth Gear’s Jonny Smith, the dramatic differences between the name-brand and budget tyres was made apparent. Comparing two identical Mercedes-AMG C63 cars, the car with ‘premium’ Continental rubber performed much better in handling, braking and agility tests.

“Many people want to know why premium tyres are preferable to budget brands,” said Smith.

1212

“With tyres the only part of your car in direct contact with the road, it makes sense to ensure they’re the best quality possible.”

It’s not all about the high-performance stuff, though. Some tyres won’t be the right fit for your car. The track-focused Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R is perhaps not the choice for a Toyota Prius, for instance. Likewise, an eco set from a well-regarded brand won’t carry a McLaren Senna to a blistering lap time.

In direct comparisons using the tyre energy label, however, it’s still name brands that do best. A good mid-range tyre that performs well across fuel economy, wet weather and noise should suit most needs.

Tyre energy labels: explained

How to buy the right tyres for your car

Speaking of the tyre energy label, what is it? Briefly, it’s a good way of comparing tyre performance – and performance per pound. 

Every tyre sold since 2012 comes with an energy label, much like you find on fridges and other white goods. This allows you to compare products at a glance, with simple graphics showing how they compare for fuel economy, wet-road grip and noise.

Fuel economy

This is based on a tyre’s rolling resistance – i.e. how much friction it generates with the road. Measurements are taken on a calibrated test rig: the lower the rolling resistance, the better the fuel economy. The most efficient rubber earns an ‘A’, while the least efficient are rated ‘G’.

Wet-road grip

Good grip is most important when the roads are wet, so this rating is based on wet-braking performance in a straight line. Experts say an A-rated tyre can stop in 30 percent less distance than a G-rated one. That’s potentially the difference between a near-miss and a dangerous crash.

Noise

Anyone who regularly drives the concrete section of the M25 will know just how noisy tyres can be. This final infographic puts the tyre into one of three categories, based on the noise it emits in decibels – measured from outside the car – when cruising at a steady speed. One black bar means a quiet tyre, while three bars is noisier – albeit still within legal limits.

Do I need certain tyres in certain weather conditions?

How to buy the right tyres for your car

The effects of the right rubber in the right conditions are immeasurable. Many experts believe that a two-wheel-drive car with winters will fare better than four-wheel-drive SUV with standard tyres. It doesn’t matter which wheels are driven if their drive isn’t put to the ground effectively. 

Winter tyres offer much-improved grip on snow and ice – and indeed on dry roads if the temperature is below 7deg C. Winter tyres are even mandatory during the colder months in some European countries. Just as slick rubber will dramatically increase performance on a dry track, so too will a winter tyre boost grip in colder, slushier conditions.

There is also rubber suited to all types of conditions. ‘All-season’ doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll only work in a blizzard…

We’ve had good experiences with the Michelin Pilot Sport 3, Uniroyal Rainsport 3 and Falken Azenis FK510 as strong performers in wet and dry conditions on the road.

Are your car tyres safe?

MOT advisories

The law says you must replace a tyre once the tread-depth drops below 1.6mm across three quarters of its surface. An easy test is to place a 20p piece in the groove of the tyre. If the outer band of the coin is hidden, your tyre is legal. 

However, bear in mind that a new tyre has a tread-depth of around 8mm, so grip will be reduced – particularly in the wet – well before it reaches the legal limit. Consumer group Which? recommends replacing your tyres when tread depth reaches 2-3mm.

You should also check tyre pressures regularly. Over-inflated rubber could increase your risk of skidding or having a blowout, while too little pressure will increase fuel consumption and have a detrimental effect on handling. In both instances, your tyres will wear at an excessive rate, too. The correct pressures for your car will be listed in the handbook. Alternatively, use the Tyre Pressure Checker tool on the TyreSafe website.

Regularly check for flat spots, bulges, cracking and rubber degradation. A sun-dried tyre can be just as dangerous as insufficient tread. Also check they’re are still in-date. Yes, tyres have a use-by date.

Part-worn tyres: should you take the risk?

How to buy the right tyres for your car

On the subject of safety, part-worn tyres are often a false economy. If you’re paying two-thirds of the cost of a new set for tyres with 4mm of tread left, you’re paying more than half the price for half the product. 

Recent research has also indicated that as many as 90 percent of part-worn rubber in the UK aren’t safe for sale.

It isn’t illegal to sell part-worn tyres. Talk of a ban is in the air, however. If you really must, check for the usual factors: tread depth, pressure, flat spots, bulges, degrading rubber and damage. Also check the date on the tyre.

Tyre sizes: explained

How to buy the right rubber for your car

Tyres come in a wide range of different sizes. Check your car handbook, or read the markings on the outer sidewall to see what size your replacement tyre should be.

For example, a typical tyre size is 195/50 R15H. Breaking this down gives you:

  • 195 – tyre width in mm
  • 50 – tyre sidewall profile, as a percentage of tyre width
  • R – stands for ‘Radial’. All modern tyres are radial-ply
  • 15 – diameter of the wheel rim in inches
  • H – speed rating (see below)

Regardless of the national speed limit being 70mph, you must fit tyres rated for the maximum speed of your car. Speed ratings are marked with letters and range from N (88mph) to ZR (over 149mph). You’ll find a full list of speed ratings on the TyreSafe website.

How to save money on tyres

How to buy the right tyres for your car

We really can’t say it enough – don’t scrimp on rubber. They are the most safety-critical part of your car, so buy the best you can. And there are ways you can avoid paying over the odds for good quality rubber.

If you need a tyre at short notice, the cheapest option will probably be an independent tyre fitter, rather than a franchised car dealer. Make a few phone calls to compare prices and ensure the fee you are quoted includes new valves, fitting and balancing. Remember, you can haggle.

If you have more time, buying online will almost certainly prove cheaper – and you may be able to have the them fitted at your home or office. Again, it pays to shop around as there are plenty of retailers competing for your business. Popular websites include Asda Tyres, Black Circles, MyTyres and Tyre Shopper.

M1 motorway is being resurfaced with recycled tyres

Highways England giving the M1 recycled tyre surface

A new road surface that recycles old tyres is being trialled on the M1 motorway by Highways England, as a test of its durability.

Highways England is committed to investing in innovation to help us meet the economic, environmental and efficiency challenges we face in our changing world,” said spokesman Martin Bolt.

It’s estimated that over 500,000 disused tyres are shipped out of the UK each year to landfill sites in the Middle East and Asia. The new asphalt made by Tarmac, which uses granulated pieces of rubber, could make use of 750 waste tyres for every kilometre of road.

Highways England giving the M1 recycled tyre surface

Bolt continued: “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 and we are delighted to be working with Tarmac in this trial.”

A total of £180,000 is being invested in the research, funded through Highways England’s Innovation Designated Fund.

If the trial is successful, the new material could be deployed throughout the strategic road network and beyond. Old tyres will get a new lease of life across the country, not to mention new value beyond being on a car.

Highways England giving the M1 recycled tyre surface

“Technical innovation has a key role to play in improving the environmental performance of our roads,” said Paul Fleetham, managing director of Tarmac.

“As a previously overlooked waste stream, used tyres offer a significant opportunity to unlock the benefits of a circular economy.

“There has been a very positive response to our rubberised asphalt since the first local authority trial was announced in May and we’re very pleased to be working with Highways England to explore its potential to support the sustainability of the strategic road network.”

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