Rotherham Council has trialled the UK’s first carbon negative asphalt as part of its road resurfacing programme.
The Council, alongside Rotherham based company SteelPhalt, trialled the pioneering new asphalt, made partly of trees, on a stretch of Broom Lane, just outside the town centre.
The road was undergoing resurfacing works as part of the £24 Million to 2024 Roads Programme, with SteelPhalt supplying the asphalt for the scheme.
Whilst SteelPhalt’s asphalt contains 95% recycled aggregate, usually the remaining 5% is bitumen, the “glue” that holds the aggregate together. Bitumen comes from the processing of oil and consequently has a significant carbon footprint.
The new asphalt uses a natural binder called Kraft Lignin which originates from trees and could reduce the climate impact substantially over the life cycle of the road.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment Cllr Dominic Beck said: “As a Council we are determined to take positive steps to mitigate the impact of climate change. Working with our partners to use innovative new products is a significant step forward in becoming a greener Council and reaching our target to reduce the Council’s carbon emissions to be at net zero by 2030.”
Although the works at Broom Lane are using trees as the binding agent, the environmentally friendly product is found in almost all dry land plants, potentially enabling fossil-based bitumen to be phased out.
Julian Smith, SteelPhalt Strategic Growth Director said: “In our journey to become the world's most sustainable asphalt supplier, this is a huge step forward. This product is an example of what our team’s collective passion for innovation and sustainability can deliver, while making the world a greener place.”
The work at Broom Lane is part of the Councils ‘£24m to 2024 Roads Programme which will see £24 million invested in local transport over a four-year period.
Through 2021/2022 £7.3 million will be used on 154 roads across the borough with £1.3 million spent on 10 A roads, £2.1 million spent on 25 B and C roads and £3.9 million spent on 119 unclassified roads.
PICTURED: Lee Birkbeck, Martin Gray, Julian Smith and Kim Beighton from SteelPhalt with Cllr Dominic Beck and Rotherham Council’s Ady Antcliffe