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Driving up resource efficiency

Westminster City Council's 80 per cent recycled asphalt trial

FM Conway push the boundaries of asphalt materials recycling in the highways industry   

FM Conway have been working with Westminster City Council to push the boundaries of materials recycling in the highways industry.   

The company recently laid a surface-course mix on Sutherland Avenue containing 80% recycled materials, challenging conventions around the amount of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) incorporated within road surfaces.

Traditionally, this has been limited to 50% for the lower layers of roads and just 10% for the surface courses of motorways and ‘A’ roads.

The Westminster initiative builds on FM Conway’s work with Transport for London. In 2017, the company laid its Surepave E asphalt surface-course mix containing 50% high-PSV recycled aggregate across 20,000 square metres on the A40 in west London.

This marked the first time that a surface-course mix containing such a high proportion of recycled material had been used on a highly trafficked strategic road outside of trial conditions.

FM Conway have now gone a step further with the Westminster scheme, but, like the A40 project, they laid the asphalt mix in a single layer to increase productivity by reducing the time frame for the works, as well as the number of lorry movements required.

Tim Metcalf, aggregates and asphalt operations director at FM Conway, said: ‘With the UK’s materials reserves under pressure, we need to continue to challenge convention and invest in the re-use of highway arisings.

‘This is particularly important in the south-east of England where the issue is not one of replenishment, but of the geological scarcity of high-PSV aggregates needed for highway projects. At the same time, advances in the refining industry are cutting the supply of another crucial highway resource, bitumen.

‘We’re proud to be working with Westminster City Council in this latest venture to show that high levels of recycled asphalt can and should be safely incorporated into all layers of our roads, helping us to recover precious raw materials such as aggregates and bitumen.’

Tim Mitchell, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for city management and highways, said: ‘It’s terrific that we are trialling this new recycled road surface in the city. With 360 million miles driven in the city each year, there is a constant demand for resurfacing. Improving waste and recycling rates is increasingly important in Westminster and a top priority for the Council, so innovations like these must be welcomed.’

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