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Low-carbon concrete for Thames development


Capital Concrete supply Earth Friendly Concrete to Plaistow Wharf for new Keltbray waste-treatment facility

LOCATED near the Peruvian and Royal Primrose wharves, Keltbray’s new waste-treatment facility will handle hazardous and non-hazardous construction, demolition, and excavation waste, processing more than 350,000 tonnes a year. The site’s proximity to the Thames means the facility will also be able to accept material via barge.

The development at Plaistow Wharf – which is owned by the Port of London Authority (PLA) ¬– is part of a wider initiative to grow the Capital’s river economy and increase the number of movements by barge. Being able to accept and deliver material by barge will result in fewer lorry journeys and, therefore, reduced carbon emissions.


Since opening in 2019, Capital Concrete’s nearby Silvertown plant at Peruvian Wharf has been a proponent of this carbon-saving strategy. The plant is fed with marine-dredged sand and gravel, transported by river from Brett Aggregates’ Cliffe site, in Kent.

The high-output Silvertown plant provided Earth Friendly Cconcrete (EFC) – a zero-cement, geopolymer concrete, made using industrial waste by-products – for the project at Plaistow Wharf. Compared with standard concrete mixes, EFC can offer savings in embodied carbon of 75–87%. Under agreement with Wagners, the developers of EFC, Capital Concrete own the exclusive licence for its supply in London.

Luke Smith, managing director of Capital Concrete, said: ‘Low-carbon concrete solutions are a more sustainable way of rejuvenating the Thames dock network and, along with diversifying transport methods, a modern way of helping London achieve its Net Zero targets.’

Thanks to its material properties, EFC was able to save Keltbray resources as well as embodied carbon when constructing the project’s 10,000 sq m of hardstanding. Its increased flexural strength and reduced dry shrinkage allowed for thinner slabs and larger bases and removed the need for steel reinforcing mesh.

‘We previously partnered with Keltbray to supply London’s first anchor pile using EFC, debuting the material at Landsec’s Nova East development in Victoria,’ explained Mr Smith. ‘Since its arrival in the capital, we have seen more and more clients adopt EFC as a low-carbon, high-performance alternative to more common options such as Portland cement.

‘Minimizing carbon emissions is a high priority for most contractors, especially those operating within London. We are delighted to be part of this push towards more sustainable methods.’


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