Local MP and Shadow Roads Minister get an update on latest innovations in asphalt materials
DURING the 120th anniversary of Edgar Hooley’s invention of Tarmacadam, the MP for Wolverhampton South East, the Rt Hon. Pat McFadden MP visited the historical home of Tarmac, accompanied by Shadow Roads Minister, Bill Esterson MP.
The Rt Hon. Pat McFadden MP returned to Tarmac’s National Laboratory of Technical Innovation (NLTI) for an update on the latest innovations in asphalt materials and to hear about the company’s Net Zero Roadmap to 2050, in what is also the 25th anniversary of this nationally significant testing centre.
Located on the site of Tarmac’s former UK headquarters, the centre and laboratory have played a key role in delivering major projects such as the resurfacing of Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Heathrow and Glasgow airports, as well as developing test tracks for product testing at Jaguar Land Rover and at Catesby Tunnel. These iconic projects were of particular interest to the Shadow Roads Minister as he settles into his recently assumed role.
Mr McFadden received an overview of Tarmac’s plans to cut CO2 emissions by 30% from a 2021 baseline across their operations and range of products, including modern asphalt. The centre was the first to pioneer ‘warm-mix’ asphalt, which reduces carbon emissions and can be laid quicker to reduce roadworks for the travelling public.
The technical centre ensures that the latest innovations are reliable and ready to be rolled out across the nation’s roads. As well as developing road surfacing with used tyres, Tarmac’s team of seven in the Technical Centre, alongside 12 laboratory-based technical experts, also created glow-in-the-dark asphalt to improve visibility of footpaths and cycle trails.
Brian Kent, Tarmac’s national technical director, said: ‘It was fantastic to welcome Pat McFadden back to our national technical centre along with the Shadow Roads Minister, Bill Esterson MP. Pat has visited before and kept in contact with the local team.
‘As the centre celebrates its silver jubilee, its work will continue to create the next generation of innovative, green construction materials to support the transition to net zero and tackle climate change.
‘In what is now regarded as one of the warmest years on record, it is important that highways authorities embrace these new materials as part of their Climate Emergency Action Plans.’
The Rt Hon. Pat Mcfadden MP said: ‘Tarmac have had an association with Bilston for more than 100 years and represent an important part of the area’s industrial history. Even though the company has changed a great deal over the years, the laboratory for testing road materials is still located here.
‘The challenge is to make safe, durable road surfaces with minimal environmental impact and that requires constant innovation. Much of the cutting edge of that research takes place in Bilston and I hope it makes a positive contribution to our road network for a long time to come.’