Council bosses to trial ‘plastic roads’ in South Tyneside

Pothole busting ‘plastic roads’ could be trialled in South Tyneside as part of a council drive to make highways more environmentally friendly.

In recent months, selected local authorities have been trying a groundbreaking new type of road surface made from plastic waste.

This included Durham County Council, who used 6.5 tonnes of the material on the A689 Sedgefield – the equivalent of 1.5million plastic bags.

South Tyneside's road repair backlog stands at £65m

South Tyneside Council’s highways and infrastructure manager, Dave Carr, confirmed the technology could be rolled out in the borough.


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The comments follow a question by Coun Doreen Purvis at the authority’s Place Select Committee.

She said: “I have been hearing from various constituents who are very green-minded about the use of plastics in repairing potholes.

“I believe it has been widely done abroad and I think there has been one experiment in the UK, have you thought about that?”

Mr Carr said that, while the technology had seen  “mixed results” in Cumbria, South Tyneside is looking to “trial it and see how it works.”


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Durham County Council was the first local authority in the North East to try out plastic material in highway works.

In practice, it includes non-recyclable waste plastic which is ground down and mixed into asphalt.

The experimental process has been welcomed by some councils who have made pledges around eliminating ‘single use plastics’.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman added: “We’re considering trialling the use of a product which uses recycled plastic pellets as part of the surfacing materials, which has obvious environmental benefits.


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“Such products have been trialled in other areas of the country with varying degrees of success.

“We’re currently in talks with our specialist road surfacing contractor and are trying to identify a suitable site.”

South Tyneside has 600km of highways, 1,200km of footpaths and 102 structures.

The council has been among the Department for Transport’s best performing local authorities since 2018, netting it an additional £208,000 for highways maintenance.


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Despite this, the  borough still faces a road repairs backlog worth £65million – although this is also down from £69million in 2015.

Caption: An example of some of the recycled plastic material used in road resurfacing trials in County Durham. Picture: Durham County Council

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service