Hundreds of tonnes of material removed during road and path resurfacing work across Oxfordshire, previously treated as a waste product, is being returned to use thanks to an exciting new recycling initiative between OCL Regeneration, Oxfordshire County Council, and Milestone Infrastructure.

Previously, excess toxic tar-bound road materials were considered waste and needed to be disposed of safely at significant expense. But a new purpose-built recycling centre in Drayton near Abingdon for Oxfordshire’s road materials will boost the County’s sustainability efforts and save over £20,000 in the next 30 days.

Key aims for the council are tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions. Last year, Oxford County Council approved its Climate Action Framework, which set out plans to make itself a carbon-neutral authority by 2030 and to enable Oxfordshire as a whole to become zero-carbon by 2050.

Oxfordshire County Council will use the newly recycled material in road maintenance projects across repair work across the County. Outside of the obvious cost benefits, recycling road materials will reduce the County’s carbon emissions, minimising the need for new materials, which supports the circular economy principles of reusing existing materials as long as possible.

“We know how important the condition of our roads are to the people of Oxfordshire. So to be able to carry out this sort of repair work in a more environmentally friendly way is fantastic,” said Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management. “And the fact that we are saving council taxpayers’ money while we are doing it makes it a win-win situation.”

A series of projects set to benefit from the recycled road surface inlay will begin with immediate effect across 11 locations in Faringdon, Wantage, Wheatley, Kidlington, Banbury, Bodicote, Little Rollright and Witney. As a result, 765 tonnes of newly recycled material will be laid, saving 16.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted – the equivalent of 3,000 return trips from London to Sydney using direct flights.

“Waste is now being recognised as a potential asset for the recycling process, rather than something which needs to be disposed of. We are giving more thought to the use of recycled materials and planning up to a year in advance so that this can be achieved in suitable areas, said Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment. “In Oxfordshire we currently consume resources at three times the rate the Earth can regenerate them, so there is a lot to do. At the council we will be driving forward similar schemes across our activities.”

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