Plastic road firm opens new factory in Lockerbie

A company that uses plastic waste in road construction has just opened a new factory in Lockerbie; the first of its kind in Scotland.

Plastic recycling firm MacRebur’s new factory takes used plastic waste from landfill and turns it into small pellets which can then be used to create road surfaces; a potential milestone in road production and waste recycling in the UK.

MacReburs roads being laid (Credit: Clay10)

Though the true mix for making these plastic surfaces is a well-hidden secret, the pellets replace a percentage of the bitumen used to bind roads, which helps to form a harder and more durable road surface. This could make the roads up to 40% stronger, and greatly lowers the chance of potholes appearing.

The company has already laid roads all around the world, including several sites in Scotland and England. They also have them located in New Zealand and Australia, with several roads being trialled in Bahrain, the United States and Slovakia.

“This could make the roads up to 40% stronger, and greatly lowers the chance of potholes appearing.”

One of the positives of the plastic roads is that they can be laid anywhere that asphalt is laid, as it uses the same process as regular asphalt.

MacRebur says that each kilometre of road laid uses the equivalent weight of 684,000 bottles or 1.8 million one time use plastic bags. 1 tonne of the mix also contains the equivalent of 80,000 plastic bottles.

The founders of MacRebur; Toby, Nick and Gordon (Credit: Clay 10)

Analysis

What do these roads do right?

It is clear that this process could potentially revolutionise the way that we deal with our plastic waste, and with the strength of our roads. MacRebur says that the roads “have been extensively tested and monitored for the over the last three years”, which shows that this isn’t some fairytale; they already have the plans in place.

The CEO of the company, Toby McCartney, says he got his idea on a trip to India, where locals collected plastic waste from landfill, placed it into potholes in the road, and used fuel to melt it in place. On his return, and seeing the state of roads in the UK, he decided to take action. If the plan works, the fate of British roads could be altered forever.

The roads have several benefits:

  • The mix strengthens the road, making it last longer and removing those pesky potholes.
  • The material can also be used in other ways, such as pavements.
  • It is cheaper than the conventional bitumen mix.
  • They are better for the environment.
  • They are stronger than regular roads.
  • The maintenance cost of these roads is almost nil.

The location of MacRebur’s factory in Dumfries and Galloway is also important for Scotland, as it can now be the poster boy for the plastic road industry.

MacRebur’s factory is located in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway (Credit: Clay10)

The Future 

There are some that aren’t quite convinced yet. The main concern with these roads are the long-term implications. With little knowledge about what would happen to them in the long term, at this stage it is hard to say whether they have the lifespan that we are told. Regardless of how much testing you do over three years, you cannot test for weather and car damage over time. The main reason our roads get so damaged is because of over-use and the great British weather.

“The main concern with these roads are the long-term implications. With little knowledge about what would happen to them in the long term, at this stage it is hard to say whether they have the lifespan that we are told.”

Another possible side effect of the roads is the re-use of plastic. There are some that say all we are doing is taking plastic and turning it into another type of plastic, which doesn’t entirely solve the issue of the planet having an influx of plastic in its waters and in a landfill.

Again, India has been trialling plastic roads for many years, and many have been placed around the country. The process is much the same:

(Credit: Interesting Engineering)

In terms of whether it will be coming to Edinburgh, the future hasn’t been decided. Transport and Licencing Media Officer at Edinburgh Council, Rebecca Gordon, said that “Edinburgh isn’t currently trialling this”, but did go on to say that “we are aware that some other local authorities are, and will take note of the outcome of any trials”. She didn’t specify what other councils were carrying out the trials.

MacRebur’s factory has created 12 new jobs, and they are hoping to expand into other area of Europe in the future, a sign that plastic road building is here to stay for the foreseeable.

If you want to hear more about MacRebur’s work, and about the process of plastic road building, we interviewed the company’s Chief Administrative Officer, Nick Burnett.

Have a listen here:

 

 

BREAKING: Airshow pilot found not guilty of manslaughter

A pilot who crashed a plane onto a public road in 2015, killing 11 people, has been found not guilty of manslaughter. 

Andrew Hill, 54, was taking part in the Shoreham Airshow near Brighton when he lost control of his ex-military plane after attempting to perform a manoeuvre.

Mr Hill was charged in The Old Bailey in London with 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence, which he has denied.

His lawyers argued Mr Hill suffered from “cognitive impairment” at the time of the crash.

It has emerged that one of the jurors was discharged during the proceedings after stating that he would never consider convicting anyone over the Shoreham crash, according to reports from The Telegraph.

The judge presiding over the trial, Justice Andrew Edis, said: “just to say to the families, I am enormously impressed and grateful for the dignified way you have all behaved.”

Newspaper review: March 8th

 

Copy of BREAKING NEWS-4

Daisy Smith and Ross Hempseed take a look at today’s newspaper headlines.

Indian Pilot released by Pakistan

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A pilot from the Indian Air Force has been released by the Pakistani government after having been captured on Wednesday.

This is amid the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India that have resulted in Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane being shot down in the Kashmir region. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has commented that the move is a “peace gesture” to allow communication to be opened between the two countries.

On Friday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the events of the past few days had “brought our nations closer”.

“The way the nation has supported our armed forces is extraordinary and I bow to every Indian for that”, he said.

On Thursday, Mr Khan reenforced his call for the de-escalation of the continued military presence along the border between India and Pakistan.

The pilot is now back on Indian soil and being hailed  as a national hero.

BREAKING: US offers $1 million reward for Bin Laden’s son

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The USA government is offering $1 million for help locating Osama Bin Laden’s son, Hamza Bin Laden.

He is believed to be emerging as a key leader of the Islamist military group, Al-Quaeda, and the US state department are offering a reward for information on his whereabouts.

The reward will be paid for helping to locate him as part of the American Rewards For Justice programme.

He has released audio and video messages calling for attacks against the US and its allies.

His father, the former leader of Al-Quaeda, was killed in a US military raid in Pakistan in 2011.

A statement read: “Hamza married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker and a mastermind of Al Qaeda’s September 2001 airline terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“Osama bin Laden’s letters seized from the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound where bin Laden was killed indicate that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader of Al Qaeda.”

Any information about Hamza Bin Laden and his whereabouts should be sent to the nearest US embassy or to info@rewardsforjustice.net.

This week in Brexit news

David Paul gives us a quick look at some of the big Brexit news this week:

Young photographers launch renewable energy exhibition

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The photographers: Magnus Kermack, Michaela McStay, Rachel Gilliver and Anna Batey (Credit: Bia Collective)

A group of young photographers, known as Bia collective, are launching a four-part exhibition focusing on the subject of renewable energy.

The four students, based in Edinburgh, have funded the exhibition themselves in order to display their work.

The topic of the exhibition is as current as ever, with recent figures showing that renewable power reached record highs in the UK last year, with renewable power supplying over a quarter of the UK’s electricity.

This week, Scottish Power announced that it will invest £2 billion in green energy. The company have closed or sold all of its coal and gas power pants, instead choosing to focus on renewable energy.

Each photographer has focused on a different area relating to renewable energy to showcase different ways that it is used in today’s society.

The week-long exhibition will be held at UNIONgallery in Edinburgh from March 13 and is free to visitors.

Here are the photographers:

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A piece of Gilliver’s work at Inverary Watchtower (Credit: Rachel Gilliver)

 RACHEL GILLIVER – 20 – COATBRIDGE

“My work focuses on wind power and will contain images from a wind farm, highlighting everything present at one of these parks.

“I chose this because I wanted to analyse the stigma around these large turbines and look into the controversial opinions surrounding them as many people are against wind turbines because they feel they ruin the natural beauty of the countryside, without taking into consideration the positive impact they have on the environment.

“I took my photos at Blacklaw II wind farm in South Lanarkshire, where there are 54 turbines with a capacity of 124 megawatts, making it one of the biggest wind farms in the UK.

“I think the main reason I chose my particular theme about the concerns for the natural beauty of the countryside, was to try and convey that if we completely turn our backs on renewable energy altogether, eventually there might not be a countryside for turbines to ruin.”

 

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A piece of McStay’s work from a documentary project with Narcissus Flowers (Credit: Michaela McStay)

MICHAELA MCSTAY – 21 – BRIDGE OF WEIR

“My project will be looking into the aesthetics of solar panels.

“It is commonly known that Solar panels and wind turbines are considered more of an eye sore than a benefit to the environment.

“With my project I would like to challenge this, by showing the comparison of solar panels and existing aesthetically similar structures in the urban environment.”

 

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Batey took this image for a previous project entitled Females in Agriculture (Credit: Anna Batey)

ANNA BATEY – 20 – CARLISLE

“I am creating a series of images exploring the positive impacts that the installation of anaerobic digester plants has had on several farms in Cumbria, and the benefits this has for the environment and surrounding community.

“I chose this topic as I felt it was quite an unusual form of renewable energy and not something that the majority of people will be familiar with.

“I have spent several weeks travelling to different farms, viewing and photographing a range of different sized anaerobic digester plants, with the hopes of being able to capture a broad spectrum of what they are really about and why so many farmers across the UK have taken the leap to install one.

“I think it is an important topic to cover as it highlights an unusual way of generating renewable energy, specifically in an industry that gets a bad press for their contribution towards a more sustainable future.”

 

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Kermack’s image from exploring different coastal towns in Scotland (Credit: Magnus Kermack)

MAGNUS KERMACK – 22 – ABERDEEN

“Fair Isle, located between Shetland and Orkney, is home to 55 people, but it was only in September that they got access to round the clock power.

“I travelled to Britain’s most remote inhabited island to try to find out the impact this new source of clean energy has had.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Suspicious item’ found near mosque in Edinburgh

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Police officers have sealed off part of Annandale Street, to the east of the city centre, after a suspicious item was found near the Annandale mosque.

The alarm was raised at 11:50 this morning after the discovery of the item, with bomb disposal experts from the Royal Logistic Corps attending the scene with a robotic vehicle to examine the object.

The police have asked people to stay away from the area and have since evacuated homes in the neighbouring area, and postponed a funeral that was taking place. Witnesses have been describing the scene, with around eight to ten police vehicles in attendance.

A police spokesperson said:

“Police in Edinburgh are currently in attendance following the discovery of a suspicious item in the Annandale Street area. Officers are currently investigating the circumstances at the scene and the public are advised to avoid the area where possible.”

Update: 

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team carried out a controlled explosion of the device at around 2:50pm. The police reopened the road at 4:30pm.

Today’s international news: March 1st

Rory Hill brings us today’s international stories.

Today’s national news: March 1st

Rory Hill brings us today’s national stories from across the UK.

 

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