Tarmac is behind the work and has been trialling a material known as Structural Material for Reinstatement (SMR) in Stoke with the support of Staffordshire County Council (SCC).
Typically, utility companies employ trenching contractors to carry out repairs to infrastructure such as pipelines and cabling, but the nature of this work means that while clearing the area, large volumes of clay, soil, waste asphalt and other materials often end up in landfill.
But through this new reinstatement solution, contractors can now take waste materials to one of Tarmacs recycling centres where it can be reprocessed and used as a sub-base for the reinstatement of the trench.
Tarmac head of product development doctor Howard Robinson said: This is an important step forward which is helping utility companies and local authorities to manage vital infrastructure repairs efficiently and minimise costs associated with landfill.
Our SMR technology is a sustainable and easy to use alternative, which trenching contractors around the country can begin trialling immediately by following the guidance provided in the HAUC specifications which govern all trench reinstatement work.
The HAUC specification permits the use of alternative reinstatement materials, but for non-flowable SMR materials, a two year trial is required before local authorities are prepared to accept their application.
Robinson added: We recognise that not having a product certification scheme in place will only delay market take-up of our SMR solution. For this reason, we have gone a step further and are currently working with National Grid and HAUC to find a solution to this problem and avoid the need to undertake approval trials with each local authority.
Its in everyones interests to find a way forward to enable this technology to be used since it allows utility companies to avoid increasing tipping costs and local authorities to meet their Agenda 21 sustainability targets by ensuring the use of sustainable materials and practices.