Midlothian Council is leading the way by becoming the first authority in Scotland to use an innovative lower temperature asphalt, UltiLow, to build a series of link roads around its state-of-the-art waste treatment facilities for Edinburgh and Midlothian.
The Council is working on this project in partnership with Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions company, as part of Midlothian’s drive for continuous improvements in sustainable development and carbon reduction. As the first project of its kind in Scotland, it marks an important milestone for its potential use across other parts of the country.
Mark Rankine, the Roads Operations and Asset Manager at Midlothian Council, said: “The span of our activities within the region means that it’s vital for us to address the impact of the work we carry out. Our collaboration with Tarmac demonstrates we’re thinking outside the box to deliver efficient, sustainable highways for residents and all road users, and complements our approach to sustainable development within Midlothian.”
Low temperature asphalt technology has the potential to reduce the embodied carbon of asphalt by up to 25 per cent compared to conventional hot mixes. The principle behind the technology is that lower temperatures are used to manufacture the material, using less energy and therefore emitting less carbon. The performance of the material is the same as hot mix asphalt.
Another key benefit of lower temperature materials is that they enable road projects to be delivered more quickly than when using traditional hot asphalt. The material cools and sets faster, which means that traffic can be allowed onto the road sooner, reducing disruption for road users and increasing the productivity of roadworks.
Commenting on the use of Ultilow, Brian Kent, Tarmac’s Technical Director, said: “The use of Ultilow by Midlothian is a breakthrough for Scotland and reflects the growing popularity of this solution across the UK as recognition of its benefits grows.
“We have significantly expanded our network to meet the higher demand we’re seeing, and now have 20 plants supplying low temperature asphalt. We are committed to delivering solutions that help our customers to improve the whole life performance of their projects, and address UK carbon reduction targets for the built environment.”
Carbon reduction is also at the heart of the Scottish Government's aspiration to create a Zero Waste Scotland. As a result, both Midlothian and Edinburgh councils are working to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible, and are currently building a food waste treatment facility, which will include a Energy from Waste plant to recover value from non-recyclable refuse derived fuel produced. As part of the overall Shawfair development within Midlothian, the distributor roads into the facility are being surfaced using Ultilow.