Plastic pollution could stop horse riders in their tracks

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Plastic granulate, sold as an alternative equestrian surface presents a pollution hazard and could lead to owners falling foul of the law.

Plastic granulate is a waste material derived from the recycling of cable sheathing and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). It’s being marketed by some as a base material for manèges and track surfaces, but there is no legal route available for its use for this purpose except in accordance with an Environmental Permit.

Also the plastics can contain Persistent Organic Pollutants, phthalates and lead stearate. Weathering can cause leaching of these toxic substances into the wider environment, potentially causing contamination to land and groundwater. Some plastic granulate may even be cross-contaminated with non-plastic elements such as metal fragments and glass, making surfaces potentially harmful for horses and riders.

Environment Agency officer, Greg Deakin said, “We’re urging those with equestrian facilities to carefully consider the use of this material. It might be offered free of charge or for a small delivery fee, but it is an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations to use this waste without appropriate environmental controls. If you’re found to have plastic granulate waste deposited on your land without the appropriate permit, you could be fined and be liable for the cost of its disposal.”

If you are aware of any deposit of this waste please report it, anonymously if preferred, to the 24-hour National Incident hotline on 0800 807060.

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