Press release

Plastic pollution could stop horse riders in their tracks

Equestrian surfaces may be at risk of using illegal waste for maneges

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Plastic granulate, derived from the recycling of cable sheathing and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and sold as an alternative surface for equestrian centres, could place Yorkshire’s horses and riders at risk, present a pollution hazard and lead to owners falling foul of the law.

This plastic granulate waste is being marketed by some waste producers and brokers as a base material for horse maneges and track surfaces. However, there is no legal route available for its use for this purpose except in accordance with an Environmental Permit.

Furthermore, the plastics contained within this waste material can contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s), phthalates and lead stearate. Weathering can cause leaching of these toxic substances into the wider environment, potentially causing contamination to land and groundwater. Some waste plastic granulate may even be cross-contaminated with non-plastic elements such as metal fragments and glass, making surfaces where it’s used potentially harmful for horses and riders

This granulate is being sold to be used as a cheap replacement for clean plastic granules derived as a by-product from plastics manufacture or granules specifically produced for horse maneges.

Environment Agency officer, Greg Deakin said:

We’re determined to eliminate avoidable waste and crack down on plastics as part of the government’s 25-year environmental plan.

We’re therefore 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 Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency, you could be fined and be liable for the cost of its disposal.

Producers or brokers of plastic granulate have a legal duty of care to ensure plastic granulate is disposed of at a permitted facility. If you are approached and offered this material and you do not have an appropriate Environmental Permit, please let us know on 03708 506 506 and ask to speak to your local waste team. Alternatively you can email the details to enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Published 8 August 2018