Plastic Pollution Could Place Horses And Riders At Risk, EA Warns

Plastic granulate, 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, according to the Environment Agency (EA).

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 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, the EA says.

Furthermore, the plastics contained within this 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.

“If you’re found to have plastic granulate waste deposited on your land without the appropriate Environmental Permit awarded by the Environment Agency, you could be fined and be liable for the cost of its disposal.”

Some 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.

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 awarded 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.


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