How a tyre scrapyard is being returned to nature

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Some of the most polluting by-products of our reliance on our cars are the mountains produced by disused tyres. Luckily, there is good news from North Shropshire of land being reclaimed for nature after being used as a tyre dump.

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With a tyre dump there is always a risk of fire, which can be very difficult to deal with. The Heyope fire at a tyre dump in Wales burned for 15 years. There were 10 million tyres at this dump – all of them caught fire. The fire service couldn’t put the fire out because the tyres were so densely packed.

Gradually bringing back the wildlife

Luckily, the Shropshire site has a smaller number – 60,000 tyres – so the land remediation work won’t be such a mammoth effort. It is more a case of proceeding in steps to bring back the wildlife habitats at the former car breaking yard on the edge of Whixall Moss.

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The tyres have now gone, with Colin Preston – chief executive of Shropshire Wildlife Trust – welcoming this significant step in the drive to restore the site. The trust has had to comply with official requirements to move the tyres, which will be recycled and eventually supply fuel for power plants.

Restoring the peat bog and wildlife habitats

This type of project can be quite a challenge for land remediation services such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/. There are bumpers, wing mirrors and thousands of litres of discarded oil at the Whixall site, so the whole area needs to be cleared and cleaned.

Next, nature needs to be encouraged back. This site was originally a peat bog; therefore, some of the site will be turfed to provide a home for the animals and plants that once lived here. Ironically, the scrapyard is partly designated as a site of special conservation interest because it is located on peat that has a depth of two metres and is an important wildlife habitat.

At the edge of the bog, the trust wants to restore the wet woodland habitat that is currently missing. Alder, willow and birch will be planted to provide a home for birds, such as the marsh and willow tit, and wildlife found in boggy land, such as rare moths and frogs. The project is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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