Why tyres are ideal
The European Tyre Recycling Association estimates that 1 billion waste tyres are produced globally each year; 48 million of these are produced in the United Kingdom. In the UK it is illegal to allow tyres to enter landfill and tyre dumps are highly undesirable due to tyres' tendency to hold stagnant water, and because they produce toxic gases if they are set alight.
Finding alternative ways to reuse and recycle waste tyres is a high priority for waste managers and the Environment Agency. Scour Protection System's anti-scour mats are an innovative and forward-thinking use for waste tyres, and demand will only increase as the offshore renewable energy industry continues to grow. The use of tyres in the marine environment is not new, and the topic has been subject to extensive research.
A particularly notable and relevant study is HR Wallingford's 2005 report "Sustainable Reuse of Tyres in Port, Coastal and River Engineering Guidance", commissioned by the Environment Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry. The report thoroughly investigates existing and potential uses of tyres in marine environments and concludes that the use of tyres in coastal engineering poses no significant risk to the surrounding environment; a similar sentiment is mirrored in several scientific publications relating to artificial tyre reefs, notably Collins et al's 2002 paper in the ICES Journal of Marine Science entitled "Environmental Impact Assessment of Scrap Tyre Reefs", which investigated the environmental impacts of artificial tyre reefs in Poole Bay.