WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has announced a number of new trials to demonstrate the financial, practical and environmental case for using quality compost in applications that range from green roofs and rain gardens to the growing of biofuel crops on regenerated brownfield land. While this research focuses on a wide range of areas and initiatives, the common theme will be to explore the technical and commercial potential of using quality compost in new and innovative applications.
The trials and studies, which will begin in 2009 and report during 2010 and 2011, will take place at sites across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland using green compost (produced using garden waste such as grass cuttings, prunings and leaves) and food-included compost (household kitchen waste fit for human consumption) produced to the BSI PAS 100 specification. One of the new projects being supported by WRAP is being undertaken by Surrey-based BioRegional and will see the use of quality compost being trialled as a planting medium for green roofs.
Green roofs are an established component of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), helping to reduce rainwater run off from developed areas and combat flooding. Significantly, trials will be conducted on the site of the new 2012 Olympic Park, with green roofs due to be established on both the International Broadcast Centre and Media Press Centre.
Another emerging area being examined in the new series of WRAP trials involves studies into the role quality compost can play in restoring brownfield land for the production of bioenergy crops. These crops are increasingly needed to help supply the growing renewable fuel market and include species such as willow, oil seed rape and reed canary grass. Vacant brownfield land represents a significant opportunity to establish these crops – but the poor quality of soil often found at the sites can be a barrier. Manchester-based Peel Holdings will therefore use 520 tonnes of quality compost to create new healthy soil ecosystems at their Frodsham Deposit Grounds – a former disposal site for material dredged from the Manchester Ship Canal in Lancashire. The improved topsoil will be planted with coppice willow. Further trials due to be conducted during this period are set to examine the use of quality compost in other applications including combating soil erosion and aiding slope stabilisation.