Commissioning of Scott Bros’ new £4m wash plant on Teesside is underway with the ‘urban quarry’ expected to be fully operational within the next six weeks.

The hi-tech wash plant, capable of processing up to 300 tons of construction and excavation waste per hour and converting it into sustainably produced sand and aggregate is one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the UK.

Situated next to the Teesworks industrial zone, construction on the plant began 15 months ago and the latest in green technology is now being commissioned by wet-processing experts CDE.

The development, off John Boyle Road, South Bank, has created at least seven jobs, safeguarded the future of a further 54, and will provide the family-run business with a major revenue stream for decades to come.

It took the decision to make the huge investment after its current £1m wash plant, which manages up to 50 tons of inert material per hour, was unable to meet the construction and building industry’s increasing demand for high-quality recycled aggregate and sand.

The ‘urban quarry’ itself is designed to recycle all the water used in the process, including the moisture from the material itself, while Scott Bros’ long-term aim is that the plant will be powered by renewable energy – which, it is believed, would make it the world’s first carbon neutral wash plant.

It produces high-grade builder’s and sharp sand together with five different grades of aggregate, ranging from 5-10mm up to 60-120mm.

One by-product of the process, a fine-grained clay-based material, known as ‘filter cake,’ can only currently be used as a low value BS-certified pond lining material or inert engineering fill.

However, Scott Bros has set up its own laboratory and employed a Recycling Innovation Engineer to research other commercial applications, including turning the recycled clay material into bricks, something already attracting interest from major UK housebuilders.

The Stockton-based company secured a grant towards the cost of the wash plant of almost £710,000 from the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Peter Scott, a director of Scott Bros, said: “This ‘urban quarry’ is one of the largest anywhere in the UK and has proved an exciting but complex project.

“We are now putting inert material through as part of the rigorous testing and commissioning process which should be completed within six weeks. Once that is complete, we can start meeting the construction industry’s demand for sustainably- sourced sand and aggregate.”

Fellow director Bob Borthwick added: “This is a huge leap forward in Scott Bros’ capabilities as a circular business, allowing us to more than triple our ability to recycle excavation and construction waste.

“This wash plant is fundamental to our future allows Scott Bros to create and preserve jobs, while diverting material from landfill and preserving the planet’s natural resources. There is huge demand for recycled sand and aggregate, which is also good news for the wider Teesside economy.”