Work to remedy dangerous tar pit in Belper wins award for Clean Rivers Trust

A project to make a dangerous tar pit in Belper safe has been honoured with a UK Environmental Analyst Brownfield Award.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 1:23 pm
Cinderhill tar pit is now a haven for wildlife to visit.

The Clean Rivers Trust scooped the award in the best public sector/not for profit lead project catagory for its work on the Cinderhill Tar Pit.

Cinderhill is among several acidic tar waste pits dotted around the town of Belper, a legacy of the Silkolene factory that was set up in 1908 to supply engine oil to the growing automotive industry.

Clean Rivers Trust has trialled a low cost method of remediation on the tar pit which has demonstrated that growing willows and developing a natural ecosystem on top of the tars is able to neutralise the acidity, break down carcinogens and break down the tars themselves.

This methodology has not been carried out on tars before and is the largest such trial globally.

The work was independently verified by the University of Nottingham, Schools of Geography and Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

Harvey Wood, director of the Clean Rivers Trust said: “We are thrilled to have won an award, and hope that this will allow us to go on to work on the other tar sites that are near by and around the Belper area.

"These sites are dangerous, but it is possible to tame them and make them safe inexpensively and in a sustainable and ecologically sound manner.”

In August, the trust recorded that an elephant hawk moth had been sighted at the Cinderhill tar pit, a first in this part of Derbyshire. In the early part of the project, deer, foxes and badgers visited the site, grass snake and great crested newts were present.