So what do you do with 37 million used tyres?

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The Independent Online
FORTY-THOUSAND tyres, filling two storeys of a Bradford warehouse, are at the centre of a bizarre legal battle. The dispute illustrates the growing problem of what to do with used tyres, one of Britain's most difficult waste-disposal problems.

The owner of the warehouse says that the tyres have been dumped there by a businessman who said he was going to repair and recycle them. The businessman has retorted that the owner is stopping him from getting on with the job. Both are prepared to sue the other.

Used tyres are one of the most intractable problems facing the Environment Agency - and it is about to get worse. Up to now millions of them have been buried in rubbish dumps each year, but the European Union is about to stop this, and no one knows what will happen to them. Ideas range from burning them in power stations to generate electricity to putting them in the sea to create artificial reefs for fish.

Meanwhile, Mr Samykkurukkal Balakrishnan says he faces a pounds 28,000 bill to remove the 40,000 tyres from his warehouse in Leeds Road, Bradford. He says he let two floors of the warehouse last year to a man he knew, Raymond Pemberton, who said he would sort out, repair and vulcanise the tyres for resale.

Mr Balakrishnan says that when two floors were full of tyres he stopped Mr Pemberton bringing in any more and reported him to the Environment Agency. The Agency ordered Mr Pemberton to remove the tyres and prosecuted him in January when he did not do so. But Bradford magistrates court threw out the charge after Mr Pemberton said that Mr Balakrishnan was preventing him from carrying out his business.

Mr Pemberton's solicitor refused to comment on the case last week, but each man is preparing to sue the other for damages. The Agency fears that the tyres pose a fire hazard.

Some 37 million tyres are removed from Britain's vehicles each year. About one third are re-treaded and re-used. Others are broken up into rubber granules for various applications. About one quarter are buried in rubbish dumps but their durability means they do not degrade. An EU directive is now banning such disposal in landfills. The Environment Agency fears that many more will be dumped illegally each year.

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