HUNDREDS of lorry journeys will no longer be necessary on Selby area roads as the waterways are brought back into use to dispose of waste from Drax power station.

Drax held a trial run in January when it transported 1,200 tonnes of pulverised fuel ash to Ireland by ship down the River Ouse and into the North Sea.

The trial was so successful that bosses at the power station, backed by the Environment Agency, British Waterways North East and Hull & Goole Port Authority, have give the go-ahead for one shipment by river and sea each month.

This will take 480 lorry journeys annually off the roads around Drax. Peter Emery, production director at the power station said: “At Drax we are continually looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

Using the waterways to transport our ash not only means that we utilise a lower carbon form of transport and reduce our movements by road, but by reducing transportation costs we are able to look further afield and gain access to new markets and customers.

“The more ash we are able to sell, the less goes to landfill, taking us closer towards our target of zero-ash landfill.”

The ash is a by-product of burning pulverised coal and other fuels at Drax and is used in the manufacture of construction materials such as concrete. The initial shipments will go to Waterford.

Stuart McKenzie, freight supervisor and harbourmaster for British Waterways North East, said: “The trial showed that the inland waterways can play a strong role in reducing the amount of traffic on roads, while being an environmentally efficient mode of transporting goods. We’re delighted that the trial proved successful and hope it will encourage more organisations to consider water-borne transport.”

John Dodwell, chairman of the Commercial Boat Operators Association, said Drax’s decision was being echoed throughout industry. He said: “Drax’s move to using water freight is part of a trend we are witnessing as industry looks to reduce both supply chain costs and carbon emissions.”