A new use for old cooking oil could help cut emissions from building roads, engineers have claimed.

Engineer Helen Bailey has developed a process for replacing bitumen, which is normally used in road surfaces to ‘glue’ asphalt together, with waste vegetable oil.

According to Ms Bailey, the use of 1.25 million tons of bitumen in the asphalt industry each year comes at a ‘significant environmental and economic cost’ as it uses imported crude oil.

‘Bitumen is currently essential to making asphalt, but it is expensive and uses up valuable crude oil supplies,’ she said.

‘I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix, using a waste product readily available in the UK.

‘My new method meets all UK standards, but is much better for the environment.’