Dirt Factory Hero Dirt

IMBA Italia – Trail Building School
Fun activities around Manchester

Not many people have a use for clay and/or soil type materials, but at Dirt Factory this is the hero dirt we dream of and there’s a way we can get tonnes of the stuff.


The type of dirt we require is in abundance around Manchester, a lot of our homes and places of work are built on clay type materials, this is also part of the reason why we have red brick houses. Not only can we source the material we require but we can also do our bit to try and help reduce landfill by using the CLAiRE protocol.

Awesome indoor trails

Back in 2013 I approached the Environment Agency about getting hold of a few thousand cubic meters of dirt. I first presented examples of dirt being used indoors, such as, Wheeldon Off-road centre and The National BMX centre. Since then we have also seen Burlington Bike Park, The Megacavern and Flyup 417 use dirt to construct awesome indoor bike trails.

So how do we get hold of all this ´hero dirt´? There are a few different routes and we have been consulting with an independent environment officer to ensure we can get the best dirt in a sustainable fashion.

CLAiRE protocol

The CLAiRE protocol is a relatively new code of practice which if followed, permits the transfer of material from one site to another without the need to seek permits and complicated licenses. For example, if a new construction development has a need to excavate and dispose of earth, then at that point the material is classed as waste and by UK law there are strict regulations to follow. However the CLAiRE code of practice realizes that if another party has a use for a similar material then that material no longer becomes a waste product because someone else has a purpose for it. So what’s different?

This means there is no need for all the detailed permits and licensing. Instead a Material Management Plan must be produced along with a material specification to ensure that the dirt is clean. The plan then has to be signed off by a qualified person.

There are a couple of other options too, for example you can take up to 5,000 tonnes under a waste exemption permit, but for Dirt Factory the CLAiRE code of practice is the best solution.

We are continuing to work alongside the Environment Agency and CLAiRE so that we are ready and prepared for when we have secured our premise. Why take something to landfill when there could be a use for it elsewhere? Sustainability is one of core company values and we aim to up-cycle many materials where ever possible during the Dirt factory build.

If you would like any more information about CLAiRE please do get in touch via our website.

Happy trails