A RECENT Coleg Llandrillo engineering graduate has won a coveted award for his ground-breaking research into repurposing recycled plastic for roads.

Former civil engineering student Gareth Smith, 22, has swiftly followed his summertime graduation with the honour of being named ‘Emerging Professional of the Year’ by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation. As if that isn’t impressive enough, Mr Smith has been a town councillor since the age of 19, and is also Rhuddlan’s deputy mayor.

Mr Smith said:“I was delighted to win the award and would like to thank the my tutors for helping me get to this stage in my career.

He was presented with the award at the institute’s annual awards dinner at the Kinmel Spa and Hotel in Abergele, where several awards were handed out, celebrating the achievements of the civil engineering industry in North Wales.

Mr Smith, who studied at the Rhos-on-Sea campus, is the author of a technical paper showing how plastics can be reused in a useful way and be a replacement for bitumen in roads, making them cheaper and more environmentally viable. His work was, in part inspired by housing developments, fast-food franchises, drainage systems and building layouts of Rhuddlan as well as a love of construction which was fostered during his time at a former pupil of Ysgol Glan Clwyd.

He now works for Mott MacDonald, which are currently working with Conwy Council on the Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project.

Mr Smith said: “As a child I used to ask ‘who has organised that?’, ‘what’s happening there?’, in the end I realised it all came under the umbrella of civil engineering. The town is vibrant at the moment and I look forward to doing all I can to see it prosper even more.”