The Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) has joined forces with the European Union Roads Federation (ERF) and road marking associations across Europe to generate 'robust evidence' on microplastic pollution.
In a statement, RSMA said the research was needed to 'counter continued misrepresentation by academic bodies and commercial entities that road markings are a significant contributor to microplastic pollution'.
The RSMA raised 'grave concerns' that the vast majority of information in the public domain is based on a 2017 report, which stated that 7% of all microplastics originate from road markings.
The report overstated the issue by 'many thousands of percentage points' because it was based on 'flawed assumptions', the leading trade body argued.
Stu McInroy, chief executive of the RSMA, commented: 'The research paper in question made a fundamental error by assuming that the volume of thermoplastic sold in a specific (non-UK) environment was de facto equal to the volume worn away from the pavement surface. This is incorrect and we hope the work, co-ordinated by the ERF, shall shine an objective and factual light on the reality.
'Additionally, the resins in thermoplastic materials can be derived from renewable resources and should not be counted as being a source of microplastic pollution.
'The industry is not claiming that road markings produce 0% microplastic pollution, however, previous industry research on the continent has found it to be circa 1/100th of the 7% often quoted in the 2017 report.
'The aim of this collaborative project with the ERF and other road marking associations across Europe is not to position one road marking product against another, but to share understanding and knowledge of road marking wear using a factual, evidence-based argument to establish a realistic assessment of the very small level of microplastic pollution generated by road markings.'