Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hanson on the other hand is mothballing quarries

Whilst AI is busily planning to dig up East Devon farmland and open a new quarry at Straitgate, Hanson is taking a different line - mothballing quarries, closing plants and laying off workers, expecting business in 2013 to be even worse.

With construction and aggregate demand still contracting, and no sign of recovery on the horizon, DCC can robustly make the case - having 9 million tonnes of sand and gravel already with planning permission, enough for 20 years at current rates - that no further provision is needed for its new Minerals Plan. In any case, for a Plan that runs as far into the future as 2031, and in order to appease mineral operators, provision can always be made for the Council to monitor production and reserves, and make site allocations when shortfalls actually become apparent, not according to a fallible long-range forecast.

After all, how many millions of tonnes would DCC have allocated needlessly if it had made the Plan in 1990, for example, when production was almost four times higher than it is today, or in 1968 at the time Straitgate was the subject of a Public Inquiry? Building techniques, materials and demands have changed, and therefore the Council needs to remain flexible, and encourage movement away from the unsustainability of primary aggregates.

'Mountains' of sand stockpiled at Blackhill Quarry, Woodbury Common SAC, SPA, SSSI, AONB