Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Climate change - we should all be doing our bit...

No one can pretend that quarrying aggregate, or manufacturing cement and concrete, is anything but environmentally unfriendly. The cement industry alone "is responsible for 5% of worldwide man-made emissions of CO2" - almost a tonne of CO2 is emitted for every tonne of cement produced.

But let's bring the climate debate closer to home, and look at Aggregate Industries' proposal for Straitgate Farm. In particular, how much CO2 would be generated just by AI transporting any material it should win at Straitgate to Blackhill Quarry on Woodbury Common, its preferred site for processing.

If Straitgate does have 3.1 million tonnes of saleable sand & gravel, then with 10% silt that's 3.44 million tonnes gross. If an HGV transports 29 tonnes, that’s 118,600 loads in total. A 44-tonne laden HGV produces 2.23kg CO2/mile, unladen 1.34kg CO2/mile. A 15 mile round-trip to Blackhill and back would therefore generate 26.8kg of CO2; 118,600 trips would produce 3180 tonnes of CO2. Over a proposed 10 year lifespan that would be more than a tonne of CO2 for every working day.

3180 tonnes of CO2 - because it's cheaper for a Swiss cement giant not to move some equipment.

There are many notable projects around the country attempting to bring down our carbon footprint. There’s one in Lyme Regis - a hydro-electric system in the Town Mill. By generating electricity from the River Lim, it hopes to save 13 tonnes CO2 annually.

But benefits from schemes like this are dwarfed by unsustainable proposals from corporations, selfishly focusing on nothing but profit. Whatever happens with Straitgate, the idea of processing material 7.5 miles away must be a non-starter. With climate change, everybody must pull their weight.