Monday, 27 July 2015

So, AI's resource figures are nonsense, but what about its 'need' figures?

To justify the need for Straitgate Farm, Aggregate Industries’ planning application managed to identify "an ongoing need for 0.8 million tonnes per year to meet current, established demand5.33, based on sand and gravel data for Devon for the years 2001 to 2009.

For reasons known only to AI and its consultants SLR, the company excluded data for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, but might, if pressed, point to the recent recession, and say it’s only reasonable to exclude those unhelpful years. And AI might have had a point, if it hadn’t given evidence to the Competition Commission in 2012, saying:
2.5 In AI’s view, the current market situation represents a permanent step change in market conditions. There is no realistic prospect of demand returning to levels seen pre-2008. Moreover, the long-run drivers of demand have changed: 
(a) steel, glass and timber, for example, are increasingly used as a replacement for rmx;
(b) improvements in the design of buildings and houses, as well as better concrete specification, have also significantly reduced the demand for aggregates and concrete; and
(c) demand for secondary and recycled aggregates and sustainable products has increased.
Which begs the question, if 'there is no realistic prospect of demand returning to levels seen pre-2008', why did AI see fit to base the need for Straitgate Farm largely on pre-2008 figures?

In the real world, Devon has 8.53Mt of permitted sand and gravel reserves; 0.49Mt of sand and gravel was produced in the county in 2013 - not 0.8Mt; the average for the last 5 years was 0.47Mt - not 0.8Mt; the average over the last 10 years was 0.62Mt - not 0.8Mt.

Plainly, therefore, 0.8 million tonnes is neither current nor established.