Friday, 23 October 2015

DCC has now supplied provisional sand and gravel production figures for 2014

2014 sales of sand and gravel in Devon were 531,900 tonnes. Reserves of sand and gravel at the end of 2014 were 7,502,087 tonnes.
Production in 2014 was therefore up 47k tonnes on 2013, but still down 24% on pre-recession 2007.

It was widely reported that 2014 was "the best year for British construction for over 18 years", but, in Devon at least, the long term decline of sand and gravel continues - as measured by the 10 year rolling average, the mineral industry’s indicator of choice:
The Devon Stone Federation is very pleased to see that the weighted average has been dropped and the LAA is now based on a straight average of the last ten years... C.5
For the planning application to quarry Straitgate, Aggregate Industries framed its need on the basis that:
The annual production of sand and gravel in the period from 2001 to 2009 averaged 0.8 million tonnes. 5.23
AI forgot all about 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and that the 10 year average was 0.62 million tonnes. DCC said AI's need assessment was "misleading and inaccurate and should be re-cast", and the company has now re-presented its case. It claims there are exceptional circumstances why it must continue to scar and blight Woodbury Common and the East Devon AONB with its processing plant and hundreds of thousands of HGV movements. It claims need is one of those exceptional circumstances:
Given the… need for the mineral to maintain the seven year landbank in Devon as set out in the NPPF… it is considered that exceptional circumstances exist that should enable the LPA to permit the 5 year extension of the existing operation at Blackhill Quarry. 8.58
But, at the end of 2014, Devon had a sand and gravel landbank of 12.9 years, so need - along with all the other exceptional circumstances AI has given - is clearly not exceptional at all.