The Synthesis Report - Key Issues for decision-takers
Download the report here
Between 2009 and 2011 the Aggregates Strategic Research Programme (ASRP) funded 11 research projects examining the sustainable production and supply of aggregates in the next few decades. They identified some major challenges for policy-makers and decision-takers in central and local government, the aggregates industry, the construction professions and the voluntary environmental bodies. The Synthesis summarises and assesses key messages for future policy.
The 2009 – 2011 ASRP projects built on previous research to reach a better understanding of future constraints on supply, making choices and trade-offs in policy, and the feasibility of various solutions to help secure continuity and sufficiency of supply while maintaining and improving, the sustainability of aggregates extraction and transport.
The projects deal with a diverse range of matters, but can be conveniently considered under 3 broad headings:
- maintaining an adequate and steady supply;
- improving the environmental performance of quarrying;
- improving the environmental performance of aggregates transport.
The Synthesis identifies key questions for policymakers and decision-takers arising from the 2009-2011 programme:
- maintaining sufficient future supply;
- whether more sophisticated forecasting of future supply and reserves would perform better than simple local authority-wide landbanks;
- finding and developing new aggregates sources in less constrained locations if the weight given to environmental factors continues to be increased;
- responding to the high level of public opposition to quarrying proposals;
- what weight to place on protecting local amenity relative to the economic and social requirement for aggregates;
- the continuing need for an effective system to manage inter-regional imbalances in aggregates supply and demand, and effective national planning policies to support local decision-takers in handing this contentious form of development;
- maintaining and if possible increasing the haulage of land-won aggregates by rail;
- aggregates mining is not a realistic option for accessing large-scale hard rock resources deep below the Greater South East, though lateral mine-shafts at hard rock quarries elsewhere could more plausibly access additional resources;
- "aggregates pipelines" (automated narrow gauge railways running in tubes buried in trenches or through tunnels) could be easier and cheaper to install than rail, and have fewer impacts than road or rail, though considerable further work would be required on technology, legal powers and construction and route acquisition costs;
- improvements in vehicle and quarry design and management could usefully reduce the impacts of road haulage, which will continue to dominate aggregates transport.
The Projects Funded
Links to summaries and full reports on the 11 projects funded are listed on the left-hand column.