The transition to a zero-carbon economy is becoming evident as major investments are made in new fuels, more efficient plant, and processing. Despite the challenging short-term economic outlook in our sector, an increasing number of companies are taking initial steps towards future-focused investments.
As frequently discussed in this column and more broadly within the sector, there is a continual need to challenge ourselves to develop and deliver more sustainable outcomes. The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) plays a crucial role in this by offering practical guidance and support and facilitating the sharing of knowledge with all members.
In 2024, members will gain access to new support and guidance from IQ, aligning with our commitment to continuing professional development. In addition to the core operational and processing guidance, members will witness the release of newly revised guidance covering essential environmental topics.
The first piece of new guidance to be issued will focus on landscape and visual management practices for our sites. It is recognized that the visual impact of our sites is often the most obvious and contentious area for our relationships with wider society and local communities.
Our strong tradition of developing mitigation to minimize the impact on our surroundings has evolved with new technologies, enabling us to utilize innovative tools and techniques to evolve our approach to managing this aspect of our operations.
Not only has the guidance been revised to reflect current practice, but it also signifies a change in approach in how the Institute delivers support of this kind to members. The guidance, which was previously part of the larger environmental management technical handbook, will now be produced as standalone chapters. This approach allows for greater accessibility and flexibility to ensure it keeps pace with the fast-changing environmental agenda. Members can obtain the new guidance in a digital format to enable the Institute to manage its environmental impact. Physical copies can be purchased through the IQ shop.
As President, I take pride in the Institute's active role in engaging with key stakeholders to support a collaborative approach to meeting environmental challenges, be it from the industry, the supply chain, or the Government.
Speaking of stakeholders, collaboration, and supporting members, this year welcomes the return of Hillhead, the UK’s largest quarrying, construction, and recycling exhibition, based in Derbyshire. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best opportunities for many of us to come together and experience first-hand the latest practical guidance and advances in technology available to our sector.
On a personal note, Hillhead serves as a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues. As always, IQ will be there, and the team look forward to greeting and catching up with as many members as possible.