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Low mineral reserves may impact future development levels

New report from Carter Jonas highlights reserves shortfalls in some regions of England and Wales

SOME regions in England and Wales are facing a shortfall of sand and gravel reserves which may impact future development, according to a report released last week by property consultants Carter Jonas.

The first edition of the consultancy’s Minerals Report highlights the fact that the majority of the South East and the West Midlands have reserve levels of less than seven years.

In addition, Cornwall, Somerset and Bristol, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk all have comparatively low reserves of sand and gravel. In the north of the country, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and Co. Durham have similarly low levels.

Carter Jonas say there is concern from the industry that permitted sand and gravel reserves are insufficient to support significant growth in demand and that this will be exacerbated as economic conditions start to improve over the next five years.

The report also looks at the reserves of crushed rock, which appear to be adequate to meet future demand; however the distribution across England and Wales is uneven which may lead to issues regarding the transportation of mineral into areas of need.

‘The shortfall in sand and gravel reserves is cause for concern,’ commented Catherine Penman, head of research at Carter Jonas and author of the report. ‘It is believed to result from both geological issues and as a direct result of the complexity of progressing proposals for extraction of suitable mineral through the planning system.’

She added: ‘These shortages need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to ensure the provision of sufficient quantities of sand and gravel for development activity once economic sentiment improves and development begins to rise.’

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