Obituary: Robert Durward
The British Aggregates Association announces the passing of its director and founder
THE British Aggregates Association (BAA) has announced with great sadness the death of its director and founder, Robert Durward, who passed away on 4 January having battled with cancer since last summer. A remarkable man, Bob was not only the founder of a leading trade association for aggregate producers, but also established and operated one of the most successful SME quarrying companies in the UK. He was passionate about looking after the rights and interests of independent aggregate producers and was the leading campaigner against HMRC and the European Commission in trying to get the Aggregates Levy stopped. That case is still in the European Court after 16 years of legal arguments, and although Bob will not see the conclusion, throughout those years he stuck rigidly to his belief that the Aggregates Levy was an unfair tax, which should be removed.
Although he often argued with politicians in both Westminster and Holyrood, Bob earned their respect and was on first name terms with many senior ministers of government. He was keenly interested in politics and once set up a political party to take on what he regarded was the current political system. Only last year he wrote a book on aspects of politics and government in the UK. As well as being very successful in business, Bob used his talent to help others and, to that end, was involved in many local charities in Scotland, including co-operative housing projects and the setting up of independent schools funded by local authorities. As an employer Bob was very far-sighted, both in the welfare conditions for his quarry employees as well as in health and safety provisions. Some years ago, when the question of demonstrating competence was on everyone’s lips, Bob considered that that it should be the whole site that should be judged competent, not just the manager and supervisors. From that idea came the BAA Assessment of Operating Standards, which soon became a recognized route by the HSE to improve safety standards in SME quarries. Bob’s funeral will take place on 23 January and will be a private affair.