Hanson CEO Simon Willis welcomes Boris Johnson during parliamentary visit to North Wales
PRIME Minster Boris Johnson visited Hanson’s Penmaenmawr Quarry in North Wales yesterday [27 January] to see how the company’s recent investment in the site is allowing aggregates to be transported by rail, reducing vehicle movements, and cutting CO2 emissions.
Accompanied by the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, and local MP for Aberconwy, Robin Millar, the Prime Minister, met with Hanson chief executive officer Simon Willis to discuss the importance of the minerals industry to the UK economy.
The visit presented the opportunity for Simon, who is also chairman of the Mineral Products Association, to highlight that, while policy makers may assume mineral products are in plentiful supply, this is not always the case.
‘Securing planning permission for mineral extraction can be challenging at a local level but is essential to ensure a consistent supply of materials to enable the Government’s low-carbon construction and levelling-up ambitions,’ said Mr Willis.
‘I explained to the Prime Minister that the industry needs visibility of the Government’s pipeline of planned infrastructure projects to give us the reassurance which will allow us to plan and invest to secure the volume of minerals required.
‘We also discussed the HyNet North West carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, which includes our Padeswood cement plant – also in north Wales. It forms a key part of our strategy to decarbonize cement production and, if backed by the Government, will give Hanson the confidence to move forward with a carbon capture plant, which will connect to the planned HyNet CO2 transport and storage system.’
The Prime Minister was given a tour of the processing plant at Penmaenmawr by Mr Willis and quarry manager Gary Meredith. He was informed of the company’s £300,000 investment to reopen the site’s rail facility – the first step towards re-establishing the long-term economic viability of the quarry, which also underpins the supply of asphalt and concrete products in the area, and so supports a number of local jobs both directly and indirectly.