QPA calls on CPRE to drop scare tactics
THE Quarry Products Association has called on the Council for the Protection of Rural England to stop its scaremongering and adopt a more consensual approach to mineral planning. The call was prompted by the CPRE's recent assertion that quarry landbanks are a 'time bomb ticking at the heart of some of England's finest landscapes'.
Timed to coincide with the Government's consultation on the future of minerals planning, the CPRE says its latest research reveals that existing sites with planning permission for quarrying contain enough aggregates to build more than 100 million houses or 85,000 miles of motorway - equivalent to over 500 M25s.
The Council argues that the excess of supply in the pipeline makes a nonsense of government efforts to encourage recycling and efficient use of aggregates, and it calls on the Government to tackle the 'spectre of quarrying that hangs over the countryside' in its forthcoming draft planning guidance.
Responding to the CPRE's claims, QPA director general Simon van der Byl said: 'It is quite irresponsible of the CPRE to seek to frighten local residents with the claim that quarry landbanks are a time bomb waiting to explode. The existence of a landbank, whether calculated at 20 months or 20 years, will have absolutely no effect on our neighbours. Landbanks are a mechanism used by local government to manage sources of aggregate supply. They do not result in a single tonne of aggregate being taken out of the ground unless there is a market for it.
'The CPRE clearly does not understand the practical implications of landbanks and it is disappointing that no realistic alternative to this issue has been offered,' said Mr van der Byl.
He added that it was misleading of the CPRE to claim that the existence of landbanks discourages the efficient use of aggregates and recycling.
'This is completely untrue - over the past decade the efficiency of use of aggregates has increased by 30%, aggregate production has fallen by 30%, the use of recycled materials has increased by 50% and the environmental performance of the industry has improved significantly,' he said.
'The QPA will continue to fight for a realistic planning system which balances the nation's continued demand for aggregates with the best practicable environmental solution.'