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QPA chairman slams government aggregates policy

IF the Government wants to ensure a sustainable future supply of aggregates, it needs to get its act together and produce a coherent strategy. This is the message from the new chairman of the Quarry Products Association, Lynda Thompson, in response to the Government’s current consultations on future planning policy for Aggregates (MPS1 – Aggregates Annexe, produced by the ODPM).

‘This consultation is yet another example of short-term policy thinking that lacks any sense of strategy. The long-term supply of aggregates and quarry products should be a key strategic issue for government. These materials are vital for our long-term national interest, and the UK is very fortunate in having extensive resources of rock, sand and gravel. If we are serious about building sustainable communities, we need sustainable supplies of aggregates for the long term,’ said Mrs Thompson.

According to the QPA, the latest consultation will simply create an increasingly bureaucratic and short-term planning environment, making it increasingly difficult for industry to plan ahead to meet the needs of the construction industry and society in the most sustainable way.

 

The Association says that the lack of a coherent and sustainable government strategy is demonstrated by: the ODPM’s latest consultation; the Treasury’s determination to continue with the aggregates levy – notionally an environmental tax – without any attempt to rigorously assess its environmental impact or sustainability of the levy; DEFRA’s continued determination to make the use of recycled materials as difficult as possible through its waste policy; and the unresponsiveness of the DTI – the sponsoring department for construction and aggregates – in relation to industry’s call for a coherent government mineral strategy.

Lynda Thompson added: ‘The irony is that, while the industry has increasingly committed to sustainable operations to achieve the best economic, social and environmental outcome for the industry and its stakeholders, the Government is moving in the opposite direction. It would be reasonable to expect a strategic approach to the sector from the Government, but this still seems a long way off.’

 

 

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