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Scotland’s chief planner addresses mineral products industry

SCOTLAND’s chief planner and director of the built environment, Jim Mackinnon, gave the keynote address at the Quarry Products Association (Scotland)’s biennial conference at Battleby, Perth, on 24 November.

In his address, Mr Mackinnon (pictured) complimented the successful joint working between government and the Association, making special reference to the highly successful secondment of Tarmac’s estates and planning manager, Stephen Cowan, to assist in the preparation of the Mining Waste Directive, in his view ‘an ideal model of joint working which should be adopted across the UK.’

Mr Mackinnon continued: ‘I would also point to what I perceive as the responsible attitude that most operators have shown in relation to discharging environmental obligations, duties and responsibilities. This includes not just the management of day-to-day operations it also includes an excellent record in site restoration.

‘This was brought home to me very clearly when I visited the Glensanda Quarry this summer. The scale of the operation was awesome but so was the management and ongoing restoration of the site.’

Looking to future initiatives and in recognition of a ‘dearth of knowledge of minerals planning’, Mr Mackinnon welcomed the proposal from the Association, in collaboration with the Government’s Improvement Service, to an ‘agreed programme of road shows on mineral awareness for the planning authorities across the country in the New Year.’

His speech was very well received by delegates, a number of whom complimented his efforts and those of his colleagues in their willingness to ‘act as a broker when the planning process became unstuck.’

Conference delegates also heard from Bernard Warden, the Health and Safety Executive’s Head of the National Quarries Inspection Team, who introduced the Health and Safety session with a presentation on a model ‘Investigation of Work Related Deaths’. In a link to the competency presentations, Mr Warden suggested that two important tools in avoiding the need for an investigation were doing ‘the simple things right every time, ie acting professionally, and making sure your competencies match your current role.’

This set the scene for a role-playing scenario around a workplace fatality by Laura Cameron and Tom Stocker, both partners in McGrigors LLP, which gave the audience serious food for thought with respect to their own personal responsibilities and those of their company.

The afternoon sessions finished with presentations by two senior executives of the key agencies; Janice Milne of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and John Thomson of Scottish Natural Heritage, both of whom spoke of their particular organization’s changing role in addressing planning reform and supporting Scotland’s sustainable economic growth.

Drawing the event to a close, the Association’s chairman, Alan Mackenzie, chief executive of Breedon Aggregates (Scotland), spoke of the benefits members gained from having a professional working relationship with their main stakeholders and used the opportunity to announce a name change for the Association to the Mineral Products Association (Scotland).

‘Among other positives, this will provide a greater consistency across the UK in promoting our industry,’ he said.


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