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Spotlight on a responsible and essential industry

THE Quarry Products Association held its premier event of the year on 3 July at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. The QPA Showcase 08, which highlighted the industry’s major successes, explored the challenges ahead and examined the industry’s role in future developments, was attended by a high-profile audience of over 470 key stakeholders and industry delegates.

Channel 4 broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the event, which featured a mix of live presentations and pre-filmed items, and provided a platform for QPA director general Simon van der Byl to make a new pledge to significantly expand the Association’s work on biodiversity.

Mr van der Byl’s announcement included: a commitment to develop a biodiversity strategy setting out how the industry’s contribution to biodiversity can be further improved; a drive to ensure that the industry is visibly regarded as a key contributor to UK biodiversity targets; and dedicated work by QPA members and stakeholders to identify action required for the industry to contribute to national biodiversity and SSSI targets.

 

The QPA Restoration Awards, now in their 38th year, were also announced during the event by special guest Graham Wynne, chief executive of the RSPB.

From the eight 2008 entries, Hanson Aggregates’ former sand and gravel operation at Otley Quarry, in West Yorkshire, which has been transformed into a highly impressive nature reserve, won the top prize for outstanding quarry restoration – the Cooper-Heyman Cup – having displayed leading practice on restoration for wildlife that went far above and beyond the level expected by the planning authorities.

During his presentation speech, Mr Wynne commented that the quarrying industry had already demonstrated some wonderful examples of restoration, but he challenged operators to go even further in their contributions towards national biodiversity.

A Chairman’s Trophy was also awarded this year. It was won by Eton Aggregates (a consortium that included QPA members CEMEX, Lafarge and Tarmac) for the exceptional social contribution that Dorney Lake, in Berkshire, has made, not just locally, but nationally and internationally. Dorney Lake has been restored to a 2,200m Olympic-standard rowing course, park, arboretum and nature-conservation area, and will be used for the 2012 Olympic rowing and canoeing events.

None of this year’s entrants went home without an award, as all were deemed to be of such a high standard that each collected a QPA Restoration Award. The six other sites were: West Deeping Quarry, Lincolnshire (Lafarge Aggregates); Lynford Pit, Norfolk (Ayton Products); Nosterfield Quarry, North Yorkshire (Tarmac Ltd); Bestwall Quarry, Dorset (Aggregate Industries UK Ltd); Frith End Quarry, Hampshire (Grundon Waste Management Ltd); and Haywards Farm, Berkshire (CEMEX UK).

Summing up this year’s awards, QPA chairman Lynda Thompson said: ‘The 2008 entries to the awards have been highly impressive and our winners thoroughly deserve their prizes. These awards show just how much our industry can achieve through restoration to promote biodiversity and benefit the local community.’

 

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