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Supporting the Industry in Driving Sustainable Workplaces

National Stone Centre

First published in the May 2022 issue of Quarry Management

IQ set out how they help members develop their skills and capabilities to deliver positive environmental outcomes and, ultimately, achieve a sustainable industry.

When the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) launched its ‘Creating Future Leaders’ strategy in 2018, one of the main pillars was to support the industry in driving healthy and sustainable workplaces. The IQ set out to help members develop their skills and capabilities to deliver positive environmental outcomes and, ultimately, achieve a sustainable industry.

Being a more sustainable industry means having efficient and effective operating processes, minimizing waste and recycling more, finding innovative product-led solutions, and taking active steps in improving biodiversity.

Along with supporting members with the skills and knowledge they need in these areas, the IQ also aims to educate the wider world on the positive impact of the mineral extractives sector and the diverse career pathways that are available. 

IQ chief executive officer James Thorne says: ‘Sustainability and environmental impact is a hot topic, with the Environment Bill currently in Parliament, and likely to become law from late 2023. 

‘Environmental considerations are a high priority for mineral extractives professionals, with many programmes and initiatives already in place that support the drive for decarbonization and the wider environmental agenda, as well as promote quarrying as a clean, efficient, and environmentally sensitive industry.

‘The IQ recently helped co-ordinate the updated Good Practice Guide for Handling Soils in Mineral Workings with Dr Neil Humphries, which is important guidance for all operators and contractors. We have widely distributed the landing page ( and ensured that members with the IQ Connect app always have this content to hand whenever they need it.

‘There is so much potential for biodiversity during and after quarrying. Sixty per cent of all Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are at least in part mineral workings, and there are currently more than 1,000 active mineral sites across the UK, resulting in approximately 140 square miles in quarry control (Quarry Restoration - IQ Lunch & Learn event - March 2021). What’s more, 28% of the total market is now recycled aggregates (Mineral Products Association). 

‘We know that the operational context is changing with the regulatory changes driven by the new Environment Act and associated legislation. In order to align ourselves with these changes, we must continue to enhance our skills and knowledge, which is why the IQ is actively developing new training for members and the broader industry around the restoration agenda. We play our part in supporting the drive to a more sustainable future.’

New Biodiversity Workshop delivered by leading experts

One of the latest initiatives developed by IQ aims to help members enhance their skills and knowledge covering how to improve biodiversity, habitats, and the landscape during and after quarrying.

The ‘IQ Biodiversity Workshop’ will be delivered by Andy Littler, who has spent 40 years in the industry devising and implementing biodiversity action plans and managing restoration schemes. He will be assisted by ecologist David Broom and former head of sustainability for Hanson, Martin Crow.

Taking place at the National Stone Centre, in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, the workshop is ideally suited to quarry managers, supervisors, area operations managers, ecologists, restoration managers, and those involved in estates management and planning.

Delegates will enjoy an interactive and engaging session packed with practical examples. It also includes a field visit to an adjacent nature reserve and quarry restoration scheme in progress. The workshop qualifies for 6h of certified continuing professional development (CPD).

Places for this initial event are limited but additional dates may be offered if there is strong interest. Register your interest online at:

Inspiring future generations

Highlighting and educating the wider world about the importance of the mineral extractives sector, its products, and the many careers available is a key objective of the IQ in order to attract younger talent into the industry and replace an ageing workforce. 

The IQ’s merger with the National Stone Centre (NSC) spearheads its ambitions to inspire and educate future generations on the importance of the sector and its environmental impact.

The NSC is set within six former limestone quarries on a 40-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest. It provides an opportunity to influence the future talent the quarrying and mineral extractives industry needs to remain competitive and innovative. Through school visits to the museum and exhibitions, the site helps children understand the science in geology, the natural environment and industrial heritage. 

Under the new arrangement, IQ will provide the resources and capability required to further develop the NSC as a compelling visitor destination and an internationally significant centre of excellence for the quarrying and mineral products industry.

IQ President Martin Riley says: ‘It’s becoming increasingly critical that we do make more of the positive contribution we make. Our sector is an important voice in helping the country deal with a number of the key issues facing us today.

‘We need to increase our engagement with schools and colleges. Our industry and profession offer a wonderful range of career opportunities, and this is set to grow with the ‘build back better’ agenda and the expected investment in UK infrastructure.

‘There is a demand to bring new people and skills into our profession. To do that effectively, engagement with the public and specific communities will be critical in building an influential network to help educate and inform others. Building a wide base of understanding will help attract the next generation of talent and enable the sector to compete for the skills it needs.

‘In addition, relocating our offices to the National Stone Centre means we will be able to visibly demonstrate the compelling story of the industry; how it has evolved through its history to the high standards it operates to today, and the valuable contribution it makes for local communities and the environment.’

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