Aggregates and the environment: A half-way shift by the Government

Long-awaited proposals on future supplies of aggregates have been issued by the Department of the Environment (DoE). Mineral operators have been alarmed by the suggestion that greater use of recycled materials should be promoted by cuts in landbanks for future quarries. But conservationists and planners believe that the Government has failed the "sustainable development" test in not taking steps to reduce demand for aggregates - notably by cutting back its roads programme.

In mid-1991, a public outcry about the environmental con-sequences of a new set of official projections showing sustained growth in demand for aggregates forced the Government to promise to review its long-established policy of ensuring "an adequate and steady supply" of aggregates to the construction industry (ENDS Report 196, pp 14-18). Eighteen months later, a draft consultation document on planning guidelines for aggregate provision in Eng

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