Primary aggregate reserves in England 1990-2004

Brown, T.J.; Highley, D.E.. 2006 Primary aggregate reserves in England 1990-2004. British Geological Survey, 50pp. (CR/06/168N) (Unpublished)

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Aggregates are the most commonly used construction minerals in the UK and are essential for the sustainable development of a modern economy. The resources of material suitable for use as primary aggregates in England comprise land-won sand and gravel, and crushed rock (limestone, sandstone, igneous and metamorphic rock). These materials are not evenly distributed throughout the country. In particular, there is very little hard rock suitable for crushed rock aggregate in southern and eastern England, where demand is high. Monitoring the size of England’s permitted reserves of primary aggregates, and the extent that they are being supplemented by new permissions or depleted through sales, is a crucial element of the system of managed aggregate supply. This report brings together data on reserve levels, sales and planning permissions for each year from 1990 to 2004 for land-won sand and gravel, and crushed rock. The information is presented for England and also by region. Reserves of land-won sand and gravel in England have declined from a high of 907 million tonnes in 1995 to 650 million tonnes in 2004 and action is required if long-term supply is to be maintained. Some regions are experiencing more significant declines than others. The South East is the worst affected with reserves declining by 61 per cent from 207 million tonnes in 1995 to 81 million tonnes in 2004. To a large extent, the decline in reserves is caused by the failure to replenish sales tonnages with new planning permissions. However, increasing pressure from other uses of land, particularly in the South East, makes this situation difficult to resolve. Crushed rock reserves in England, at 4247 million tonnes in 2004, are higher than they were 10 years ago, despite a small reduction between 2001 and 2004. Reserves are dominated by two regions, the East Midlands (1657 million tonnes) and the South West (1330 million tonnes), which together account for 70 per cent of total crushed rock reserves in the country. These regions are major suppliers of aggregate to the South East, London and the East of England. The majority of sales tonnages of crushed rock have been replenished by new planning permissions in the last 10 years, almost entirely through extensions to existing quarries. Although it would appear that the position for crushed rock is more positive than that for sand and gravel, recent permissions are in respect of only a few quarries and therefore productive capacity from these existing quarries may mean that the reserves cannot necessarily be realised any more quickly.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Economic Minerals
Funders/Sponsors: NERC, Great Britain. Department for Communities and Local Government
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Additional Keywords: Aggregates
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 10 Jun 2009 14:14 +0 (UTC)

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