SCOTLAND is bucking the trend in replenishing its supplies of aggregates.
While eight out of 10 planning regions failed to replace reserves extracted during 2012 – despite markets continuing at historically low levels – only in Scotland and the south west of England were companies able to fully replenish reserves.
Industry consultancy BDS Marketing Research estimates that just 70% of sand and gravel production was replaced with new consents. That is a similar rate to the previous year and continues the trend which has been in place for many years.
The national picture looks better in crushed rock but that is due solely to one major consent in the south west. If that one scheme is excluded, BDS calculates that crushed rock producers were able to replace just one in every three tonnes extracted in 2012. The situation was particularly acute in the largest crushed rock producing region, the East Midlands, which saw no major consents during 2012.
Across the industry as a whole, BDS identified no other consents granted during 2012 for proposals that involved more than an additional five million tonnes of reserves.
Over the previous 15 years, BDS reckons that only in 2006 did the quarrying industry more than replenish the reserves taken out during the year.
“The position looks no better for 2013,” said BDS principal consultant Julian Clapp.