The planned restoration of Ripon City Quarry is a perfect example of a mineral products operation that delivers real value to society that goes beyond the jobs and products that it provides in its given area. And what is more, its owner, Aggregate Industries, has actually been able to quantify that benefit.
The company used the process of ecosystem valuation to demonstrate that, over 50 years, the site’s restored wetland would deliver net benefits to the community of some £1.1 million. The benefits of biodiversity, recreation and increased flood storage far outweighed the alternative benefits from agriculture.
The quarry goes all the way back to the 1950s. Progressive restoration of the area worked to date has resulted in the development of a superb reed bed habitat. It was in 2009 that the company sought permission for a further extension involving additional reed beds plus open water.
In wildlife terms, the site has great potential for birds, bats and otters and it also has the potential to attract the bittern back to this particular part of Yorkshire. But there will also be householders over a wide area who will sleep a little easier in their beds at night because of the substantial additional flood storage capacity provided by the wetlands.
The project has also been a useful test for ecosystem analysis.