Production sites such as quarries are tightly controlled to ensure they meet high standards of environmental performance set by government and local planning authorities. And the industry itself continues to push standards still higher, recognising that the way its sites are managed today will influence its ‘licence to operate’ tomorrow.
Indeed, many MPA member companies report that during public open days visitors are astonished at the scale of the quarry activities on their doorstep – such is the level of environmental controls in areas like air quality, vehicle movements and noise. Of course, it is not always possible to conceal and contain every aspect of an industrial activity but MPA member companies go out of their way to do what they can.
These days virtually all mineral products operations are covered by certified environmental management systems that are independently audited to ensure compliance and continuous improvement. Britain’s expertise in managing quarries to the highest standards has been exported all over the world.
Besides providing essential building materials, the industry has consistently demonstrated its commitment to restoring quarries to create new and enhanced wildlife habitats that are proven to increase biodiversity and geodiversity. See the section on Quarries and Nature.
Most quarries have good relations with their local communities who recognise that such sites have to exist to provide the essential materials that make life better and support the local and national economy.
Besides tight controls on the way quarries operate, many sites run regular local liaison groups – attended by community representatives – to explain current activities and future proposals. These also serve as a forum for concerns to be raised and any issues to be resolved quickly. MPA member companies go to great lengths to minimise the impact of their operations on those who live and work nearby.
Other common features in the calendar of a typical quarry are public open days and school visits allowing people to see first-hand what happens within the boundaries of a quarry. School visits give rise to a wide variety of studies in everything from maths and science to geography and history. MPA estimates that at least 30,000 people visit British quarries every year and members report that feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
MPA is currently piloting the Good Neighbour Scheme to help its members continue to build trust with their local communities.
MPA and member companies contributed to the Government’s Annual Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Report, a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. Read more here: Publication of the UK EITI Annual Review 2020 | EITI.
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.