The Government’s Growth Plan, published today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been welcomed by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) as long as the ambition is matched by delivery.
The focus on reforming planning and consenting for infrastructure projects reflects MPA’s repeated calls for better delivery of these projects along with the activities that support them such as mineral extraction.
MPA says previous Government commitments to reform have often delivered little, and limiting change to planning for infrastructure projects misses the opportunity for more widespread planning reform – including for quarries and other manufacturing sites that supply essential mineral products for new infrastructure.
Accelerating key infrastructure projects, including CCUS clusters, new nuclear power generation, and road and rail projects is welcome news after years of slower than projected delivery, but again relies on real change happening.
The announcement of planning reform in investment zones is also of interest, with the potential to tackle some of the obstacles to the mineral products sector meeting demand by reducing regulatory barriers.
Aurelie Delannoy, Director of Economic Affairs at MPA, said:
“The UK economy is already well on the path to recession, and businesses have adjusted their expectations and made plans accordingly. Tax cuts and temporary relief on energy costs will help cushion the blow, but the next few months and year will remain challenging.
“A medium-term target of 2.5% trend rate of economic growth is commendable, if arbitrary. Putting infrastructure delivery at the heart of such ambition has long been supported by the mineral products industry, which stands ready to supply the essential construction materials needed, estimated to be some 4 billion tonnes of aggregates over the next 15 years.”
Robert McIlveen, Director of Public Affairs at MPA said:
“This is a hugely ambitious set of policies with some significant changes in policy combined with a serious focus on growth. The challenge is in delivering it in reality, sustained over the long term. The reform of planning for infrastructure projects is welcome, as we have called for many years for delivery to be improved. We hope that the investment zones and wider planning reforms may help our members ensure the supply of essential materials to build these accelerated infrastructure projects.”
Mark Russell, Executive Director for Planning at MPA said:
“Government needs to recognise that all parts of the national economy are impacted by planning and consenting delays, so solely fixing them for infrastructure projects is unlikely to result in miraculous growth. That simply shifts the delays elsewhere in the economy – you can’t build infrastructure if you can’t access the raw materials required. A more joined up and holistic solution is required.”
About the Mineral Products Association:
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Assocation (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2018, the industry supplied £16 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £172 billion in 2018. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.
For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Clements at: Elizabeth.Clements@mineralproducts.org.