A worrying statistic; it has been reported that aggregate reserves are being used up at a notably faster rate than permission is being granted for the development of new quarrying capacity – a warning by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) of a tip in the scales of supply and demand for key construction materials.
The warning of the supply and demand situation was showcased in the MPA’s Annual Mineral Planning Survey, which covers the period up to the close of 2014, incorporating data submitted by the association’s members from around the UK.
As the construction industry as a whole recovers, with increasing workloads and developments coming to the fore, so too has the demand for aggregates. Yet, whilst this would seem like a very positive result for key aggregate suppliers, dwindling reserves and the inability to develop further capacity quickly enough may prevent suppliers from truly taking advantage of the surge in demand. As such, the MPA has urged local authorities to reassess mineral plans and hasten the planning process for new capacity. Other key areas aside from aggregates in a similar situation include the supply of sand and gravel.
Shockingly, it was actually reported that reserves are being used at a rate two times as high as the new capacity is being facilitated. And while crushed rock is a material being superficially restocked, it has been argued that this simply acts as a shroud over the lack of replenishment seen across other key construction materials. Yet, it has been argued that it isn’t a case of an actual lack in the availability of raw materials, but simply ineffectiveness in the arrangement of mineral plans.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the MPA commented: “With over half of new permissions being for sites that have not yet been allocated in mineral plans, it is clear that the plan led system is not providing the certainty that it should.”