Minerals Research Report
Date of Article
Jan 25 2011

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Low mineral reserves may impact future development levels

Some regions in England and Wales are facing a shortfall of sand and gravel reserves which may impact future development, according to a report released today by property consultants Carter Jonas.

The first edition of the Minerals Reports, compiled by Carter Jonas, highlights that the majority of the South East and the West Midlands have reserve levels of less than seven years.

In addition, Cornwall, Somerset and Bristol, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk all have comparatively low reserves of sand and gravel. In the north of the country, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and County Durham have similarly concerning low reserve levels.  

There is concern from the industry that permitted sand and gravel reserves are insufficient to support significant growth in demand and that this will be exacerbated as economic conditions start to improve over the next five years. Immediate action is needed within those regions in order to ensure the sufficient supply of aggregates is provided which will ultimately assist in the regions development and construction programme.

The report also looks at the reserves for crushed rock which appear to be adequate to meet future demand; however the distribution across England and Wales is uneven which may lead to issues regarding the transportation of mineral into areas of need.

Catherine Penman, head of research, Carter Jonas and author of the report, commented: “The shortfall in sand and gravel reserves is cause for concern.

It is believed to result from both geological issues and as a direct result of the complexity of progressing proposals for extraction of suitable mineral through the planning system.  These shortages need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to ensure the provision of sufficient quantities of sand and gravel for development activity once economic sentiment improves and development begins to rise”.

Jane Spence, senior mineral planner, Carter Jonas, commented: “National objectives for minerals planning are focussed around the need to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of minerals. It is essential to ensure an adequate supply of minerals without causing irreversible damage to the environment.”