The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has announced it has published a briefing ‘Sand Supply – a UK Perspective on a Global Issue’.
The briefing is designed to be a contribution to the current global debate regarding the availability, access to and consumption of sand.
In recent years there has reportedly been increasing attention on the demand for sand, the potential for global shortages and the consequences of unregulated extraction as the link has been made between the societal demands for homes and infrastructure and the associated pressures that this can place on finite mineral resources, particularly at a local scale.
The MPA briefing complements a new UN Report in which Joyce Msuya, the Acting Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme writes: “we now find ourselves in the position where the needs and expectations of our societies cannot be met without improved governance of global sand resources”.
The MPA’s new report clarifies that the UK is not running out of sand and construction aggregates and that robust regulatory systems and industry operating standards are generally high, which enables the delivery of a sustainable supply of aggregates from extracted and recycled sources.
Mark Russell, Executive Director – Planning, Mineral Resources & BMAPA, explained: “The minerals and minerals products industries, of which aggregates is a major constituent, are essential to the economy and our way of life. They represent the largest materials flow in the UK economy, around one million tonnes per day in a typical year.
“The UN reporting makes the link between the demands for construction materials alongside the implications of global sand supply if these societal needs are not supported by sustainable, well managed supply chains. The issues of sand supply are mirrored by increasing global demands for a range of natural resources and insufficient regulatory capacity to manage such issues in many countries. In this respect, these very much represent global issues that are being played out at a local scale.
“While industry and regulatory standards have evolved to provide a sustainable supply of aggregates in the UK, we must not be complacent about the need to maintain these standards in the future. Mineral operations in the UK can provide excellent examples of global good practice, both to mitigate and manage potential impacts and to deliver biodiversity and environmental net gain through effective site restoration. The challenge is how to translate the learning and benefits from these into solutions that may be able to be effectively applied elsewhere around the world.”
For more information, visit www.mineralproducts.org.