The Report identifies several additional potential sources of sand and gravel, which might reduce the requirement from the various proposed extraction sites in the County. Some are mentioned in ‘Calculation of Sand and gravel Provision, Options [p50].
Option 1 assesses the further need for sand & gravel at the 27.5mt, mentioned earlier. This is based on projecting forward average sales for the last ten years. In our view this appears reasonable since the period 2002-2012 embraces a six year boom in construction followed by sharp recession and very slow recovery. Option 2 assumes increased demand on the basis of faster economic growth. It is felt this is not justified at this stage. Economic recovery is muted at present. [This is a complicated area of which I have considerable professional experience as a Business Economist for the Construction Industry, former Chairman of the Building and Civil Engineering Economic Development forecasting committees etc, from 1969-1997. If it would be helpful I could write a separate paper on this subject.] Option 3, base case plus contingency of plus 10%, is equally unjustified at this stage. Option 4, revisiting the matter in 2020 is clearly preferable. By then the path of economic activity will be less obscure albeit far from certain. Just as important the potential from additional sources will be clarified.
Option 5 refers to the additional resource with greatest potential-Marine Aggregate. Section 2.53 [p17] states that the Minerals Planning Authority have commissioned consultants to examine the potential supply of sand and gravel from marine areas. Their draft report says that there is substantial potential in the longer term but there are unresolved problems of transportation to inland areas. In Section 5.15 it is noted that 60% of North Yorkshire sand and gravel is ‘exported’, mainly to South and West York. and Teesside, where there is substantial construction activity and paucity of local supply.[ Section 5.18] Teesside is on the coast so there should be no inland transportation problems; while West Yorks. is well served by the Humber and associated rivers and canals. It is felt that permissions to extract sand and gravel from new ‘greenfield’ sites should be held back until there has been more work on assessing potential supply of marine aggregates.
Option 6 refers to the potential to supply South Yorks. from reserves in the nearby East Midlands. [Section 5.28 p53] The previous section [5.27] adverts to possible but unidentified. Reserves in the TeesValley. [Are the Local Authorities there ‘dragging their feet’?] In Section 5.18 it is said that York may provide additional reserves but no steps appear to have been made to identify them. In Section 5.4 [p43]it is noted that there are identified reserves in Wharfedale not so far from main areas of demand in the Leeds/Bradford conurbation. While it is clear that the most important sand and gravel reserves in the region lie along the A1 and river corridors of the Swale and Ure [Section 5.4], it is felt that equally detailed assessments in these other areas should be made before confirmation of any above base assessment of demand on North Yorkshire and particularly before any ‘greenfield’ sites are progressed to stage 2 of the Consultation.