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Environmental and economic information for aggregates provision

By E.J. Steadman, F.M. McEvoy, K.A. Linley, P.D. Bell, E.J. Bee, E.L. Bartlett, A. Napier and J. Forster


This report describes a one-year research project entitled ‘Environmental and economic information\ud systems for aggregates provision’. This project is an extension to previous research on Strategic\ud Environmental Assessment (SEA) and future aggregates extraction, which was carried out by the British\ud Geological Survey (BGS) and reported in early 2004 (Steadman, et al., 2004). Both phases of the research\ud were co-funded by the BGS and the Mineral Industry Sustainable Technology Programme (MIST).\ud Environmental, economic and social information are essential for sustainable planning for the provision\ud of aggregates. There is a need to bring together disparate information relating to aggregate extraction.\ud Datasets include the location of resources and their potential end-uses, as well as those on the\ud environment and transport. Bringing this digital information together into one location or system will\ud assist in supporting a more balanced and informed approach to the decision making process. A number of\ud regulatory mechanisms are currently driving the gathering and compilation of relevant environmental,\ud economic and social information. Current drivers for information relevant to aggregate provision include\ud environmental appraisal of the provision of aggregates, SEA and Sustainability Appraisal (SA).\ud The objective of this research was to provide an interactive ‘tool’ or information system for the minerals\ud industry, land-use planners and other stakeholders to use when considering options for future aggregate\ud provision. The study area for the research was the East Midlands Region of England. The project had\ud three main deliverables:\ud 1. To provide an online Geographic Information System (GIS) to access the ‘environmental\ud sensitivity’ map which was developed for the East Midlands Region during the first phase of\ud research;\ud 2. to compile aggregate end-use suitability maps for the East Midland Region; and\ud 3. to hold a stakeholder consultation exercise and dissemination seminars.\ud Each of these was met within the agreed timeframe. The environmental sensitivity map information and\ud associated attributes have been made available on the internet via the BGS ‘Minerals information online’\ud web GIS for the East Midlands Region (www.mineralsuk.com/web_gis). Accommodating these data in a\ud web GIS environment has entailed some compromises on data resolution and system functionality.\ud A methodology has been developed to integrate a range of aggregate technical property data. This can be\ud used to summarise the distribution of aggregate resources suitable for particular end-uses. These summary\ud technical data are useful in communicating issues of variable aggregate quality and economic value to\ud non-technical stakeholders in the mineral planning process. Availability of appropriate technical property\ud data for different aggregate resources across a wide geographical area is critical in developing these maps.\ud Feedback from an extensive consultation and dissemination exercise has generally been very positive.\ud Two critiques by independent consultants of the environmental sensitivity map were also undertaken.\ud These were deemed an important aspect of the consultation process. Stakeholders raised several issues.\ud There were some concerns about updating and maintenance of asset data and about the lack of social\ud information. In addition, some fundamental issues of approach (particularly asset weighting) raised in the\ud previous phase of this research resurfaced during this consultation.\ud Environmental sensitivity mapping will be carried out for the whole of England by the BGS in the near\ud future. The data will be made available online as each region becomes available. It is anticipated that the\ud mineral GISs for all regions of England (except London) will be completed by December 2005. New\ud datasets may be added to the environmental sensitivity layer as they become available. The research into\ud end-use suitability maps will be carried on by the BGS under its Minerals Programme, with the support of\ud co-funding where possible. The project team continue to welcome feedback and criticism of this research

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: British Geological Survey
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:11289

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