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Reduce Environmental Regulatory Burden – The Mining Waste Directive: One Step Too Far.

Comment 6th July 2010

 

Simple put: Why would a large multinational company invest money in the UK? It's easier and there would be a higher rate of return if they invested their money else where. Our increasingly restrictive environmental legalisation is going to finish the UK Extractive Industry for good. 

I work for a large multinational company as a geologist in the UK's Extractive Materials Industry. We supply materials such as aggregates, cement, asphalt and concrete, so that the UK can build and grow.

The company however (and the industry as a whole) is really suffering in the economic downturn, with volumes declining by up to 50%.

There is one thing however that's not declining, and that's the amount of Environmental Legalisation that continues to be implemented, seemingly on a monthly basis, and the industry just cannot cope with it. The minerals industry desperately needs the regulatory burden to be eased.

The latest piece of major legalisation to shortly affect my company is the Mining Waste Directive, which has been interpreted from EU Law by DEFRA and is being implemented by the EA. This is a completely useless and unbeneficial piece of legislation, as everything the new directive covers is already covered in other legislation!  It is pure and simple unnecessary duplication.

The UK quarrying industry (which is already the most legislated and safest in the whole world) ALREADY has two main tiers which govern every move that the industry makes. These are Planning Permissions and the HSE 1999 Quarries Regulations. Legalisation that the industry works well with.

By way of a very short account of what this entails, the means that every soil bund, material stockpile, silt pond and excavation is covered by a planning permission, a restoration plan, method of working plan, phasing plan, H&S risk assessments, geotechnical stability analysis, archaeological studies, ecological studies, dust studies, air quality studies, hydrogeological risk assessments, flood studies….. I could go on.

We now have to add to this Environmental Permits and (which cost money!) so that the EA can approve, along with the Planning Authority and the HSE where we are allowed to place bunds, stockpiles and ponds.

Just drop the Mining Waste Directive…. it really isn't required. It's for other less well regulated countries from the EU, where there isn’t ANY existing regulation in place.

Senior Geologist from the UK Minerals Industry

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