MPA response to Defra's 25 Year Environment Plan
MPA welcomes Defra’s recognition that well-planned mineral extraction and restoration can make a significant contribution to the understanding and conservation of our nations’ rich geodiversity and biodiversity heritage, as outlined in their 25 year plan released on 11th January 2018.
The UK Mineral Products industry already plays a key role in creating net gain and natural capital, making a significant contribution to generating priority habitats through its habitat restoration and enhancement. MPA members have created at least 6,000 hectares of priority habitats delivered to date, an area the size of Cardiff, and a further 9,000 hectares are planned. Further, over 500,000 trees have been planted over the past five years by MPA members.
As a consequence, current and restored mineral extraction sites host 700 SSSIs, and a nationwide network of quarries that have been restored for wildlife are now accessible to the public as part of MPA’s National Nature Park, making a net gain to biodiversity and a significant contribution to the nation’s natural capital.
The sustainable use of resources and the reduction of waste are two key aspects of the 25 year plan’s ambition to improve productivity which are welcomed, given the UK Mineral Products industry is already highly resource efficient with an aggregates recycling rate over twice as high as the European average.
The concept of a Natural Environmental Impact Fund is supported. Unfortunately the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, that was axed in 2011 represented just such a fund, and we will continue to press for a replacement.