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Volume 204: debated on Friday 28 February 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what forecasts for gravel demand have been made by his Department for the next five, 10 and 20 years; and what steps are being taken to seek substitutes which would have less environmental impact than gravel extraction.

Independent forecasts of the long-term national demand for primary aggregates, which include gravel, were published for consultation by the Department in May 1991. These covered the 20-year period to 2011 and showed projected annual demand in England and Wales could reach between 421 metric tonnes and 490 metric tonnes by that time. The Government have a comprehensive programme of research projects examining alternative sources of supply of aggregates. This includes marine dredged aggregates and coastal superquarries. The Government are also committed to increasing the use of waste and recycled materials. Research into the scope for using these as aggregates was published by the Department in July 1991. The research suggested various ways to stimulate increased usage. These are being progressed at present.