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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Robert Brett & Sons win Cooper-Heyman Cup

CANTERBURY-based Robert Brett & Sons have won the premier restoration award at the ‘QPA Showcase 2004’ –– the annual event that demonstrates the industry’s efforts to minimize and eradicate impacts on the environment and local communities –– for the creation of a water-based military training facility at Lydd Ranges in Kent. Robert Brett & Sons and the Ministry of Defence, their partners in the award-winning project, were presented with the Cooper-Heyman Cup at a special ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 31 March.

Watermanship Lake is now used to hone the skills of troops serving in theatres ranging from Northern Ireland to Iraq, but is also available for recreational use by army youth teams, cadets from all three services and local community groups. The brief from the MoD to Brett Aggregates involved not only a specification for the creation of the facilities, but also some testing environmental requirements, as the site forms part of the Dungeness SSSI and is home to some internationally important shingle vegetation.

Coincidentally, this year’s runner-up in the restoration category was a neighbouring site in Lydd. Hanson Aggregates, in parnership with the RSPB, received an award with special merit for the former Lydd Quarry, which is now a spectacular nature reserve. The site is made up of four separate areas, each worked and restored at different times and with its own unique attraction to bird life.

Watermanship Lake and Lydd Quarry were just two out of 28 projects across Britain that were showcased at the event, which this year was hosted by environmental broadcaster John Craven, in the presence of eminent guests including Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone, chief executive of the Environment Agency, and David Miles, chief archaeologist with English Heritage.

The QPA Showcase recognizes excellence and sustainability across seven key categories: health and safety, restoration, biodiversity and geodiversity, community, heritage, operational best practice and resource conservation. In addition to the 28 ‘showcased’ sites, the assessors identified a further 28 that demonstrated ‘good practice’. Other than in the restoration category, however, the ‘reward’ for successful sites lies in being featured in the show rather than in silverware.

Simon van der Byl, director general of the QPA, said: ‘We have been botth impressed and delighted by the response we have received from our members to the concept of showcasing good practice. The challenge of sustainability is a major one for an industry like quarrying, but the showcase demonstrates evidence of genuine action at grass roots level.’


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