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2020 / 2021 Edition

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MPA annual conference goes online

Nigel Jackson

Today’s online mineral products conference addresses economic growth and climate change

BALANCING economic development with the challenges of climate change is the theme of the Mineral Products Association (MPA) annual conference which is taking place online today (27 May).

Moderated by BBC Newsnight producer Samantha McAlister, Mineral Products 2021 ‘Growth & Climate Change… Balancing the Issues’ brings together a line-up of eminent experts to explore the UK’s current political landscape, economic outlook, climate change and how the industry is responding to the challenge of industrial decarbonization.

MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson opens the event on location from MPA member J & J Franks’ sand quarry and waste facility in Surrey. Emphasizing the importance of diverse geology in counties like Surrey in meeting the need for essential mineral products, he talks to Franks’ managing director, Peter Crate, about the challenges and opportunities of securing planning consent and obtaining permits when setting up a new site.

Professor Vernon Bogdanor CBE FBA of the Centre for British Politics and Government at King’s College London then provides a fascinating insight into the UK’s political context. He is followed by Prof. Tim Jackson, author of Post Growth – Life After Capitalism and Dr Gemma Tetlow, chief economist at the Institute for Government, who together examine the economic outlook.

Professor Tom Burke, chairman of independent strategic political think tank E3G explores the realities of climate change. Then Mike Thompson, chief economist at the Climate Change Committee, an independent advisory body to the Government, reflects on the UK’s Carbon Budget, followed by Rachel Wolf, founding partner at public policy and research specialists Public First, who looks at decarbonizing industry.

Steven O’Mara, mine and quarry manager for Hitachi Construction Machinery UK, and Toni Hagelberg, director of sustainable power systems at Volvo, discuss innovations designed to reduce the carbon impact of mobile plant. And finally, an overview of the UK Concrete and Cement Industry Roadmap to Beyond Net Zero rounds off the day’s proceedings.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘In 2018, we consumed over 400 million tonnes of mineral products in the UK – typically 1 million tonnes a day. We are the biggest flow of materials in the economy, providing essential materials without which construction, manufacturing and many other industries would struggle.

‘Last year was a tough year for the whole country, but we are grateful to the Government for recognizing the essentiality of the mineral products industry as the largest supplier to UK construction.

‘2020 also highlighted the significant and long-term role our industry plays in our society and our economy. Working to 10-, 15- and 20-year timelines is a way of life for MPA member companies, but when governments operate on five-year cycles our members have to factor a huge amount of uncertainty into their planning and investment strategy.

‘And besides these political and economic challenges, climate change and decarbonizing the mineral products industry is now critical to our thinking. That’s the reason we’re exploring these issues during this year’s conference.’

Highlights from the event will be shared on the MPA’s social media channels.

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