QPA attacks government noise proposals
THE Quarry Products Association has strongly attacked government proposals on noise reduction, warning that they would have a devastating effect on the UK quarrying industry if adopted.
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' consultation on MPG11 proposes reducing operational noise at quarries to 42dB, with a further 5dB reduction within five years. Current mineral planning guidance generally requires an absolute noise level of 55dB. In contrast, the noise level in a public library is typically around 40dB.
'These new proposals would devastate the quarrying industry and make most quarries inoperable,' said QPA director general Simon van der Byl.
'We have just seen the welcome government announcement of a huge increase in public investment and a œ180 billion transport plan which will require many millions of tonnes of aggregates to implement. Now we have another part of Mr Prescott's Department making outrageous noise proposals which would cut off aggregates supply.
'The proposals are absolutely ludicrous and seem to have been plucked out of the air.'
Indeed, in the Government's own research into the environmental cost of quarrying, carried out by London Economics in 1998-99, out of 4,999 people living close to quarries who were questioned about environmental impacts, only 31 (0.64% of the survey sample) identified operational noise from quarries as a notable concern.
Calling for the Government to think again, Mr van der Byl added: 'The DETR must drop their proposals and start acting rationally so that the quarrying industry can continue to supply its essential products to the best practicable environmental standards.'