Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma comments on Longcliffe Quarries dedication to decarbonisation

Following Longcliffe Quarries completion of its £3.5 million investment in a new state-of-the-art washing plant at its Brassington Moor quarry, Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma has commented on their dedication to decarbonisation. The new facility will contribute to Longcliffe’s ongoing efficiency goals, as well as to its objective of reaching zero-carbon quarrying operations by 2027. 


The new washing plant will enable the transformation of material with a higher clay content, at a rate of 220 tonnes per hour, into valuable single-sized aggregates and sand grades. This will allow Longcliffe to recover key products from material that traditionally had to be discarded, maximising the company’s available reserves, and saving 12% of the quarry's load & haul fuel usage. 


Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “It’s great to see Longcliffe’s continued investment in decarbonisation. New innovations such as these contribute to more sustainable industry and skills creation, both of which are central to the UK’s green recovery as we build back better from the impact of coronavirus.


“The fact that this machinery was produced by CDE in Northern Ireland also illustrates the strong business links between all nations of the UK, and the importance of safeguarding the UK’s Internal Market when we leave the Transition Period at the end of this year.”


Sarah Dines MP said, ‘I am very proud to have businesses such as Longcliffe in my constituency who are taking the extra steps to reach zero-carbon quarrying operations by 2027. I commend the Shield family who own the business for their commitment to conservation projects. We all must take green issues seriously for the benefit of our future generations.


I recently wrote to the Treasury about their action on climate change and I was so pleased to have it confirmed to me once again that tackling climate change is a priority for the Government. On top of their support for local business and their effort towards decarbonisation, as part of the Plan for Jobs, the Chancellor set out that the Government’s plan for a green recovery with concern for our environment at its heart. He announced over £3 billion of new funding for green buildings, with £1 billion for a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to upgrade public sector buildings, including schools and hospitals, making them fit to help meet net zero with energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures.  


The Prime Minister has also announced over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme. These projects will be confirmed in the autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.    Together these schemes will make our buildings greener, helping meet the government’s net zero target, create jobs and boost the construction sector.


There is a clear message from many of my constituents that they care passionately about climate change and our environment and I for one, wholeheartedly agree with them. The UK is beautiful and Derbyshire Dales is certainly one of the most beautiful parts, but it falls to all of us to keep it that way.


In February, I submitted a request for funding for Electric Vehicle charging points in the Peak District National Park to the Chancellor and the Government ahead of the March Budget. Unfortunately my bid was not successful that time, but I continue to raise this matter and work with the Peak Park, local councils and Ministers to address this issue. The rurality of the National Park leads to huge issues in terms of power distribution and mobile phone signal, which are both vital for the operation and payment of EV charging. This has frustrated recent attempts to secure funding and encourage roll out of EV charging at key National Park sites. The District Council have been working with Derbyshire County Council on the roll out of EV charging points at an on-street and public car park level but in more populated areas with greater access to higher voltage power supplies.  However, it has not been possible to deliver EV charging points in other key community and visitor locations. These are critical to our community becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable. The National Park Authority and its partners have a wide range of Pay and Display sites with existing (albeit lower level) power supply. These could offer a great starting point for a distinctive roll out supporting a sustainable tourism approach. This will help the Peak District National Park become net zero carbon, a target I am sure we would all support.


I met Sarah Fowler, the Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park to discuss this matter in person in February and in May we met again this time via video conferencing to discuss disposable BBQs in the Peak District and social distancing during lock down. I have been vocal is my support for people to use common sense when visiting our area and the use of disposable BBQs holds a real risk to our moorland and environment. I was delighted to meet with residents and members of the Leave The BBQ At Home group to discuss this issue. They are working hard to increase awareness of the dangers of disposable BBQs on our local environment. Our moors provide a habitat for some wonderful wildlife and are incredible places to visit, it seems sensible to me that we raise awareness to visitors to not do anything to jeopardise these sites, where in many cases the same people putting it at risk have travelled large distances to marvel at the natural beauty.


I have held litter-picks on the moors and also in local parks in Derbyshire Dales to play my part in keeping the area looking its best. It is a shame we have to pick up after people in the first place, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the local community champions who have taken matters into their own hands and held litter picks in the past few months to keep our area clean.


There is always more that can be done and I will continue to do my part to take care of our environment for future generations. Steps like the above are vital for us to meet net zero with energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures and I am delighted to once again see the government taking this challenge seriously and acknowledging businesses that are doing their part.’’