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Economics

What is the significance of quarrying to the local economy?

The key local economic benefits of quarrying can include direct and indirect employment, local tax revenue, improved availability of local building materials, and government or operator reinvestment. Local recruitment priorities, linkage development and operator and community partnerships, can help to enhance these benefits.

The key local economic costs of quarrying can include the displacement of existing and potential economic activities and deflationary pressures on property. Planned quarry land rehabilitation and after-use as well as sound environmental and social practices, can help to mitigate these economic costs.

What are the effects of aggregates production on the local economy?
     
In Mendip quarries nearly one third of the total £150 million per year revenue generated goes directly into the local economy through employee income and expenditure.
 
Aggregates operations, as a result of their revenue generating capacity and their investment in land, equipment, services and labour, can have significant positive benefits for the local economies in which they operate. For example the quarrying industry estimates that at the Mendip quarries nearly one third of the total £150 million per year revenue generated goes directly into the local economy through employee income and expenditure.

With some 50 000 people directly dependent upon the UK quarrying industry for their livelihoods, employment provision is among the most tangible and important of the potential positive local economic effects of quarrying. Moreover, because most quarries are situated in rural areas, often characterised by low incomes and limited job opportunities, the direct employment contribution of the industry to the local economy is particularly valued.

Although increasing mechanisation has reduced the levels of direct employment over the years, the procurement and contracting of auxiliary goods, equipment and services still creates the basis for extensive indirect employment.

Positions also exist for managers, geologists and other professionals.

Positions also exist for managers, geologists and other professionals.

  A number of skilled positions are available for people to work in the quarrying industry.

A number of skilled positions are available for people to work in the quarrying industry.

Indeed, many other sectors, like haulage, depend on the industry for a good proportion of their businesses, and it is estimated that most aggregate operations now provide as many indirect as direct jobs.

As a result of the high cost of transporting aggregates, and the effects of aggregates transport, aggregate products are generally used within a thirty-mile radius of the quarry from which they have been extracted. In addition to lowering costs, however, this proximity can benefit the local economy by improving the availability, quality and visual appropriateness of the materials used in local housing, hospitals, roads, schools and other structures.

Aggregates production provides national government with significant revenue through fixed taxation and royalty payments. If a proportion of this revenue is appropriately re-invested, to improve, for example, public health and education service provision, infrastructure or the business operating environment, the local community can benefit from an enhanced quality of life and rises in their material living standards.

Landowners and their tenants can also directly benefit through the receipt of compensation payments from aggregate operators for the use of their land or through the receipt of purchase payments for the sale of their land. However, while such payments are often welcomed and exceed market values, they are as often inadequate, unwelcome or beset with disputes related to arbitrary land valuation procedures and entitlement.

Moreover, the use of this land for aggregates production can physically displace or negatively effect existing or alternative economic activities such as tourism or agriculture that may be more economically sustainable and beneficial to the community in the longer term. This is particularly the case in rural areas where aggregates production usually takes place, and where the use of land often provides the main basis for local livelihoods.

Another potential negative effect of quarrying is that increased demand can put temporary inflationary pressures on the cost of certain goods and services locally. Conversely, quarrying can significantly deflate the perceived and actual value of local property prices by reducing the desirability and demand for housing near the quarry as a result of noise, traffic, safety, dust, and visual intrusion concerns observed or envisaged by potential purchasers.


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