Friday, 31 October 2008


Latest News

Gloom deepens for UK quarry firms

Issue date: October 30th, 2008

Further job losses and mothballing of operations could be necessary across UK quarrying firms as they prepare for worse conditions than during the 1991 recession, according to new figures.

The latest Quarry Products Association (QPA) sales statistics show ready-mix sales fell 21% during the third quarter compared with the same period last year, with sand and gravel sales falling by 17% and crushed rock by 15%.

As if suddenly hitting a wall, Q3 sales fell at a rate not seen since the 1991 downturn. However, warns the QPA, pre-credit crunch market conditions are set to make the effect of the slowdown much worse.

“The accelerating decline in demand seen in Q3 indicates that for 2008 the rate of annual decline of aggregates and concrete volumes will be similar to the 1991 recession – but the fundamental difference in this comparison is that the early 1990s recession followed historically high volumes in the late 1980s, but the current market decline is from much more modest volume base.

“There will be further significant declines in aggregates and concrete markets in 2009 as the downturn in construction output worsens,” it said.

The use of ready-mix and aggregates are often weighted towards the earlier stages of construction projects, says the QPA, and so the decline reflects not just the problems in the housing markets, but also the lack of new work elsewhere in construction, notably in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Bucking the trend, asphalt sales have been steady through 2008. The figures show between January and September this year sales grew by one percent compared with the same period last year – Q3 figures, however, show a decline of two percent.

The QPA said it anticipates a “…significant decline in asphalt demand…given the small number of major roads contracts in progress and inadequate local highways funding”.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Message from OUTRAGE

We have now had confirmation from WODC that the Final 2007 Flood Report will not be published in time for the OCC Planning and Regulation Committee meeting of October 20th. OCC have therefore removed the Stonehenge Farm application from the draft agenda for that meeting. They hope to have it on the agenda for November 24th.

Meanwhile, OUTRAGE are gearing up the campaign. We have sought the opinion of a QC with experience of minerals applications and have been advised by him that we have a good case against Oxfordshire County Council. Together with the firm of solicitors who have advised us in our case against the Environment Agency, our QC will write a legal opinion on our behalf to all members of the OCC Planning and Regulation committee and will address the committee on the day itself.

All this will cost - but OUTRAGE believes that it will be a sum well worth paying. As laymen we have little power to move a Council so determined to favour this application. If we are to be taken seriously, our arguments need to be delivered by professional lawyers. For maximum impact, we believe that our QC is the man for the job.

WE appeal to you to help us raise the necessary funds. Our four-year campaign against gravel extraction at Stonehenge Farm is now facing its greatest challenge. The possibility of increased flood risk hangs in the balance, together with the fate of our roads, footpaths and countryside. We need to show that we are serious, that our opposition is real and that we will not be rolled over.

As part of our fund-raising campaign we are arranging a Grand Raffle with a top prize of £500, plus other prizes including a case of wine from the Oxford Wine Company’s own vineyard donated by Ted Sandbach, a Northmoor lamb (ready to freeze) donated by Julia & Graham Shelton, a meal for four at the Black Horse, Standlake, donated by Andy & Debbie Jones, a round of golf at Frilford Golf Club donated by Luke List, and a meal for two with a bottle of champagne at Pierre Victoire in Little Clarendon Street, donated by Claire Harvey. Many thanks to all our donors.

Raffle tickets will be £2 a ticket and the Grand Draw will take place on the evening of November 22nd at Northmoor Village Hall – details to follow shortly.

A prize of chocolates and champagne will be given to whoever sells the most tickets.

Monetary donations of any amount, large or small, would be very much appreciated.

They should be made payable to OUTRAGE and sent to our Treasurer:

John Downes, Greenfields, Church Road, Northmoor, Witney, Oxon, OX29 5SX