Quality restoration of land borrowed for the extraction of minerals is one of the trademarks of the modern quarrying industry. Indeed, without proper provision for restoration, secured through planning conditions, permission to work a quarry will not be given.
MPA members are proud of their record on restoration. They know that unless worked-out sites are not only left safe and tidy, but also carefully designed to maximise their value to local communities, landowners and the wider environment, the industry can never claim to be truly sustainable.
The MPA Restoration Guarantee Fund (MPA RGF) acknowledges that it could be difficult for restoration conditions to be enforced if an operator becomes financially insolvent, and recognises that the obligations to restore ‘run with the land’ and will be immediately binding on any new owner.
It is precisely for these reasons that the MPARGF was established; to give communities, landowners and planning authorities the confidence that quarrying for sand & gravel, crushed rock, industrial sands, lime and dimension stone will not leave a legacy they have to clean up. That is the MPARGF pledge, and because it is so effective in providing that security the Fund is endorsed by Government through the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 as amplified by Planning Practice Guidance on Minerals 2014, in particular the section on Restoration and Aftercare of Mineral Sites.
The mechanism behind the MPARGF, which has evolved from an original scheme introduced in 1975, reflects commitment to shared objectives. Tellingly, over the 40 years it has been in place the Fund has never had to be called upon. Nevertheless, in the unlikely event that an MPA member represented by the RGF is unable to meet its financial obligations for restoration, the other members will collectively provide the necessary financial support to make sure the work is completed.
As an arms-length limited company, the MPARGF provides a £1m overall guarantee to planning authorities against a restoration default up to a single claim limit of £500k. It applies to all extraction sites operated by Fund members, and a planning authority can submit a claim when the operator of a quarry is unable to meet restoration obligations that arise through a planning condition. The only terms of eligibility are that the operator concerned is unable to comply as a result of financial failure and that the planning authority should have used every enforcement power available to them to achieve compliance.
Further information on the MPARGF can be found in this document:
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.