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Aggregates in England—Economic contribution and environmental cost of indigenous supply


  • Brown, Teresa
  • McEvoy, Fiona
  • Ward, John


Aggregates represent one of the largest material flows in the UK economy; however, the importance of these minerals in underpinning economic activity is frequently not recognised. Features such as the spatial imbalance between resources and demand centres, exacerbated by changes in demographics and public perception, are placing increased pressure on the planning system to maintain supply. This paper sets out the direct and indirect economic contributions made by the indigenous aggregates industry to the English economy through Gross Value Added and employment sustained. It describes the key role of aggregates in construction activities, assesses the links between infrastructure development and economic growth. In 2005, aggregates extraction directly contributed £810 million of Gross Value Added to the English economy. Primary aggregates are, however, extracted at a cost to the environment and this cost, based on amenity value reduction, is estimated by updating previously published contingent valuation data. Estimates for the costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions are derived from values published by the European Union and, separately, by the UK Government. These two elements combined result in an environmental cost of indigenous extraction of £445 million in 2005. Additionally, an examination of the potential for a significant increase in the level of aggregate imports into England is made and the consequences assessed. This includes an evaluation of shipping costs and port capacity, and concludes that there are significant barriers to any substantial increase in the level of aggregate imports into England. As a consequence, indigenous supply is likely to predominate into the foreseeable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Teresa & McEvoy, Fiona & Ward, John, 2011. "Aggregates in England—Economic contribution and environmental cost of indigenous supply," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 295-303.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:4:p:295-303
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2011.07.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Campbell, Gary A. & Roberts, Mark, 2003. "Urbanization and mining: a case study of Michigan," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 49-60.
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    4. Kessides, C., 1993. "The Contributions of Infrastructure to Economic Development, A review of Experience and Policy Implications," World Bank - Discussion Papers 213, World Bank.
    5. Willis, K. G. & Garrod, G. D., 1999. "Externalities from extraction of aggregates: Regulation by tax or land-use controls," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 77-86, June.
    6. Kenneth Button, 1998. "original: Infrastructure investment, endogenous growth and economic convergence," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 32(1), pages 145-162.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lim, Seul-Ye & Min, Seo-Hyeon & Yoo, Seung-Hoon, 2016. "The public value of contaminated soil remediation in Janghang copper smelter of Korea," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 66-74.
    2. Wrighton, C.E. & Bee, E.J. & Mankelow, J.M., 2014. "The development and implementation of mineral safeguarding policies at national and local levels in the United Kingdom," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 160-170.
    3. Heneberg, Petr, 2013. "Burrowing bird's decline driven by EIA over-use," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 542-548.

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    Aggregates; Construction; Economy; England;


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