The construction industry in Europe has been extremely buoyant in the past four to five years, particularly in the UK, Spanish, French and Dutch markets. Even in West Germany the difficulties experienced until 1987 appear to have been overcome and demand for aggregates is likely to be more than the 516 Mtonnes of 1988. Thus, with some 12 0rowth in the European construction industry predicted for 1989, there would appear to be great potential for the future. Table 1 gives production figures for some EEC countries.
In the UK aggregate production rose to 270 Mtonnes in 1988, surpassing the previous record of 256 Mtonnes set in 1973. Crushed rock aggregate production at 154 Mtonnes now exceeds sand and gravel production by approximately 40 Mtonnes and seems likely to be the major source of UK aggregates for the future.
Planning control on extraction
The major Constraints on the development of any new aggregate source are those related to agriculture, landscape and ecology, with both nationally and locally based policies influencing the allowed extraction. Such constraints may restrict mineral working but are rarely an absolute bar to the granting of planning permission. However, despite a 40 0ncrease in production of aggregates in the 1980s there are few signs that local planning authorities are prepared to accept that the demand for aggregates should be provided for within their county and it is difficult to see how the increasing demand should be met.
Marine aggregates supply some of the needs of coastal markets