BCA: Spotlight on cement industry’s environmental performance

BCA: Spotlight on cement industry’s environmental performance
Published: 05 September 2007

The cement industry has today welcomed the launch of the Environment Agency’s Spotlight on business report on environmental performance in 2006, and is encouraged by the Agency’s acknowledgement of the progress in the performance of the cement sector and the development of its sector plan.

Mike Gilbert, BCA Chief Executive, speaking after the launch, said ‘the cement industry has made great strides in its drive towards sustainable production achieving a 29% reduction in direct CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2006, giving a CO2 saving of over 3.9 million tonnes. In part, the reduction has been achieved through the replacement of primary raw materials and fossil fuels by processing wastes and by-products from other industries into alternative raw materials or fuels for use in the cement kiln.

The industry is also making significant progress against the environmental objectives set by the Agency in the cement sector plan published in November 2005. For example, UK cement manufacturers have achieved a 45% fall in the industry’s total environmental burden to air between 1998 and 2006, within which dust emissions per tonne of cement manufactured have reduced by 60% over this period, while sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions have fallen by 58% and 27% respectively.

The cement industry has been a leader in the publication of environmental information and progress towards the targets in the sector plan is published annually in BCA’s Performance report. This relies on the provision of data from the Agency, and work is in progress on improving processes for data collection and collation. The latest edition of Performance was issued in August and highlights the industry’s major reduction in use of fossils fuels, which has been cut by 23% since 1998, and its positive record on waste recovery, with the volumes of cement kiln dust (the largest component of waste) going to landfill falling by 75% since 1998.

The cement sector plan also lays down performance indicators for the Environment Agency itself which the BCA notes they are striving to meet.

Overall, the cement industry is pleased that the Agency acknowledges the continually improving environmental performance of the sector, and looks forward to working with them on the further development of the sector plan, and the reporting of environmental performance in “Spotlight” and Performance.