UK cement industry on right enviro track

UK cement industry on right enviro track
Published: 25 November 2005

The British Cement Association (BCA) has welcomed the publication of the Environment Agency’s sector plan for the cement industry. The sector plan is an important component of the cement sector’s sustainability initiatives and demonstrates transparency and achievements as part of the industry’s overall approach to openness and public consultation.

Speaking after the publication of the plan, Mike Gilbert, Chief Executive of the British Cement Association, said: “The cement industry has already made great strides in achieving progress against its challenges, most notably in reducing emissions, the use of natural resources and process waste. 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.”

Responding to the sector plan objectives, the cement industry rose to the challenge of reducing consumption of natural resources per tonne of cement manufactured by replacing 11.5 per cent of fossil fuel and 4.8 per cent of virgin raw materials with alternative materials in 2004. Added up, this represents over one million tonnes of waste being recovered in the year. The industry has also continued to reduce the overall quantity of waste produced in the cement making process. The amount of cement kiln dust going to landfill sites fell from 110,000t in 2002 to 63,500t in 2004. Direct CO2 emissions from cement manufacture fell by around 24 per cent between 1990 and 2004. Substantial investment and improvements to kiln technology and pollution control equipment as well as sound environmental management at all four UK cement manufacturers will further reduce emissions.

Lafarge UK£20 million gas scrubbing system at Dunbar in Scotland will cut the works’ emissions of both sulphur dioxide and dust by more than half, while Cemex is investing UK£6.5 million installing bag filters at its Rugby plant, resulting in a 40 per cent decrease in particulate emissions. Buxton Lime Industries’ new UK£110m plant at Tunstead Quarry have reduced particulate emissions by 90 per cent and improved energy efficiency by 40 per cent. Castle Cement’s new UK£62 million modern Padeswood kiln will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17.5 per cent per tonne of cement produced and acid rain gases by a staggering 75 per cent. The UK cement industry has just completed a year-long process on how it will embed sustainability in all of its operations.