The British Lime Association (BLA) has released its fifth sustainable development report which presents the industry's progress in 2014.
The report features case studies from member companies detailing a range of innovative projects implemented by lime producers to improve their environmental and safety performance.
Commenting on the industry's recent achievements, Richard Stansfield, BLA chairman, said: "Lime producers have made some significant and beneficial changes to the lime manufacturing process. From introducing systems that use waste heat to power the plant to constructing anaerobic digesters on site, the industry is finding new, innovative ways to reduce its environmental impacts.
"The UK lime industry has also made great progress in health and safety in recent years. As part of a dedicated working group, producers collaborate and share knowledge of common incidents and best practice throughout the industry, towards a target of zero incidents every year."
Highlights of the report include a 49 per cent reduction in waste sent to landfill between the baseline year of 2011 and 2014.
Where possible, alternative fuels are used to replace fossil fuels. In 2014 the dolomite industry substituted 51 per cent of total fuel used for production with alternative fuels derived from waste products. This is the highest level of fossil fuel replacement seen in the UK lime industry so far.
Total CO2 emissions have increased by two per cent between 2011 and 2014. Whilst combustion emissions remained fairly stable, process emissions have increased slightly due to natural variations in the carbon content of the stone.
Between 2011 and 2014, total water consumption reduced by five per cent. This has been achieved by continuous efforts to minimise usage for activities such as wheel washing and dust suppression.
There has also been an 86 per cent reduction in SO2 emissions for high calcium lime production relative to the 2011 base year, and a 48 per cent reduction in NOx emissions.
The UK lime industry has reduced the number of lost time injuries (LTI) for direct employees and contractors by 40 per cent between 2011 and 2014 (data collected from BLA members only). Furthermore, there has been a 35 per cent reduction in the LTI frequency rate (direct employees, BLA Members only).
On the challenges and outlook for the British lime industry, Mr Stansfield noted: "The coming years will be a fragile stage in the industry’s recovery, particularly with the perilous state of the steel industry, the largest single sector that uses lime. It is important that the UK government supports home grown, historic sectors such as ours which utilise the natural resources in a sustainable way, creating wealth and contributing to GDP. For lime, continued recovery of UK construction and manufacturing is essential.
"EU ETS reform is the other significant threat to the lime industry. The post-2020 EU ETS should be reformed so that full carbon leakage protection is given to the best performers in the absence of a robust, and fully implemented, global climate change commitment. In addition, there needs to be the provision
for the compensation of increasingly important indirect costs of EU ETS in electricity prices."