Public Consultation

Alternative raw materials by rail

During September 2020 we carried out a public consultation on a proposal to bring Alternative Raw Materials (ARM) to the site by train. We submitted our planning application in October 2020. You can view the planning application documentation by visiting our useful documents page.



To make cement we use local limestone and shale, along with imported shale supplement material. This imported material allows us to achieve the best blend of raw ingredients and keep sulphur dioxide emissions low during the cement making process. For the past 10 years, the shale supplement has been a by-product from coal power stations called 'pulverised fuel ash' or PFA.

PFA is currently brought to Hope by train and our current planning permission allows us to import up to 250,000 tonnes of it each year. Of course, the UK is moving away from coal for power generation so the availability of new PFA is declining. To maintain the right blend, we have been trialling alternative raw materials such as historic piles of ‘conditioned’ (or wet) PFA, slate quarry fines, fireclays, marl and other low-sulphur shales.

All of these alternative raw materials ('ARM' for short) have a higher moisture content than PFA (up to 30% water) which is driven off in the production process. This means we would need to import a much bigger quantity to maintain our supply of cement to British construction. At the same time, we are keen to limit the use of the local shale (which has increasing amounts of sulphur the deeper it is quarried) to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions and achieve the latest emissions limits.


Our proposal

Our proposal is to use the existing rail link to bring in additional ARM. Rail is much more efficient that road and has a lower impact on people and the environment. To make this work, some new facilities would also be needed for unloading rail wagons, conveying the material across the site and storing it indoors until it’s needed. The facilities would be contained well within the site and studies show they would have virtually no visual or other impact outside the works.

To take thing forward we will need planning permission from the Peak District National Park Authority, including full environmental assessments, associated permits and various conditions.

During September, we are consulting with a range of local groups and organisations, and hosting exhibitions (both face-to-face and online) for people in the surrounding villages and local organisations and groups.


Questions & comments

Questions and comments about the proposal are welcomed –  please complete the form on our Contact Us page. We will endeavour to respond to every enquiry individually and we will continue to add answers to more common questions through our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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