About Hope Cement Works

Breedon's Hope Cement Works is the largest cement making operation in the UK. We employ 200 people in a wide range of jobs and an independent report has shown that the works contributes around £61 million every year to the local economy.

A nationwide supplier

Hope Cement Works has the capacity to make around 1.5 million tonnes of cement each year - about 15% of the country's total production. That’s enough cement to make the concrete needed to build around 30 community hospitals, 100 schools or 125,000 homes.

Hope works therefore makes a critical contribution to the development of the UK’s infrastructure - maintaining a consistent supply of high-quality cement to British building projects is a high priority.


Transforming local minerals

The manufacture of cement starts with quarrying of two types of rock – limestone and shale, along with imported shale substitute. The limestone is typically blasted twice a week, with each blast releasing about 20,000 tonnes of raw material.

Hope’s limestone quarry is around 1.7km long, 600m wide and 175m deep. Huge machinery then scoops and transports the stone to the 'primary crusher' where the larger lumps are broken down before going through further crushers to create the fine material needed to make cement.


Manufacturing excellence

The fine limestone is carefully blended with local shale and imported 'shale substitute' (a by-product of other industries such as power generation). This blend passes through Hope's two 71-metre-long, 5-metre-wide rotating kilns - the heart of our manufacturing operation - where it is heated to around 1450°C. The resulting material is known as 'clinker' which is then ground into grey cement powder.

Hope is one of the best performing cement-making operations in the world, both in terms of reliability and efficiency. We continue to invest in new technology to maintain our reliability and environmental performance and recently invested around £15 million in projects to upgrade parts of the plant with the latest technology.


Alternative material sources

Making cement requires heating blended raw materials which requires a lot of energy. We are working to minimise our use of fossil fuels in our production process by increasing our capacity to capture energy from waste-derived fuels (such as tyre chips and solid wastes) that may otherwise go to landfill or simply accumulate. 

In recent years we have completed a £3 million installation to enable us to increase our use of alternative fuels.  We also use waste materials from other industries to blend with and complement our raw material feed - in particular alternatives to the local quarried shale. This helps to use otherwise unwanted industrial by-products and also help Hope works to reduce emissions of SO2.

Developing careers

Hope Cement Works is one of the area’s largest employers in the Peak District. The works employs a wide and diverse range of people – from junior technicians and graduate trainees to highly experienced scientists and engineers. We are committed to investing in the development of our people and identifying new talent.

Because of the diversity of roles and the development opportunities – plus the fact that the Hope Valley is a great place to live and work – our workforce is tremendously loyal with many people having been with us for more than 25 years. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for several generations of the same family to be working on different parts of the plant.


Efficient transport

Around two thirds of the cement made at Hope is transported in bulk by rail to depots in the South East (Dagenham in East London and Reading in Berkshire), West Midlands (Walsall) and the North of England (Dewsbury). This helps to ensure the product is delivered as efficiently and sustainably as possible. The remainder of the cement is transported by road using our state-of-the-art fleet of cement tankers.


Restoring the land

As part of the quarrying process we progressively restore the land we work, in consultation with the authorities and conservation organisations.  Restoration is carried out in consultation with biodiversity experts, with the aim of encouraging rare species of flora and fauna to thrive. Over 13,000 trees have been planted in the past 15 years, and the site has won awards for the quality of its restoration schemes, not only creating havens for wildlife but also places for people to enjoy - from golfing and fishing to hiking and birdwatching.


Part of the community

Hope Cement Works has a long tradition of actively engaging with the local community through its many social and communal activities. These include access for local residents to the Hope works estate and the Earle’s Sports and Social Club as well as on-site open days and tours, and an exhaustive range of local business and community partnerships.

Taking into account other contributions including volunteer time and charitable donations and sponsorships, Hope directly injects the equivalent of £150,000 into the community. Our community liaison committee (made up of local councillors and local representatives) meets four times a year and discusses developments, questions and concerns.

Environmental performance

The team at Hope Cement Works are sensitive to our location in the Peak District National Park and are committed to being a responsible operator and a good neighbour. Our environmental performance is regulated and closely monitored by the Environment Agency and our planning permissions and quarrying activity are overseen by the Peak District National Park Authority.

Essential for concrete

No other product can match concrete for performance, versatility and availability. Whilst there is a embodied CO2 in concrete from the manufacture of cement, research shows there is little or no difference between concrete and other structural materials when it comes to carbon footprint over the lifetime of a building. And concrete, unlike other structural products, is also indigenous, made almost entirely with ingredients sourced and produced in the UK.

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