County's dwindling reserves of sand and gravel a threat to future projects

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Yorkshire is facing a shortfall of sand and gravel reserves which may impact future development, according to a new report.

The first edition of the Minerals Reports, compiled by Carter Jonas, highlights that West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire have startlingly low reserve levels. It estimates that these areas have reserves of less than seven years.

There is concern from the industry that permitted sand and gravel reserves are insufficient to support significant growth in demand and that this will be exacerbated as economic conditions start to improve over the next five years.

The report warns that immediate action is needed to ensure a sufficient supply of aggregates is provided, which will ultimately assist in the region's future development and construction programme.

It also looks at the reserves for crushed rock which appear to be adequate to meet future demand; however, the distribution across England and Wales is uneven, which may lead to issues regarding the transportation of mineral into areas of need.

Catherine Penman, head of research at Carter Jonas and author of the report, said: "The shortfall in sand and gravel reserves is cause for concern.

"It is believed to result from both geological issues and as a direct result of the complexity of progressing proposals for extraction of suitable minerals through the planning system. These shortages need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to ensure the provision of sufficient quantities of sand and gravel for development activity once economic sentiment improves and development begins to rise."

Jane Spence, senior mineral planner at Carter Jonas, added: "National objectives for minerals planning are focused around the need to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of minerals. It is essential to ensure an adequate supply of minerals without causing irreversible damage to the environment."

Carter Jonas employs more than 550 partners and staff in the UK and advises on all aspects of residential, rural and commercial property.