Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Transporting Minerals


1          Introduction and Background

1.1       The efficient transport and delivery of minerals is vital to support national and local economic activity and facilitate growth and jobs. The majority of minerals produced within the Plan area are delivered to the market by road in heavy goods vehicles; the wider impact of this traffic includes increased congestion on both the local, and strategic highway network within and beyond the Plan area, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

1.2       Locally, the transportation of minerals and associated traffic is one of the most significant impacts relating to minerals development and is usually what causes most concern to communities. The movement of minerals and the importation of fill material to restore mineral workings can generate large volumes of traffic which mainly constitutes heavy good vehicles travelling on roads. Such traffic can have a considerable impact on local communities causing problems such as public safety, noise and vibration, air pollution and visual intrusion. These problems are most severe where heavy good vehicles use roads unsuited to their weight and size, where they pass through sensitive areas and at the access to the site from the public highway.

1.3       The Plan area has a wide range of mineral resources which include limestone, sand and gravel, coal, vein minerals and brick clay. Minerals within the Plan area supply not only local markets but regional, national and international markets in some cases. In terms of quantity, by far the most significant mineral extracted is limestone, around 10 million tonnes in recent years (average annual production 2007-2013)[1] accounting for over 80% of all minerals produced (by weight) within the Plan area. Other minerals produced within the Plan area include sand and gravel (9%), coal (5%) and small quantities of vein minerals (mainly fluorspar & barytes), gas, sandstone, silica sand & clay and shale (each less than 1%).

1.4       Detailed information on the transport of minerals within the Plan area is limited; the last East Midlands Regional Aggregate Working Party survey on transport occurred in 2009 when of the total limestone produced for use as aggregates i.e. 7.2 mt approximately 71% was transported by road and 30% by rail.[2] Of the limestone aggregate that was exported i.e. 4.9 mt 58% was transported by road and 42% by rail.[3] Additionally, we know that a small amount of the 3 mt of limestone produced for industrial uses is also transported by rail. All of the other minerals are reliant on road transport. Historically there has also been the very small scale transport of minerals by barge along the River Trent.

1.5       In general terms the overall scale of mineral working from within the Plan area is not expected to rise significantly over the Plan period to 2030 and consequently any increase in mineral transportation should be minimal. It is anticipated that there will be a small increase in the production of crushed rock aggregate as production in the Peak District National Park is progressively decreased and replaced from quarries within the Plan area. It should be noted, however, that the demand for minerals and particularly, those used in the construction sector, such as aggregates, fluctuates widely in line with the performance of the economy, which will impact on production and hence mineral transportation levels.

1.6       The principal transport network in the Plan area is shown on the Map below. The Plan area has a good strategic road network, which provides excellent links to other regions, particularly to the north and the south via the M1, the A38 and the A61. The A50 provides an important east-west route in the south of the county linking the M1 to the M6 to the west of the Plan area. It is therefore easily accessible to and from a number of large neighbouring conurbations, including Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham which greatly influence transport movements. There are frequent relative short-distance movements of minerals across these boundaries, which are likely to continue in the future.

1.7       The Plan area has good rail links to major cities including Nottingham, Leicester, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds, however, there are few rail lines solely dedicated to rail freight. Generally, rail transport is only viable at high volume, long-life quarries where the significant capital costs can be recovered, although smaller operations can sometimes access the rail network when opportunities arise. Within the Plan area rail transport is currently only possible at the large scale limestone quarries and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. In 2013, there were three active rail facilities in the Plan area, at Tunstead Quarry, Dowlow Quarry and Doveholes Quarry.

1.8       There may be some potential for the transportation of minerals on inland waterways i.e. rivers and canals, but this form of transport is likely to be very limited. More detailed information can be found in the following supporting paper:


Derbyshire and Derby Minerals Local Plan Transport Supporting Paper – April 2016



The Principal Transport Network Within The Plan Area



[1] East Midlands Regional Aggregates Working Party Reports (2007-2013)

[2] East Midlands Regional Aggregates Working Party Report 2009

[3] East Midlands Regional Aggregates Working Party Report 2009