Debate has begun on the future of aggregate supply in Guernsey, with deputies being asked to support either the development of Chouet headland or importation.
Les Vardes quarry will run out of granite in the next seven years and Guernsey’s construction industry will require another source of supply. The question is: do we utilise granite reserves under Chouet by developing a new quarry, or import aggregate from off-island.
The Committee for Environment and Infrastructure, led by President Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, laid out the facts during yesterday’s states’ debate.
“The States does need to choose one of these two options; the alternative is that construction in the industry effectively stops."
Of the two options presented, her Committee, by majority, supports the Chouet development.
“The economic impact of continuing to quarry on island would be minimal; importing all our aggregate on the other hand would accrue additional costs,” she said.
Pictured: “Quarrying at Chouet will create more direct emissions; however, emissions overall will be greater with the importation option,” said de Sausmarez.
Deputy de Sausmarez’s speech was followed by an impassioned plea from her Vice-President, Deputy Sam Haskins, who asked the Assembly to consider the environmental impact of choosing Chouet over importation.
“Is concrete made with local aggregate and imported cement the future of island construction - are there other alternatives? Hemp, paper, fibre, waste plastic, post-consumer glass – so why are we not seriously looking into these examples instead of going for the same old granite,” he argued.
Instead of irreversibly changing the profile of the island by mining Chouet, Deputy Haskins suggested importation would suffice for now as the aggregate market begins to change.
“Recycling rates are growing which means less new aggregate is needed,” he said.
His extended speech was commended by other members of the Assembly, despite the majority voicing their favour towards Chouet as the preferential option.
“I’m not overly happy to knock out the profile of one of the most beautiful parts of the island,” said Deputy Neil Inder, “but [a difficult decision] is a reality of coming into this Assembly sometimes.”
“Why would I want to quarry somewhere else, damage their environment, then transport it via fossil fuels,” said Deputy Al Brouard, who said the immediate impacts need to be considered.
“It would be better for the environment if we used our own stone in our own place.”
Debate continues this morning.
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