Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 9000 - 9019)

  9000. LORD BERKELEY: What is your view?

   (Mr Cann) Can you just repeat the question, please!

  9001. CHAIRMAN: I do not want to stop you asking a question at all but just do not tell us what the answer is in your view.

  9002. LORD BERKELEY: The industry processes and whether the Committee, if they did ask for specified works to be included, whether that is contrary to industry process, or could it go alongside it?

   (Mr Cann) As I have tried to indicate, I am not an expert in this area but my view is that, no, we have to respect the industry processes, that has been our consistent argument all the way along. However, this is a special circumstance. Rather than this enhancement being dealt with through industry processes, that should be dealt with through the Houses of Parliament. You have other considerations to take into account, and that is my view on that.

  9003. LORD BERKELEY: Thank you very much. I have nothing else to ask.

  9004. CHAIRMAN: That was very much more satisfactory.

The witness withdrew

  9005. LORD BERKELEY: I would now like to call Jerry McLaughlin of the Quarry Products Association.


  9006. LORD BERKELEY: Mr McLaughlin, can you explain who you represent and how long you have been in the industry?

   (Mr McLaughlin) My name is Jerry McLaughlin and I am Director of Economics at the Quarry Products Association. I have worked in the sector for 22 years. The Quarry Products Association represents the aggregates business, which covers supplies of crushed rocks, sand and gravel, recycled materials and value-added products, such as asphalt, concrete and lime into the construction sector. The Association represents about 90 per cent of the industry by volume and all of the business is involved in rail freight.

  9007. Thank you. Slide 17, can you explain what it all means and how aggregates and other building materials get to London, and by what means?[27]

  (Mr McLaughlin) The map you see has a number of green circles which are the receiving depots for aggregates in London and the south-east. The blue squares are the originating sources, the quarries; and in particular down in the bottom lefthand corner there are quarries in Somerset, which are highly significant in terms of supplying limestone into London; and, at the top of the map, there are quarries in Leicestershire which supply igneous rock, such as granite, into London. The key route is via Somerset, and about five million tonnes a year of limestone comes into London.

  9008. The next slide, number 18, gives it in more detail.[28] Could you explain that, please?

  (Mr McLaughlin) You can see on the lefthand side the red line is the Crossrail or Great Western line coming into London. There is a series of depots which are adjacent to the line. There is a series of other depots to the north-east and south of London. What happens operationally is large trains come into London as far as Acton and then they split up into smaller trains and deliver to the depots via complex rail routes on the map. The point here is, the basic need for this is one of geology. There is not a great deal of rock in the south or east of England, so in order to get the rock into London a long-distance delivery is required; so an infrastructure of depots has arisen. These depots will often have the value-added operation such as asphalt, concrete plants, recycling businesses, so they form fairly strategic sources of supply for construction in London.

  9009. It is a bit like a London Underground map for aggregates, is it not? The next slide, number 19, could you explain that, the breakdown of materials?[29]

  (Mr McLaughlin) In simple terms, the London market for aggregates is round about 15 million tonnes, that is a 2005 figure from Government research. There are four sources of supply: sand and gravel from effectively the Home Counties; sand and gravel subject to marine dredging; crushed rock; and recycled materials. In terms of the balance of supply, the sand and gravel and the crushed rock are subject to constraints relating to planning permissions and availability of land; marine gravel is subject to licensing conditions relating to underwater extraction; and recycling is subject to the availability of supply. We are pretty close to the limit of recycling supply, which is mainly construction and demolition waste in London. As a country we do about three times more recycling than anywhere else in Europe.

  9010. Could we look at slide 20 for growth.[30]

  (Mr McLaughlin) This is a projection which is currently part of a consultation from the Department of Communities and Local Government which breaks down potential aggregate demand in the future by different government regions. This is the London region and it shows a trend growth of supply which would equate to a straight line of growth of, say, between one and two per cent per annum. If we assume that the share of the different aggregate sources into London remains the same, then that would indicate an increase in demand which is consistent with the assumptions for market demand that are set out in the forecasting work that has gone through the timetabling process for Crossrail. If there are particular constraints relating to the supply of sand and gravel and recycled materials then the balance would be achieved ideally by increasing the supply of crushed rock. That is the kind of balancing act which depends on the various constraints acting on each of the supply elements.

  9011. Finally, if the Great Western was not able to carry the aggregates traffic which is forecast, how many extra trucks would they require to haul it on which road?

   (Mr McLaughlin) It would be about a thousand extra lorries travelling along the M4 every day.

  9012. LORD BERKELEY: That is all I have in examination. Thank you very much.

Cross-examined by MR ELVIN

  9013. MR ELVIN: Mr McLaughlin, tempting as it is to ask about the number of lorries on the M4, I think I will avoid that. I want to ask a couple of very brief questions. I do not understand that your body was specifically represented before the ORR at the hearing on 1 February?

   (Mr McLaughlin) No, we made written representations. We did not appear in person.

  9014. You did not take the opportunity to make any further written representations after the provisional decision was issued?

   (Mr McLaughlin) No, we did not. Our position was similar to that of the Rail Freight Group.

  9015. In other words, you were broadly content with it?

   (Mr McLaughlin) We were broadly content. We just have residual concerns, shall I say, particularly along the western routes into London about the infrastructure provision.

  9016. To cut a long story short, can I take it that your position is equivalent to the Rail Freight Group, and I have already asked them questions on those issues?

   (Mr McLaughlin) Yes, I am happy to confirm that.

  9017. MR ELVIN: Very well, thank you very much. That keeps matters very short.

  9018. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr McLaughlin.

The witness withdrew

  9019. LORD BERKELEY: My next witness is Lindsay Durham of Freightliner.


27   Committee Ref: A52, Crossrail route and aggregate depots/railheads (LINEWD-34_05-018) Back

28   Committee Ref: A52, Crossrail route and aggregate depots/railheads (LINEWD-34_05-019) Back

29   Committee Ref: A52, The London Aggregates Market (LINEWD-34_05-020) Back

30   Committee Ref: A52, Aggregates Demand in London 2005-2015 (Source: CLG consultation-April 2007) (LINEWD-34_05-021) Back

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