BLA highlights contribution of UK lime sector in challenging times

The newly-published 2020 British Lime Association (BLA) Sustainable Development Report has set out the sector’s performance during 2019 and emphasised the lime industry's important role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quarry Products / November 20, 2020
By Liam McLoughlin
 The BLA report says lime is vital to industries such as steel and plastics that produce goods to combat COVID-19
The BLA report says lime is vital to industries such as steel and plastics that produce goods to combat COVID-19

The BLA says 2020 has been a year of significant change, adding that it will not know the impact on the sector's performance until 2021 when data is available. BLA members continued operations during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, as lime is an essential product for the provision of safe drinking water and treatment of wastewater.

In addition, it is vital to several important manufacturing industries, including steel and plastics that are used to produce goods critical to combating COVID-19. Lime is also used to clean emissions from waste incinerators, energy from waste plants and other large combustion plants.

On 31 March 2020, the Mineral Products Association (of which the BLA is a part) welcomed the welcomed the statement from the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for BEIS (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), which acknowledged the essential contribution that the mineral products industry is making by supporting the construction industry and wider society during this pandemic – including the lime industry.

The UK lime sector maintained its sales performance during 2019 – around 1.2 million tonnes. Export performance was maintained at around 15% of sales, with an estimated value of £3m. However, the BLA says it can reasonably expect production to dip during 2020.

During 2019, BLA members continued to work collaboratively to achieve their Zero Harm target and maintain their UK-wide, European and International collaboration to share good practice. The number of incidents across all employees and contractors has reduced by 50% from 2011 levels. The BLA says that Health & Safety considerations have remained paramount throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and its members have taken particular effort to ensure that good Health & Safety practices are maintained in addition to the new hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection.

The report also highlights that the amount of CO2 produced from dolime combustion has reduced by 66kg/t since 2011, and the amount of industry waste going to landfill is 36% lower than 2011.

Export sales have increased by 12% since 2011 and 35% since 2006. Particulate, NOx and SO2 emissions in the lime sector are 4,310 tonnes fewer than 2011, and the sector is environmental incident free with no Category 1 or 2 incidents.

Rebecca Hooper, director of the BLA, commented on the sector's performance: “2019 showed ongoing, solid performance by the BLA members, and 2020 has shown that continued UK lime production is essential to support a healthy society. We are proud of our members for maintaining COVID-safe operations during 2020 and the contribution they have made to critical services during the pandemic. Without doubt, 2021 will bring new challenges as we transition away from the European Union, and make progress towards net zero carbon emissions.”