Welsh Environment Minister calls for reuse of slate waste

The Welsh Assembly Environment Minister has warned that Wales is wasting much of its slate resource by dumping six million tonnes of used slate every year, and is calling for greater reuse of the material.

According to the Minister, 700 million tonnes of slate waste has already been tipped in Gwynedd in North Wales, which could have been used as a source of secondary aggregate for the construction industry. Addressing representatives of local authorities, mineral and rail operators and engineering and environmental consultants at the Welsh Slate Museum, Llanberis, on 29 June, Environment Minister Sue Essex said a research project on the practical potential of the slate waste use has been undertaken on behalf of the Assembly by engineering and environmental consultants, ARUP.

“The extent of slate waste being generated and the huge quantities tipped over many years are major problems in North Wales, especially in Gwynedd, and are unsustainable,” said Essex. “Slate waste is a resource that could have a beneficial use – its use would help conserve primary aggregates resources, and the tips sterilise land that could be suitable for other uses.”

“This research will help to advise the way forward for the Assembly and other organisations with a view to resolving the problem if practicable,” said Essex. “However, the study is not a panacea and a number of organisations will need to take the initiative to lead to a solution that will rely on co-operation between organisations including the WDA, rail operators and slate operators. The Assembly will consider the conclusions in the report and any appropriate action that may be necessary.”

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