Covid-19 Update

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, the Raymond Brown Group’s priority is to ensure we keep our employees, customers and community safe as we make plans to remain as resilient as possible.

In response to official guidance from the UK Government, we have modified and adapted our working practices. Our office staff are now working from home and we have communication and technology systems in place to ensure we can continue working as normal.

The government has acknowledged the importance of the waste and recycling industry by classifying  waste operatives as key workers and our IBA processing facilities remain open under much heightened preventative measures to ensure our customers’ operations can continue. Going forwards we aim to be as flexible as possible towards our activities and are putting preparations in place should we need them.

Our quarries remain open to support our customers while they are still working but we are keeping this under constant review. The quarries are operating with new procedures and are following the guidance of the Government’s Construction Leadership Council.

The business is adapting to the fast changing environment as we continue to closely monitor and respond to the UK Government’s advice on the coronavirus.

We can be contacted on our usual office numbers, mobiles and email, which can be found on our website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

On a personal note to you and your families, please take care and stay safe.

James Cunningham
Chairman

Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd have joined the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Raymond Brown Quarry Products is dedicated to the protection of the natural environment and improvement of biodiversity through quarrying operations.  Through this partnership, the business will be working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to introduce nectar-rich plants to its quarries and restoration sites.

“Having become aware of the collapsing bumblebee populations following a talk by one of our colleagues, our Environmental Committee became concerned and wanted to learn more” commented Nick Hardacre, Technical and Environmental Manager.  “When it then became clear that both Brickworth Quarry and Binnegar Quarry overlapped with a range of some endangered species of bees, we simply had to act.  We joined the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to benefit from their expertise and learn about constructing habitats and integrating pollinator friendly flowers where possible.  We hope to do all we can to create a haven for bees across our sites and aid in the bees recovery across the country.”

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a national conservation charity, established in 2006 by two academics whose research had uncovered serious concerns about bumblebee sustainability and survival.  In the last 80 years, bumblebee populations have been decimated and two native species have become extinct, with a further eight of our 24 species are endangered.  The Trust has a vision to create a world where bumblebees are thriving and valued.

The Trust bases its policies and practical conservation work through constant evaluation of scientific research and best practice, their current activities have included creating and restoring wildflower habitats in the areas where rare bumblebees need it most, landscape-scale conservation projects around the UK and giving land managers, farmers and local communities practical advice on enhancing biodiversity for the benefit of bumblebees and other wild pollinators.

“Minerals sites offer excellent opportunities to provide habitat and forage for many of the twenty four species of bumblebee in the UK”  says Tessa Brooks of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  “Bumblebees are hard-working and versatile pollinators of many food crops and wildflower species but have been declining due to the widespread loss of wildflower grasslands and changes in agricultural practices.  In the last 80 years our bumblebee populations have crashed; two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically.  So we are thrilled with the enthusiasm and commitment of Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd to their restoration and land management activities to increase biodiversity and wildlife, and through their Membership, providing funds to support the Trust’s conservation and educational activities.”

Congratulations to five employees who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate our Core Values this year

Passion, Responsibility and Engagement are the fundamental beliefs of our organisation and should form the foundations of how we perform and conduct ourselves at all times.

Once again, we have this year recognised key individuals from different parts of the business who have gone above and beyond in their different job roles to demonstrate our core values.

Luke Quinn, Site Manager, Julie Clarke, Receptionist, Marcus Bishop, 360 Driver, Nick Hardacre, Technical and Environmental Manager, and Dan Kellaway, Assistant Quarry Manager, have each been presented with an individual award and John Lewis voucher by the directors for their outstanding work and contribution to the business over the last year.

This year, there were two very strong contenders for our Passion Core Value Award, so the directors made the decision to recognise two winners.

Passion – Julie Clarke, Receptionist

Julie Clarke has worked for the business for over four years, she ensures the reception is manned professionally, that the office (and staff!) are kept in order and also provides support to various different departments.

Julie has been described as a ray of sunshine, she is always cheerful and has constantly got a smile on her face.  She is always the first person to offer help, nothing is too much trouble and her bubbly personality ensures good communication with both staff and customers.

Passion – Marcus Bishop, 360 Driver

Marcus Bishop started at the Ardley IBA Processing Facility as an FEL Operator three years ago and has progressed to 360 Driver.  He is also Ardley’s Health and Safety Representative and first aider.

Marcus has been described as someone who is focussed on continual improvement, actively coming up with solutions to issues on site and willing to go that extra mile to achieve them.

Responsibility – Dan Kellaway, Assistant Quarry Manager (Binnegar Quarry)

Dan has been with the business for almost three years and was promoted to the position of Assistant Quarry Manager this year.

Dan has been praised for dealing with any situation in a responsible and professional manner and is described as an excellent communicator.  He is passionate about the environment and our responsibilities as a quarry operator.  Dan also sits on the Raymond Brown Environmental Committee.

Engagement – Nick Hardacre, Technical & Environmental Manager

Congratulations to Nick Hardacre, Technical and Environmental Manager, on winning the Engagement Award.  Nick has worked for the business for over two years and had previously undertaken a summer placement with the business.

Nick’s enthusiasm has been recognised across the business and he is described as being both engaging and passionate.  He is enthusiastic, works hard and actively looks into new initiatives to come up with valuable suggestions, with particular focus on the environment and biodiversity.

Overall Winner – Luke Quinn, Site Manager (Rookery Farm)

Congratulations to Luke Quinn, Site Manager at Rookery Farm, on winning the Raymond Brown Core Values Overall Award for 2019, having demonstrated real passion, responsibility and engagement in his role over the last year.

Luke joined the business seven years ago as Plant Operator and has progressed during his time at Rookery Farm, having this year been promoted to Site Manager, where he has seamlessly taken over the running of the site.

Luke has continually demonstrated all three core values in his role and is described as enthusiastic in everything he does.  He is an exemplary Site Manager, with a wealth of knowledge he shares with those around him.  He uses his own personal and professional achievements to encourage and advise others.

Raymond Brown Community Matters Initiative wins Institute of Quarrying South of England Best Community Engagement Project

Engagement, influence and impact reflects how we interact with our colleagues across the industry and with the communities we live and operate in.  The Institute of Quarrying Awards showcase great examples of teams working together to demonstrate the value of the quarrying industry to a wider audience.

The Best Community Engagement Project Award is designed to recognise projects where sites are actively engaging their local communities and achieving positive results.

In judging this award, the Institute of Quarrying were looking to understand the relationship Raymond Brown has with the local community, who our local community is, what their key concerns are and how the initiative addresses these issues.

Our Raymond Brown Community Matters Initiative encompasses our commitment to maintaining good relationships with the communities in which we work.  We open our doors to local neighbours to give them the opportunity to view our wide range of operations and facilities, whilst providing learning opportunities such as the lorry design competition.

The judges commented “This was an excellent project that could be used as a template for how the industry can reach into its communities, providing education about what we do and why it is important.  It showcases a great example of engaging schoolchildren through its lorry design competition, but the initiative reaches out into the wider community with great effectiveness.

All award winners from each of the regional events will automatically be submitted for the National Awards which will take place during Hillhead 2020.

Binnegar Quarry commended for MPA’s Quarries and Nature 2019 Cooper-Heyman Cup for Outstanding Restoration

Representatives from Raymond Brown Quarry Products attended the Mineral Products Association (MPA)’s ‘Quarries & Nature 2019’ Event and Restoration & Biodiversity Awards, presented by BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today presenter, Sybil Ruscoe, on Wednesday 23rd October at The Royal Society, London.

The Mineral Products industry is uniquely placed to deliver biodiversity net gain, with a track record of leaving wildlife in a better state than before development and the event attracted a capacity audience of over 70 leading environmental and conservation organisations and industry operators to celebrate the industry’s continuing contribution to nature conservation.  It also explored how the industry can do even more to deliver net gain and showcased some of the best examples of quarry restoration and wildlife conservation anywhere in Europe.

Best practice was shared through the MPA Restoration Awards, now in their 49th year, and the MPA Biodiversity Awards in association with Natural England, and were presented by Dr Tony Juniper CBE, Chair Natural England, Dr Carol Williams, Director of Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Simon Marsh MBE, Head of Nature Protection at RSPB and Dr Nick White Principal Advisor, Net Gain, Natural England.

Raymond Brown Quarry Products’ Binnegar Quarry in Wareham was commended for the Cooper-Heyman Cup for outstanding restoration this year, a film showcasing all the fantastic entrants can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D03xA4SQKvY

Rob Westell, Estates and Planning Director commented: ‘The work to restore part of Binnegar Quarry to a rich mosaic of heathland, interspersed with permanent and ephemeral ponds and scrapes has provided a home for many rare and protected species.  Back in 2016, we translocated a protected species of plant, pennyroyal (part of the mint family) from a working phase to this area and it is now thriving.  Work is ongoing to nurture the pennyroyal and various species of heather which will eventually be an extension to the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

MPA’s Chief Executive, Nigel Jackson said: “By creating new habitats during quarry restoration, mineral products companies are uniquely placed to increase biodiversity and this year’s submissions and winners of our prestigious awards once again enrich and extend the legacy the industry has built over the decades.  The mineral products industry is a pioneer in the field of nature conservation and is unrivalled by any other UK industry. Our achievements are not fully recognised by Government who consistently fail to appreciate how this industry can help them convert their aspirations for the natural environment into leadership and action on the ground. I hope that this year’s Quarries & Nature event triggers wider recognition and a new conversation with Defra in particular. We are very much part of the solution to the UK’s biodiversity challenges and are ready to play an even bigger role working with key stakeholders to protect and enhance UK biodiversity.”

Raymond Brown handed RoSPA President’s (10 Consecutive Golds) Award for Health and Safety Practices

Raymond Brown has been handed a prestigious award in recognition of its practices and achievements in helping our staff and subcontractors get home safely at the end of the working day.

Raymond Brown has achieved a President’s (10 consecutive Golds) in the internationally-renowned RoSPA Health and Safety Awards, the longest-running industry awards scheme in the UK.

The RoSPA Awards scheme, which receives entries from organisations around the world, recognises achievement in health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of qualifications, awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards have become the key fixture in the health and safety calendar with new sponsors and new awards this year including the Leisure Safety Awards, the Safe@Work Safe@Home Award and the Inspiration Awards. Highly-respected, with almost 2,000 entrants every year, RoSPA award winners benefit from the wide-ranging rewards of improved sector reputation.”

The majority of awards are non-competitive and mark achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. Gold medals, president’s awards, orders of distinction and the Patron’s Award are presented to organisations sustaining the high standards of the gold level over consecutive years.

Investment into Binnegar Quarry leads to improved quality of product

Binnegar Quarry, near Wareham, Dorset, has seen a £1.6m investment into the site’s processing plant and infrastructure.  Earlier this year, Dorset County Council resolved to grant planning permission to erect a new wash plant, weighbridge and improved general infrastructure to the southern side of Puddletown Road.

The area north of Puddletown Road, which Raymond Brown has operated since 2006, has now been vacated and the plant decommissioned, with the remaining area levelled out for restoration.  This original wash plant (c. 1980) was at the end of its useful life and did not have the dry scalping capability to remove +60mm.

Raymond Brown moved to the south side of Puddletown Road during 2016 and investment was made to install a new wash plant within the current extraction area.  Originally, three articulated dump trucks were hauling mineral approx 1.3km to the northern site for processing. Now, on the southern side, only one dump truck is required.  This has a considerable financial saving for the company and significant environmental savings.

The new wash plant has a dry scalping screen installed along with a lignite separator.  The screen permits the dry removal of +60mm waste (clays, stones, etc.), making it easy to handle.  The lignite separator removes a high percentage of lignite from the coarse sand, allowing a greater end use by customers.

An area formerly used for sand extraction has also been fully lined with clay to provide a new silt management area, which will accommodate silt arisings for the remaining life of the quarry.

The new weighbridge building has built-in air conditioning units and is completely sealed, allowing the operator a dust free environment.  The weighbridge also features two external displays, automatic number plate recognition, CCTV and an intercom system permitting the driver to stay in the cab whilst communicating with the weighbridge operator.  This saves time and is much safer as it reduces the need for customers to get out of their vehicles.

Civil engineering work took place over the summer of 2018 and the plant is now fully operational and already showing an improved rate of production and quality of product.

Raymond Brown are delighted to welcome Don Coates to the business as Chief Executive Officer

Raymond Brown are delighted to announce Don Coates as the group’s new Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment is a key part of Raymond Brown’s future growth strategy, which will see Don steering the business through its growth and expansion plans.

Don commented: “Raymond Brown is a well-respected business and I am excited to be joining at a key time in the Group’s development when there are many great prospects.  I will ensure that we remain committed to our employees, customers, local communities, health and safety and improving the environment, which underpins our core values.  I look forward to supporting the senior team in leading the group through this next phase.”

Don has 30 years’ experience in manufacturing, working across a variety of sectors, and has led several businesses as CEO in both private and public company environments, including 17 years with DS Smith Plc, where his responsibilities included running the UK’s largest waste paper recycler.

Don will be working closely with Chief Operating Officer, Steve Clasby, Chief Financial Officer, Wayne Roberts, and the management team.

Steve Clasby commented: “On behalf of the Raymond Brown team, I would like to welcome Don, who we are thrilled to have on board.  I very much look forward to working with Don to make the most of the opportunities ahead as we continue our success into the future.”

Secret Auxiliary Units Bunker excavated at Binnegar Quarry

An archaeological assessment has revealed how Binnegar Quarry near Wareham was the site of an underground hideout for the secret Auxiliary Units, Britain’s wartime resistance in waiting.  Andrew Joseph Associates Archaeology Services, working under contract to Raymond Brown, recognised the significance of the site as unusual, on a quarry site that also contained Bronze Age barrows and Battery Bank, a boundary marker and scheduled ancient monument.  Experts were called in to assess the site from Historic England, the County Archaeologist and specialist Auxiliary Units research group, Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART).

The Auxiliary Units were set up in 1940 in case of a Nazi invasion. Their role was to hide underground while the first wave of an invasion passed by and then emerge to sabotage supplies, transport and communications to hamper the German forces and allow a counter attack.  Made up of six to seven men in a patrol, drawn from local civilians, they were taught demolition and issued large quantities of explosives and weapons.  Each patrol had an underground hideout where they could rest and store their supplies.  It would be carefully disguised against discovery.  The men were told their life expectancy after invasion was just a couple of weeks.

The expert review revealed that the bunker was partially collapsed and heavily damaged.  As it was not in a fit state for preservation, it was agreed that it would be fully recorded by archaeological investigation prior to its deconstruction. This was done in stages over 18 months from 2017 and 2018.  CART volunteers lead the project with specialist archaeological support from Ian Meadows from Andrew Josephs Associates and the New Forest National Parks Community Archaeology Service.  Raymond Brown provided plant to assist the excavation and transport to the remote site and local residents were kept updated throughout by Councillor Barry Quinn who attended regularly to review its progress.

Very few such underground bunkers have been excavated in this way. The dig found a sturdy Nissen hut-like main chamber with an entrance shaft at one end and a short tunnel and escape exit at the other.  It revealed that it had been intentionally collapsed in the 1970s, with the centre of the roof removed and the interior filled with sand, however, some elements of its wartime use remained.  At the base of the shafts were found remains of the hatch mechanisms including a heavy concrete counter weight.  These were used to vertically lift a heavy soil covered hatch that disguised the shaft.  The dig revealed an extensive ventilation system, made from over one hundred four inch glazed earthenware pipes brought in from the Midlands.  This relied on warm air rising through pipes set in the roof which drew in fresh air through other pipes running to the bottom of the bunker.  In the base of the tunnel were found numerous inert trap switches. These had been deliberately deactivated by whoever had discarded them, the empty boxes they came in being found nearby.  Other similar devices had been found as part of an extensive metal detector survey of the surrounding area indicating that the men had been training nearby.  This survey also found a metal first aid splint and a .50 calibre bullet, evidence of the US Army who were briefly based in nearby Binnegar Hall prior to D Day.  Other finds included discarded tin cans from a meal eaten by the men who built the bunker, found in backfill outside the bunker walls.

A full report will be lodged with the County Archaeologist in due course and it is hoped to stage an exhibition of the findings in the local area next year.  Raymond Brown have donated the finds to CART to be exhibited as part of their public displays explaining the history of Auxiliary Units.  It is planned to erect a pair of memorial benches constructed from blocks salvaged from the bunker, to remember the men who received no recognition at the end of the war, due to the secrecy of the organisation.

Raymond Brown picks up prestigious RoSPA Gold Medal for 2017