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

Nature After Minerals Event at Binnegar Quarry

As part of a Nature After Minerals (NAM) event looking at invertebrate and early pioneer species conservation through biodiversity-led minerals restoration, Raymond Brown recently welcomed a group of minerals restoration stakeholders to Binnegar Quarry, in Dorset.

The morning session of the event considered how, in working to create priority habitats to link up with local fragmented habitats on a landscape scale, early to mid-term succession habitat evolution can also help support important pioneer species that are vital for a healthy ecosystem.

In the afternoon, event attendees from the minerals industry, local authorities, statutory bodies, minerals planners and ecological and planning consultants took part in a site visit to the quarry, where Raymond Brown employees and ecological consultants were on hand to showcase the work being undertaken on the site’s 8ha Blue Area.

This area, which is being restored with nature firmly in mind, is helping provide a refuge for invertebrates and pioneer species in the early stages of its restoration to heathland, interspersed with ephemeral ponds and bare scrapes.

Rob Westell, Raymond Brown’s Estates and Planning Director, commented: ‘We were delighted to host our second NAM event at Binnegar Quarry, to demonstrate the restoration of the site.

‘Lowland heathland is a top priority habitat in Dorset, and the site, which contains some heathland, adjoins a heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), benefiting priority butterfly, reptile and bird species, and facilitating their colonization.’

NAM’s events and communications officer, Debra Royal, said: ‘At a time when research shows nature is in trouble and many species are in rapid decline, biodiversity-led minerals restoration can help. We were delighted to have an opportunity to visit Binnegar Quarry to view yet another instance of minerals restoration work helping nature on the ground.’