22 Mar 2012

The Natural Stone Sustainability Awards 2012 – Winners announced

Stone Federation Great Britain has announced the latest winners of their Natural Stone Sustainability Awards.


The awards were created to highlight the sustainable qualities of natural stone and to recognise and reward outstanding achievement, awareness and innovation in sustainability within the industry. It is the third year they have been held.

A project designed to generate its own electricity has seen Dorset company Lovell Purbeck win one of the awards. There were also awards for Guernsey’s Granite Le Pelley for their work in refurbishing and extending a hotel on the Isle of Sark, and for Hardscape from Bolton for a project in Nelson town centre.

Winners were announced, and awards presented, at the Natural Stone Awards Sustainability Day at EcoBuild at ExCel in London on March 22.

Chairing the judging panel was Ingval Maxwell OBE, who qualified as an architect in 1969 and then spent his entire professional career dealing with the conservation of ancient monuments and historic buildings until his retirement from Historic Scotland in 2008.

Also judging were David Richardson, Director of the Building Research Establishment’s Building Technology Group and John Bysouth, recipient of the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Stonemasonry.

The Awards were organised by Stone Federation Great Britain with sponsorship from BRE and EcoBuild.

 The award in the category for “Workshops and Premises” went to Lovell Purbeck, which in the last year has been investing heavily in generating its own electricity at Downs Quarry in Purbeck and Bowdens Quarry in Somerset

A photo voltaic generation system has been installed on the roof of the company’s new tile processing factory at Downs Quarry and is able to generate 20 per cent of the company’s total electricity requirements for the processing facility.

When processing is not taking place surplus electricity is fed back to the national grid.

A similar, but slightly smaller, system at its Bowdens Quarry produces enough electricity to run all of the processing equipment, making the site self sufficient in electricity.

Lovell Purbeck has invested over £230,000 in the schemes and expects payback in less than ten years.

Managing Director Simon Hart said “Of course it is really good news to have won this award. Sustainability is a key issue throughout our company. It is always very high on the agenda, as it should be.

”We have been making substantial investments and it makes sense that these should be environmentally friendly.”

An award for “landscaping” went to Hardscape for a project in Nelson, Lancashire.

Following a decline in retail trade Pendle Borough Council was granted funding of £2.3 million to recreate “The High Street” in an attempt to regenerate the town centre. This included reintroducing slow moving traffic to a previously pedestrianised precinct.

But following changes in funding the council was asked to cut the cost of the scheme by £200,000 and complete the programme in twelve months instead of the planned fifteen. This was achieved through strong project management skills.

A mixture of high quality locally sourced natural stone and manmade materials have produced a visually pleasing but robust scheme.

Stone paving flags to the pedestrian movement zones, stone setts to crossing points and hot rolled asphalt coloured buff has provided durability to the vehicle route.

Anthony Collins, North West sales manager for Hardscape said "together with Pendle Borough Council we are delighted the project received the award.

From providing locally sourced materials where possible to being leading members of the Ethical Trading Institute, Hardscape continues to ensure sustainable inspiration, selection and supply of hard landscaping materials to clients across the UK. “

The award for “Re-use of materials” went to Granite Le Pelley for a project at La Moinerie Hotel on Sark. This utilised material from derelict 18th century granite farm buildings surrounding the hotel.

The owners wanted to sensitively renew and refurbish the existing hotel and add new bedrooms and a restaurant. A very traditional cottage style was adopted to remain in keeping with the existing buildings.

The method of construction was designed to suit the skills of labour available on the island and in order to support the island’s economy a local building contractor was appointed to oversee the works.

The re-use of materials included reclaimed random granite walling from derelict buildings and reclaimed granite setts and cubes obtained from Brittany. The latter became available as existing cobbled streets were dug up and replaced with modern materials.

Other sustainable features included a central oil fired boiler with insulated pipe work, a water management infrastructure and additional boreholes to provide a water supply.

Roof rainwater is collected and used on the nearby market garden which supplies the hotel with organic fresh vegetables.

Granite Le Pelley managing director Phil Le Roy said ““I am absolutely delighted with this prestigious award. I have worked with our clients, Sark Estate Management, for well over two years and I know that they will also be delighted.

“As well as building and refurbishing as sustainably as possible, our clients have a vision to grow, rear and catch from the sea as much of the produce they require as possible. With their extensive vineyards, market gardens, greenhouses and supplies from local farmers and fishermen, they are very much on their way.”

Jane Buxey, Chief Executive of Stone Federation Great Britain said “In this modern world sustainably has become an increasingly important issue and it is right that we acknowledge those members of the natural stone industry who incorporate it as a key consideration when undertaking projects.”


Members' News

Stone Federation would like to congratulate former Stone Federation President, Peter Harrison for being the recipient of the stone industry's highest award, the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal.

Peter was presented with his medal by the Duke of Gloucester himself at Worshipful Company of Masons' Master's Banquet in London's Mansion House.

The Medal, which was introduced in 2010, is awarded every two years, to honour an individual in the craft of stonemasonry or the natural stone industry whose work is of considerable merit and who is acknowledged by his or her peers for the excellence of their contribution.

The idea for recognition for those in stonemasonry was originally mooted in the 1980s when it was noted that stonemasonry did not have any kind of recognition or a supreme accolade.


His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who trained as an architect and has an affinity for stonemasonry, also felt that some form of recognition should be created and was instrumental in developing the concept of a recognition for stonemasonry befitting the millennia-old craft.

Stone Federation are a member of EuroRoc, an organisation made up of the various European Federations for the dimensional stone industry.  The aim of the group is to coordinate questions of common interest and find solutions while promoting the use of dimensional natural stone.


The Federation's EuroRoc representative, Michael Poultney of Albion Stone along with Peter Harrison of Harrison Goldman, attended the latest meeting held at the Verona Stone Show in October.


There were a range of topics discussed, but shown are four discussions points that will be of particular interest to members.


1. Ethical Sourcing - There are various different degrees of controls of ethical sourcing across Europe and some is at a very local level.  It was accepted that the EU should be encouraging stones from ethical sources but there was some scepticism that a system with a high degree of certainty could be found in the short term.  It was agreed that the starting point should be to pool all the experiences from the differing methods currently being used by different, Countries, companies and organisations.

2. Geographical Protection - There was considerable support from across the EU and the robust comments from the UK were considered positive.  It is back with the European Parliament on what could be a long journey to possible implementation.  

3. Reporting Figures - There was concerns that the code numbers used for reporting production, imports and exports are not recording the dimensional stone figure accurately.  It was suggested that these should be related to the harmonised Product Standards (BS EN). Michael Poultney has been in dialogue with BGS and Eric Bignell at the Natural Stone Specialist magazine about the topic earlier in the month. Euroroc will progress the matter with the relevant authorities.

4. Silica Dust - There was a mixed response about the danger of the implementation of the dust regulations and the prospects of reducing the code.  It was agreed that the experiences from the implementation from national authorities will be requested.


With the island of Portland, from which the famous Portland limestone comes, being just off the Dorset coast from Weymouth, there could not have been a more appropriate material to use for a sculpture of the Olympic rings that has now been installed in the town that is hosting the Olympic sailing events. 

Burlington Stone has acquired the rights to quarry at Petts Quarry on Kirkstone Pass and Brathay Quarry near Ambleside following the regrettable demise of Kirkstone Quarries Ltd.

This new monument, costing £5 million, will commemorate the 55, 573 crew members of the RAF's Bobmer Command who were killed between 1939 and 1945.  The average age of those who lost their lives was just 22.

Albion Stone has recently purchased a new ‘JCB Fantini’, tractor mounted stone saw which will be used to increase efficiency in the Quarry & Mine.  This is the first machine of its type to be imported into any UK stone extraction operation. 


TV presenter, journalist and former conservative politician and Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo made a fascinating tour of local natural stone producer, Burlington Stone of Kirkby-in-Furness, shown on 26th January on BBC2 at 6.30pm, as part of series three of the BBC’s popular travel documentary, Great British Railway Journeys.


A £500,000 investment into an innovative new roof for Albion Stone’s Factory is set to save thousands of pounds a year on their electricity bills.

Albion Stone supplied over 3m³ of Jordans Basebed and Jordans Whitbed in the form of treads risers, paving and memorial stones.

Taking centre stage on The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want! at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May the company utilised its own indigenous natural Yorkstone block to create two striking central features in this amazing organic playground.