News

News

4 Jan 2022

Chief Executive's New Year Message


A Word from the Chief Executive

2022 is now well underway and shaping up to be one of our busiest years yet.

Last year was a challenging time for many in the natural stone industry but following conversations with our members, it is clear that the sector is entering the New Year with an undiminished commitment to excellence, growth and collaboration.

We are already off to a strong start in 2022 with an exciting collaboration with leading architects Squire & Partners at the Surface Design Show.  This initiative highlights the breadth of choice in both colour and texture that natural stone offers the specifier and showcases the sustainability benefits of using natural stone, and in particular British and European materials.

Perhaps the highlight of this year will be saved right until the end.  In December we will be hosting the 21st Natural Stone Awards ceremony at London’s Leonardo Royal Hotel, London Bridge.  Entry is now open, and I would encourage the whole industry to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your work.  We will also be introducing some exciting new categories so keep your eyes peeled for more announcements in the coming months.

The Responsible Sourcing Pledge also promises to be a highlight of the next twelve months, following its launch last year.  The pledge dovetails with the Ethical Stone Register which continues to go from strength to strength.  This unique resource enables natural stone firms, whatever their size, to offer a responsible and manageable ethical sourcing solution to their clients.  We have already seen an encouraging level of support and engagement from leading main contractors, clients, architects and industry bodies and we look forward to seeing how the scheme develops and gathers momentum this year.

Our various sector committees and focus groups continue to be the beating heart of the Federation and 2022 will see each of these groups launching an exciting new event or initiative so I would encourage all members to be a part of them.

This is just a brief snapshot of the wide range of opportunities we have in store for 2022. 

There has never been a better time to be a part of Stone Federation as we continue to grow our sector-specific committees and forums and add even greater value for our members.

 

Jane Buxey

Chief Executive, Stone Federation Great Britain

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.

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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.