Minister for energy efficiency, Lord Callanan recently visited a cement plant in Warwickshire to gain an insight into what needs doing to decarbonise the UK’s ‘dispersed’ facilities for making the material.
The minister was joined by his team from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ), as well as Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby & Bulkington, and a member of the influential House of Commons DESNZ Select Committee.
Rugby Cement Plant os operated by building materials supplier, Cemex. The company hosted the visit to highlight the challenges and opportunities for decarbonising such dispersed plants, which are located too far from other large production plants to be included in one of the UK’s net zero industrial clusters.
Being part of an industrial cluster allows plant operators to work together, pool resources and pitch for the available government funding to support decarbonisation. Yet only half of the UK’s 10 cement plants are currently part of a cluster and some, like Rugby, are too isolated from other industry to be part of a cluster.
Decarbonisation at dispersed plants is just as vital as those within clusters, if the West Midlands, and the UK more widely, is to meet its net zero ambitions.
Lord Callanan said: “We have a strong cement industry here in the UK which is vital to our infrastructure, housing and urban regeneration.
“The government has recently published its blueprint for a carbon capture industry, to assist important sectors such as cement manufacturing to reach net zero while supporting our construction needs.
“It was excellent to hear from leaders here in Rugby, a cement heartland in its own right, about the impact of this work, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue with UK cement producers.”
Martin Casey, Cemex’s director of public affairs, communications and social impact, said: “We were proud to welcome Lord Callanan to our Rugby Cement Plant, which plays a vital role in both the local economy and the wider national construction industry.
“Cement is a vital component in infrastructure such as hospitals, bridges, schools and houses so we must work together with government to ensure that it can continue to be produced into the long term, while ensuring the West Midlands and UK meets its net zero targets.”
Cemex’s Rugby Cement Plant has pioneered the use of alternative fuels, including a multi-million-pound investment in 2022 to eliminate fossil fuel use in favour of waste derived alternatives; a key part of the firm’s global efforts to decarbonise its operations and achieve net-zero CO2 cement and concrete by 2050.
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