Apparently my hopes for a swift return to normality in the skies last month were futile. Several weeks after the Icelandic volcano first erupted, air travel is still being sporadically interrupted, and no doubt the postal service is likewise affected. I urge subscribers once again to make the most of your subscription, and download the issue online at worldcement.com if your copy has been waylaid.
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Of course, in times as interesting as these, a volcanic ash cloud is not going to top the news headlines for long. As I write, the UK is over a week into a new government – an unprecedented coalition of Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties united by a nation in a state of indecision. Conservative leader David Cameron is the new Prime Minister, after Labour PM Gordon Brown stepped down, with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as Cameron’s Deputy. The two men ‘faced off’ during the first ever televised debates in the run up to the election – emphasising their differences rather than their similarities – and now must pool their ideas and their resources to present a united front that suits both parties, both political agendas and the general public. Sounds like an impossible job, right? Well, rather them than me.
The UK’s Mineral Products Association, which represents the cement industry, was quick to put forward its Agenda to the new government, mentioning its top priorities as: economic conditions that support investments, increased government support for industry, a reasonable ‘licence to operate’, proportionate legislation and regulation, and recognition of progress. In a statement to the press, Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the MPA, said: “This is a positive agenda for the new Government and our industry. We are not presenting the new Government with a shopping list of demands, but setting out how we can contribute to improving our built environment and enhancing our natural environment. But to do this the relationship with the new Government is critical as is their response to a number of key issues. We are frustrated with the volume and quality of regulation; taxation and a planning system, which is not fit for purpose. The new Government and industry need to work together to improve these areas. We both have responsibilities to make things work better.”
Some of these responsibilities are discussed in this issue, which includes articles on quarry restoration (pages 60 – 70) from the UK and further afield, working in quarries, and health and safety. These features are included in recognition of the rescheduled Hillhead 2010, which was postponed last year but is back on later this month. Product news from just a few of the companies exhibiting at the event can be found on page 41. WORLD CEMENT’s sister magazine WORLD COAL will be exhibiting at the show, and will have plenty of copies of WORLD CEMENT to go around, so do stop by booth P26 to meet them if you're planning to attend.
Kicking off this month's issue, our Regional Report focuses on Turkey, an area where the industry has undergone intensive expansion and now faces massive overcapacity. A report from Paul Maxwell-Cook (page 23) provides insight into this rapidly developing country. The report also offers a glimpse of the kind of information subscribers are able to receive by downloading Paul’s monthly Regional Insight – more on this on page 9.