Tata Steel, Shapfell Quarry Restoration
- Case Study Name:
- Tata Steel
- Steel Industry
At Shapfell, stone products not required for the lime manufacturing process are returned to the quarry and utilised to restore the site by landscaping the quarry void. This stone was then covered in soils stripped from new production areas of the site before being seeded and returned to agriculture.
As the County Council’s ecologist did not wish to see non-site-native soils imported, which would have been the obvious solution, an alternative method was discussed with Shapfell’s waste contractor. They proposed a scheme to produce a growing medium on these bare areas by incorporating sewage cake and paper waste into the stone. As the producers of this waste pay for its removal, there was no cost to Shapfell for any of this work. The contractor gained the exemption required from the EPR Regulations from the EA, and provided all materials, transport, and plant and site supervision free of charge. Natural England and the County Council’s Mineral Planners also approved the method. The work was carried out in early 2010 by Digit Site Services, with 7,600 tonnes of sewage cake and paper waste being incorporated into the top 500mm of the 4-hectare site. The work was audited satisfactorily by the EA who were interested in the project as the local officers were aware of the process being used for agricultural improvement but not for restoration work of this type. The area was then seeded with 11 different types of grasses, clover and wild flowers.
No further aftercare work has been required since the seeding, and the area has successfully been transformed into an upland meadow. Land management advice was sought from Friends of the Lake District during the project who have described the results as “stunning”. This method would be suitable for the restoration of sites with a variety of ground conditions with poor or non-existent soils.