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Shattered Stone: An investigation into the sale of water-worn limestone in the UK

Limestone pavement is an attractive stone that has been used for building and landscaping for centuries. It comprises a rare and endangered habitat, the safeguarding of which is accorded priority status under the European Union Habitats Directive (1992) In the 1980s legal measures were put in place to protect this landscape in the UK. This led to an almost complete cessation of the quarrying of limestone pavement in the UK. However, the stone is still in demand as a rockery and landscaping material.

This market research was undertaken by the Countryside Agency (now known as Natural England), on behalf of the Limestone Pavement Biodiversity Habitat Action Plan steering group. Garden centres and stone merchants were surveyed to ascertain the extent of the sale of water-worn limestone in the UK including levels of consumer demand. The results indicate that there is a strong and increasing demand for limestone pavement in the UK.

Many of the retailers surveyed indicated that they bought their stone from UK quarries.  

Retailers generally had little knowledge of environmental issues surrounding the exploitation of limestone pavement. Those that were environmentally aware did not usually sell water-worn limestone on the basis of this information.

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The results indicate that supply has not been reduced through political pressure, and highlights the need to raise public awareness through increased publicity and campaigning to retailers and consumers alike. The issue of environmental damage to limestone pavement continues.



Shattered Stone can be downloaded here (pdf 3.5mb)


 

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