Construction raw materials policy and supply practices in Northwestern Europe


M.J. van der Meulen1,2, T.P.F. Koopmans1 & H.S. Pietersen1,3

1Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, P.O. Box 5044, NL-2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

2Currently at: TNO Built Environment and Geosciences Geological Survey of the Netherlands, PO Box 80015, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands

3Delft Technical University, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, P.O. Box 5048, NL-2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands



The present contribution is an inventory of the construction raw materials policy and supply practices in the Netherlands, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Great Britain, Norway and Denmark. The work has been commissioned by the Dutch government in order to benchmark its domestic provision and the governing mineral planning policy.

About 666 Mt of aggregates, 79 Mt of limestone, 32 Mt of clay and 13 Mt of silica sand have been extracted in the studied countries in 2000. About 74 Mt (9%) of the extracted materials were traded internationally, mainly within the study area. The area as a whole is approximately self-supporting. Norway, Scotland and North Rhine-Westphalia are net exporters of aggregates. Belgium and the Netherlands are net importing countries. This is related to limited reserves; in the case of the Netherlands it is also related to a restrictive permission policy.

The mineral planning policies in the study area all address sustainability, and pursue, e.g., the minimization of extraction, an economical materials use and recycling. However, the extent to which this is accomplished varies considerably, due to differences in factors such as the building tradition, population density, the socio-economical situation and geology.


Key words: Aggregates, Belgium, building materials, clay, crushed rock, construction materials, Denmark, Europe, Germany, gravel, Great Britain, limestone, Lower Saxony, Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway, sand, silica sand.




In: Elsen J & Degryse P (eds), Industrial Minerals - Resources, Characteristics and Applications. Aardkundige Mededelingen 13, 19-30, 2003 (full text)