Video: Minister Roban On Slate, Quarrying

November 28, 2019 | 3 Comments

Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban provided clarity around the processes for quarrying, and also challenged the Bermuda public to “rethink the long term viability of large scale quarrying” saying that we need to “consider more sustainable options.”

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon [Nov 28], Minister Roban said, “Today I would like to provide clarity around the application and licensing processes for anyone wishing to carry out quarrying.

“I am joined by The Director of the Department of Planning, Ms Victoria Pereira and Dr. Geoff Smith, Environmental Engineer from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Thank you both for joining me today.

“Following Hurricane Humberto, a number of roofs were damaged and slate is required to complete the necessary repairs. As a result, quarrying operators experienced an increase in demand for these materials.

Director of the Department of Planning Victoria Pereira, Minister Roban, Environmental Engineer from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Dr. Geoff Smith

Home Affairs Slate Cutting Bermuda Nov 2019

“The Departments of Planning and Environment & Natural Resources [DENR], under the Ministry of Home Affairs, have been collaborating to ensure that the demand is adequately serviced.

“I would like to now differentiate between the roles of the two departments, and how they may be of assistance to the public.

“The Department of Planning is responsible for processing all planning applications submitted for quarrying. Planning permission and subsequent building permits, all of which are currently being expedited, are granted for sites that qualify under the policies of the draft Bermuda Plan 2018. Full details can be found online here.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for processing operating license applications for slate cutting facilities, as these are Controlled Plants under the Clean Air Act 1991. These licenses also have conditions that aim to minimize nuisance to neighbours.

“To be clear, anyone who wishes to quarry must:

  • Contact the Department of Planning for advice on making submissions for the requisite applications.
  • And contact the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to apply for an operating license by e-mail via pollutioncontrol@gov.bm or by going to DENR headquarters in the Botanical Gardens, Paget. You may also visit here.

Press conference:

“I would also like to note that the Department of Planning is in the process of developing a new initiative which involves offering an incentive to those who choose to quarry at a site prior to development.

“For example, instead of simply excavating a site to create a water tank, the option to quarry out the site to create a tank should be considered.

“While development of this incentive is still ongoing, we expect that it will include some form of rebate on quarrying fees and other associated permit fees – all dependent on the quality of stone at the particular site.

“I also wish to emphasise three things that the Government does not do. The Government does not:

  • Sell slate
  • Determine how much quarry operators cut on a daily basis
  • Determine when they cut slate

“The supply of slate is a private sector matter; most sites where slate is cut is on private property.

“There are two sites currently operating – one which is located next to the Prison Farm in St. George’s and the another which is located on Radnor Estate Road in Hamilton Parish. Additionally, the Department of Planning is in conversations with individuals seeking to carry out slate quarrying at a further four sites.

“Finally, I want to challenge the Bermuda public to rethink the long term viability of large scale quarrying. As a community, we need to move away from strictly relying on Bermuda stone and consider more sustainable options.

“The use of synthetic products is becoming the industry standard and a wide range of products is increasingly available. The Department of Planning has reported an increase in the number of applications for new synthetic materials for consideration by the Building Materials Committee.

“Only this week, I read in the media about two Bermudian structural engineers and their new product, Slate 2.0, which they say can be made here on the island using up to 75% of locally available recycled materials and has been specifically designed for Bermuda roofs. I expect the need and demand for it will only expand moving forward. Thank You.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Only this week, I read in the media about two Bermudian structural engineers and their new product, Slate 2.0, which they say can be made here on the island using up to 75% of locally available recycled materials and has been specifically designed for Bermuda roofs. I expect the need and demand for it will only expand moving forward.”

    Seriously? That is the best you can do? You cannot even encourage people to investigate the Bermuda business making Slate 2.0? Pathetic.

  2. @1 says:

    SOOO what happened to the slate that was stored already and enough for at least a few houses but where did it disappear DIrector and permanent secretary of planning and environment???? what happened to the slated that was already there and why are we discussing different ways when we are not talking about building just repairing already constructed homes. THE LIES THE LIES THE LIES

  3. ROGER LAMBERT says:

    The natural from the Earth Limestone for Slate has competition & challenges from other products, mostly synthetic, plus the lack of land being made available for its quarrying & cutting into slate. Price too?
    The powdered paint for covering the limestone slate once had lime in it. It is said lime helps to purify. Hope still there then. Was this better for our health?
    Do the paints used to cover the synthetic slates have or need lime in it? Do these paints for synthetic slate have more chemicals in it? Nowadays I hope all roof paint has an effective/practical amount of lime in it. What is that level? With the synthetic slates out there more, are they good for our health?
    Can limestone for slate be imported?

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