CEMENT MAKER Lafarge has passed the final hurdle in its plans to build a new state of the art cement works in Kent to replace its aging Northfleet facility.
Local councils in the Medway Valley have granted the last detailed planning consents for the new Medway works, which should start producing 1Mt plus a year in 2007. Lafarge will then be able to close and demolish Northfleet and develop the site and its associated quarry for housing and commercial use.
Northfleet is next door to the massive Bluewater shopping complex, and its redevelopment will form part of the government's Kent Thamesside project. Up to 7,000 new homes could be built on the site.
The then Blue Circle started planning the Medway works nearly a decade ago (NCE Concrete Engineering supplement November 1996). It is certain to burn substitute fuels such as chipped tyres or processed sewage pellets and may produce a wider range of European style cements than is currently available from Northfleet.
Lafarge also said this week that it will open a new distribution depot to the west of London to handle bulk and bagged cement from all Lafarge's UK works. This will be in operation within 12 months.