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PLANNING ISSUES: Mike Lea - Peak District National Park.
Should professional planners be helping applicants? 
'No, we work for local authorities and must be unbiased.' 
'Yes, we are public servants and should help the public.' 
In practice mineral planners are helpful. But small scale operators do need help and simplified forms are needed for small quarries.
One key advantage of the mineral planning process is that it makes applicants think about the whole operation. What, where and how am I going to extract.
What issues are mineral planners generally concerned about? 
Traffic or the perception (anticipation) of heavy traffic is the major issue. Second is noise and third dust. 
There is a need to convince local residents that building-stone quarries are not like aggregate quarries. In mineral planning guidance the difference in scale or type is hardly acknowledged.
Are environmental impact assessments necessary for small scale operations? 
They are paid for by the applicants anyway so they should be taken with a pinch of salt! 
A proposal can be promoted to potential objectors as a rural craft or for a larger scale operation by paying compensation.
In some regions ie rural areas, there is a 'demand' for opportunities to quarry on a small scale. Mainly from farmers wanting to diversify. These should be treated on their merits.
Should historic quarries be protected from 'normal' quarrying so that the stone can be reserved for historic buildings? Should planners be liaising with mineral operators to protect sources of stone for key buildings.
When making a planning application or operating a quarry which has been justified on the basis of a need for stone slates there is a danger that the other products - flags, walling etc, will outweigh the roofing. This can result in rejection of the application or infringement of the consent conditions.
LAND USE ISSUES: Alan Morrison - Derbyshire CC.
Inevitably this group overlapped with planning issues. Getting planning permission is a hassle. Some mineral planners need to understand that very small quarry applications do not need to go down the full planning route. Applicants need help and a simpler application form.
The Roofs of England campaign needs even more publicity. We thought we had done this but landowners and government departments are unaware of the issues.
Will it be profitable to open a small quarry. 
Even for an estate's own use it may not be economically sound.
The language we use creates a bad perception of what stone slate quarrying is about. 
In the public mind quarrying equals aggregates. 
How about slate pits or delves instead? 
Try hand working instead of extraction. 
Waste, tipping and landfill all have bad connotations. 
Instead of lorries say pick-ups.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Barry Joyce - Derbyshire CC.
The English Heritage policy on grants for stone roofs states - 
1. Wherever possible, new stone slates rather than second-hand should be used.
2. Reclaimed slates should be used only on the building or group of buildings from which they were removed.
3. Substitute materials, such as artificial slates made of fibre resin, concrete tiles, 'reconstituted stone' and so on, are inappropriate alternatives to real stone slates and are not suitable for use on historic buildings.
4. New stone slates should match the existing ones as closely as possible in terms of geological type, colour, texture, size, and thickness. It is important to recognise the slates particular to your area. Sandstone and limestone slates should never be substituted for each other, nor should they be used together. 
5. Stone slates which have been sawn to thickness, rather than split, can be technically and aesthetically unacceptable and, if they fail to meet these criteria, should not be used on historic buildings
The use of the words 'wherever possible' are too flabby. There is a need to be proactive in preventing the use of reclaimed slates.
Is sawing to thickness always unacceptable? The example of Purbeck where 'scabs' are sawn off the top and bottom of masonry stone was cited. 
How to adopt the policy? 
Supplementary planning advice is needed in local plans. 
The policy needs to be related to the supply. For example, if the supply is limited apply it only to listed buildings.
Grants are not the only source of help. 
Loans are also used in some regions.
A plea for more guidance on when it is appropriate to strip a roof.
PRODUCTION: Terry Hughes - Stone Roofing Association
Currently the manufacture of stone slates is focussed on supplying the conservation market. This is part of the future of the industry but cannot be the whole future because it is a very long life product and there are a limited number of buildings needing conservation. Once a roof is renovated that's it for 100 years.
so the industry needs to look to new build to secure a future. This means giving the customers what they want at a price they are willing to pay. If roofers want to buy unfinished stone slates and dress them themselves for swept valleys for example, why not. It will make a cheaper roof. It could also help to conserve edge dressing details which are sometimes different on adjacent buildings.
The cost of the product must be controlled. This may include an element of sawing but must satisfy conservation objectives. In fact, it now seems that the cost advantages of sawing to size and subsequently dressing are not realised in practice.
Product promotion is an important priority.
The construction industry is increasingly demanding product 'guarantees'. There are no tests for stone roofing but some method of product approval must be developed, possibly based on a quarry's history of use and a geological assessment.
SKILLS & EDUCATION: Gerald Emerton - Emerton Roofing 
Education and training is a big problem for crafts, less so for professionals. Unsurprisingly this workshop came up with plenty of difficulties and few solutions.
Craftsmen, specifiers, manufacturers and clients all need educating about traditional slating and they need to understand each others roles.
Whilst architectural design courses are inevitably too general to include stone roofing some opportunities are developing through Continuing Professional Development. The RICS and RIBA now have conservation skills sections and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association has CPD.
For designers and specifiers the best route to learning how stone roofs should be built is through specialist courses. Some have already been provided by English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings but more focus on practical details is needed in future courses.
Local Authority conservation departments need to produce stone roof guides so that the local vernacular tradition is not lost. Manufacturers could also help here.
There are between 40 and 45 thousand roofers in the UK. To replace losses from this workforce about 1900 new roofers need to be trained every year. During the last 15 years recruitment to formal training has been about 450 a year. This means that most roofers are being trained informally with the potential to perpetuate bad as well as good practice.
The Roofing Industry Alliance has been established to try to ensure only properly trained roofers build correctly designed roofs with suitable products. But are trainers available for formal stone roof training? It seems unlikely, especially since there has been a loss of the tradition in some areas and some detailing has been reinvented incorrectly.
Stone roofing needs to be carried out by Master Slaters. Such people must be trained in stone slating and roof conservation, then assessed and then re-assessed at intervals. But this is expensive and who is going to pay? In the end the building owner has to pay for properly trained slaters so that their roofs are correctly constructed. But somehow the position of the specialist roofing contractor has to be protected where they are domestic sub-contractors to a main contractor. They must have the confidence that if they invest in training they are not going to constantly loose out to a cheaper tender from a company which cannot do the job correctly.
The German system was cited as a model for ensuring correctly built roofs. There a roofing company must be licensed to operate. Licenses are only granted to companies with a staff member who holds a Masters Degree from the National School of Roofing.
Tendering by submission of a method statement which describes both the technical and the conservation aspects of a roofing contract may be one way to ensure only skilled slaters are appointed.
FUNDING BODIES: Bob Hawkins - English Heritage
There is a need for an overall strategy for funding. It should include support for manufacturing, training, and building conservation.
A  'consultancy body' is needed  to act as a one stop shop. The present system for funding is too complicated. A simple explanation of what is available from who and how they fit together should be developed. Obstacles to collaborative funding need to be removed.
Manufacturers, actual and potential, need to find support for planning, market research, training, business development.
For special roofs / stone slates, special funding may be needed for 'mobile quarrying.'
For building grants a balance needs to be kept between those applied to repairs and restoration and those for new build. Grant schemes need to run for at least five years to act as a sustainable catalyst to the manufacturers.
Should we be aiming for a balanced market where roofing grants are no longer required or will cheaper substitutes always win out?