ICF Members are committed to the restoration of sites in a manner which promotes the protection of the environment, biodiversity and amenity value to the local community. The greatest potential for biodiversity in relation to extractive sites is after the operation has ceased and the site has been abandoned. While many extraction sites (especially sand and gravel pits) will be returned to agricultural and forestry use, nature conservation presents a valuable after-life use. With time, nature reclaims a quarry and, left alone, the quarry landscape can revert to a rich zone of biodiversity with little intervention from human hands.
Reinstatement and after-use are an integral part of the site management process, and form an important aspect for our industry. A restoration plan should be drawn-up by the developer of the existing operation to ensure that where practicable, progressive or phased reinstatement is carried out. Final reinstatement is initiated when extraction is completed. The aim of any natural restoration plan is to restore ecological balance and to produce self-sustaining plant and wildlife communities and habitats. Old quarry sites can create both terrestrial and wetland habitats for wildlife, significantly contributing to Ireland’s biodiversity.