Youngsters urged to stay out of quarries

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QUARRY owners are urging young people to stay away from quarries this summer by launching a national campaign.

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) - the trade body for the aggregates, cement and concrete industries - has launched its annual Stay Safe..Stay out of Quarries campaign.

The MPA message comes just a month after a 13-year-old boy drowned while swimming in a quarry in Lancashire.

Elizabeth Clements, from the MPA, said: “With the long school holidays and warmer weather, young people will be looking for excitement and places to hang out with their friends.

“I would like to appeal to parents to ensure that their youngsters are not tempted to enter into local quarries uninvited.”

She warns that the quarries can have hidden dangers as quarry edges can be unstable and caves can collapse. She also warns that water in quarries can be icy cold, deep and can have unexpected currents and obstacles hidden underwater.

Richard Blew, commercial director of Needham Chalks Ltd, in Needham Market, said that it is a concern that young people could venture into their sites.

He said it makes him ‘shudder’ to see youngsters walking around the edge of quarries as landslides are a risk. He also said that the ‘highly dangerous’ plant and machinery associated with quarrying has, on occasions, been hot wired and moved around the site.

“We take all the steps we can, we have perimeter fences and put up signs, but kids being kids, they obviously don’t abide by them. Fortunately we haven’t had an incidents yet, but it is a potential risk, particularly during the summer holidays,” he said.