The progressive distancing of aggregate quarries from the demand areas: Magnitude, causes, and impact on CO2 emissions in Madrid Region (1995–2018)

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Aggregates are natural materials of great demand. They are directly used for construction or as constituents of ready-mixed concrete or asphalt products, and they appear as an index of the economic activity of a country. Distance between quarries and demand points controls the price of high place-value products such as aggregates. Their potential exploitation depends on factors such as geology, environmental and heritage protection laws, or even on social rejection near populated areas. These factors are forcing quarries to move away from demand areas and make the aggregates to be transported for longer distances, with associated economic, environmental, and safety issues. Many authors have indicated the progressive distancing of the aggregates quarries from to the demand areas based on perceptions but without estimations supporting this hypothesis. This work has studied the location of the quarries supplying the demand of aggregates of Madrid region in the period 1995–2018. The study proves the progressive distancing of the quarries and even the relocation of part of the production to neighboring provinces. The kilometers travelled in excess due to the distancing and the associated CO2 emissions, have been estimated. Despite the general opinion that the “Not in My Backyard” phenomenon (NIMBY) was the cause of the distancing of the quarries from the demand areas, it has been found that the main reason in the case of the Madrid region is not the opposition of the citizens but a combination of demographic factors and different land use restrictions.
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