Farmers with dormant small-scale quarries on their land are being advised of an opportunity to bring these back into economic use as the demand for local building stone soars.
An increasing number of farmers and landowners across the UK are re-opening dormant quarries to supply stone to housebuilders.
This is as a result of local planning authorities favouring stone which matches that used in existing homes in their areas.
It is providing landowners with an opportunity to not only bring a dormant site back into use, but to generate a sizable income from a premium product.
Property consultancy Fisher German has seen small-scale quarries being re-opened to supply local building stone, particularly in areas where there is a limestone belt, such as the East Midlands.
William Gagie, of Fisher German said planners were very keen to see this stone used in new houses, meaning these quarries were having to re-open in order to supply this.
“It is common for villages in these areas to have small historic quarries which have been closed and are dormant, sometimes for as long as 40 years, but in planning terms it’s easier to re-open these rather than to open brand new ones.
“It also ensures as close a match as possible to the original stone used as there can often be subtle changes in colour within a few miles," he explained.
Farmers and landowners are working with Fisher German to identify the locations of these dormant quarries.
The firm then undertakes the planning work in re-opening them and negotiates the terms with operators to maximise income for landowners.
Mr Gagie said the current demand for the stone meant that masonry businesses were actively looking for these quarries, and from a landowner perspective he said that the majority of the sites were currently unused and overgrown.
"The stone is a premium product so there is the potential to generate a very good income," Mr Gagie explained.
"Re-opening dormant quarries could see landowners earning tens of thousands of pounds every year for something that isn’t currently generating any income.
"There is also the potential for the sites to be restored in a positive fashion with a view to beneficial post-quarrying uses."
He added: “We would urge anyone who has a dormant quarry on their land to seek expert advice to find out how they can make the most of this opportunity.”