AGGREGATES supplier RMC Materials has won Government funding to help it keep millions of tonnes of rock off the roads.
The firm has secured a £1 million Freight Facilities Grant from the Department for Transport and will use it to build materials handling wharves along the River Severn.
The facilities at Ripple, Gloucestershire, and Ryall, Worcestershire, will cost more than £2.5 million but will allow RMC to divert almost three million tonnes of aggregate by barge, saving 340,000 lorry journeys over 10 years.The 180 tonne-capacity barges will carry 275,000 tonnes of material down river each year from its Ripple quarry to the Ryall facility, where it will be graded. Some 65,000 tonnes of graded stone will be barged down to RMC's ready mixed concrete batching plant in Gloucester.
According to RMC managing director Mike Carr, the company could extend the scope of the barge shipping project.
He said: 'The grant gives us an opportunity to maximise an alternative mode of transport. In the long term it is hoped to extend transportation on the River Severn to incorporate our plant at Worcester.'
nA fortnight of action against RMC by activists protesting at its involvement in offshore sand and gravel dredging ended last week with no further incident.
The giant's Norwich and Leeds offices had been targeted by campaigners.