Quarry near Swanage blasts a path to ‘net zero carbon’ future

A lockdown project with a difference as a quarry near Swanage has spent the last two years reducing its carbon emissions.

The Swanworth Quarry at Worth Matravers, operated by Suttles, has invested in a range of measures including solar panels and switching its vehicles to electric and hybrid models.

Solar panels at Suttles quarry

The lockdown project with a difference – installing solar panels at Swanworth Quarry

Grant from Low Carbon Dorset

The firm got a grant of £20,079 from Low Carbon Dorset to help fund the installation of LEDs and solar panels at the Swanworth site and at its site in Hamworthy.

A total of 120 solar panels were installed at the quarry over the past two years, while the world was in and out of lockdown. The solar power generates electricity for the workshop, security and other fixed electrical systems.

Suttles' director, John Suttle, in front of the stone crusher at Swanworth Quarry
Low Carbon Dorset

Quarry director John Suttle in front of the stone crusher

“It made sense”

Suttles’ director, John Suttle, said:

“As the peak demand for our electricity is during daylight hours, it made sense for us to invest in solar power, which not only mitigates soaring energy costs, but also significantly helps us in our drive for carbon neutrality.

“Although we have made big changes in our business so far, we recognise that these are just our first steps en route to becoming carbon neutral.”

Suttles Stone Quarries' stone crusher at Swanworth Quarry, powered by solar panels

The stone crusher at the quarry now powered by solar energy

Replacing diesel vehicles

The solar panels also help to power the quarry’s 160kW stone crusher motor, which was previously upgraded from diesel to electric.

In addition, Suttles has reduced the amount of diesel-powered equipment it operates, upgraded from heating oil to a renewably sourced heating system at the quarry office and upgraded electrical fittings to energy efficient alternatives.

The firm now has a growing fleet of 19 electric and hybrid vehicles and plant, replacing petrol or diesel versions.

Suttles quarry

The company now has a growing fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles

Total of 159 schemes in Dorset

The Low Carbon Dorset programme, which started in 2018, has a budget of £16.5 million. Half of this is from the European Regional Development Fund. Dorset Council also provides funding.

So far 159 schemes have been awarded a total of £5.2 million, just under a third of that overall budget. Grants to projects can cover up to 40 percent of the cost. Together it’s estimated that projects already supported through the programme have saved 7,951 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

To understand what this means, it’s estimated that a single passenger journey from London to Glasgow in a petrol car uses 90 kilograms of CO2e. So, 7,951 tonnes of CO2e is equivalent to more than 88,000 people driving the distance of London to Glasgow in petrol cars.

A member of Suttles staff charging one of its electric vehicles

Charging one of the fleet vehicles

Fish and chip shop

Low Carbon Dorset says the Suttles solar panels project will save an estimated 31 tonnes of CO2e a year. That’s equivalent to 343 journeys to Glasgow.

Another beneficiary on the Isle of Purbeck is Long Johns Fish and Chips in Wareham which got £14,960 towards a state-of-the-art frying range to reduce its gas consumption.

The new fryer saves seven tonnes of CO2e a year or 77 similar car journeys.

Solar panels at Suttles quarry
dji camera

Solar panels on the main building supply electricity for the whole site

“Path towards net zero carbon”

Suttles says it has succeeded in reducing its overall carbon footprint by almost 400 tonnes of CO2e since 2018 and its most recent measures have led to savings of nearly 100 tonnes CO2e throughout 2021. 

John Suttle said:

“Suttles’ decarbonisation strategy will involve setting science-based emission reduction targets this spring, setting us further on our path towards net zero carbon.”

Swanworth Quarry

The quarry, celebrating its 100th anniversary, supplies stone for a wide variety of uses

Key employer

The next initiative is the continued roll-out of HVO or hydrogenated vegetable oils, a clean and low CO2 fuel, across the light goods vehicles and plant fleet. 

One of the area’s key employers, Suttle Stone Quarries sells crushed limestone and aggregates for architectural, landscaping, and civil engineering applications, as well as coastal protection and other earthworks.

The Swanworth Quarry at Worth Matravers, is celebrating its 100th anniversary

Further information

More about the Suttles project is on the Low Carbon Dorset website.

Some of the Suttles team at Swanworth Quarry today

Some of the Suttles workforce

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