Dunbar Plant

Energy and carbon reduction

Sustainability is at the core of Tarmac’s business and is deeply embedded in our culture. Our sustainability strategy plays a central role in our vision to becoming our customers’ preferred choice for sustainable construction solutions.

We have set ambitious commitments and targets based around four key themes - people, performance planet and solutions.

The cement made at Dunbar and the range of construction materials produced by Tarmac’s business, play a vital role in the construction industry.

The UK Government has set targets around carbon reduction and sustainability, which will change the built environment. As a leader in the UK construction sector, Tarmac is set to play its part.

Read more about Sustainability here

Read about Dunbar’s use of waste derived fuels here


Restoring the Old Quarry


ringed plover

Our former North West Quarry is being transformed into a wildlife haven, thanks to a landmark agreement with RSPB Scotland on the future management of the area, already termed ‘Whitesands Quarry’ among local birdwatchers.

With RSPB Scotland’s input, the Whitesands Quarry will become one of East Lothian’s most important wildlife sites.

A feasibility study is currently being carried out to develop a full regeneration plan. Once this has been implemented and restoration work completed, visitors will be able to come to the site to experience nature close at hand through carefully managed access with trails and hides.

There are also plans to support nature-based activities and education.

Barnes Ness Lighthouse

lighthouse 1


The lighthouse at Barns Ness was designed by David Stevenson and was first brought in to service in 1901.

After the Northern Lighthouse Board had no further use for it, Dunbar plant purchased it in 2007.

It is frequently used for a number of local fundraising events, such as abseils, and receives a repaint every few years to protect it from the harsh elements.

Regulation and governance

Our operation is strictly regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) through our environmental permit. We are required to meet UK legislation on air and water emission limits, and European legislation (the waste incineration directive or WID) for our use of waste-derived fuels.

We have made significant improvements to our environmental performance by reducing levels of these emissions.

We have high-tech systems in place to monitor all aspects of our operation in great detail and in line with the requirements of our operating permit. With some of our emissions we have continuous (24-hour) monitors established and with others we are required to gather data ‘extractively’ on a regular basis as specified by SEPA.


Environment FAQs

Have you got a question on how the operation at Dunbar affects the environment? We have some helpful answers for you below.

If your question isn't here, contact us directly on dunbar.feedback@lafargetarmac.com

Q. How do you ensure emissions are within limits?
We continuously monitor certain emission during our operational hours, these monitors are very precise and have to meet EU and UK quality and reliability standards as well as being calibrated by independent skilled third party. The data from the monitors is recorded in our control rooms where alarms will trigger if an emission is breached. Every 3 months we submit the daily data to our regulators to demonstrate compliance and all records are retained at the plant for at least 6 years to be reviewed if necessary. Copies of our returned data can be found here

Other emission where technology does not allow continuous measurement an independent certified test house takes samples of our emissions and test them in a laboratory every 6 months to check levels are in compliance.

Q. Do you ever go over your limits? And if so, what happens?
Our Environmental Management System (EMS) sets out procedures to ensure we can comply with our limits and our operators and managers work very hard to ensure we do not go over the limit, however if we do then this is reported to the regulator in line with our permit and EMS. Investigations are carried out to understand why we went over the limit and corrective actions put in place to prevent this happening again.

Q. What comes out the chimney at Dunbar?
The main emissions from the Chimney are Carbon Dioxide and water vapour, this is the steam you sometimes see if the weather conditions allow, much like boiling a kettle in a cold or hot room. Other major emissions are Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Sulphur Dioxide (SOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Particulates (Dust) . NOx, SOx, CO and Dust are all continuously monitored against limit values to show they are at safe and acceptable levels. These limits along with other smaller emissions are listed in our permit along measurement requirements.

Q. Does using wastes as fuels change what comes out the chimney?
Using waste as a fuel does not have a negative impact upon the emissions from the chimney, many years of extensive measurements have shown there is no change and a study by the department of health independently verified this. In fact some fuels such as Tyres can help to reduce certain emissions such as NOx and other fuels have a bio mass content so they help us to lower our emissions of CO2.

Q. What happens to the quarry land after you’ve finished with it?
All of our quarries have restoration plans to develop them in line with local need at there end of their life. The final restoration is agreed with the local authorities and examples of former quarry restoration across the UK includes retail and commercial developments to nature reserves, outdoor classrooms and woodland walks. Read more about our restoration at Dunbar’s Old Quarry here. It is important to note that not all restoration is carried out at the end of quarry operations, we are constantly conducting restoration work as areas of the quarry finished in order to reduce the operational footprint and visual impact of the quarry.

Q. What happens to wildlife on your site?
Before any work starts on a new quarry an environmental impact study is carried out to check for animals and flowers/grasses which need to be preserved or re located. Only once this is done the quarry will begin. During the quarry operation many animals choose to make their home in the quarry and live happily alongside our operations. Animals and birds often seen living in the quarry will range from rabbits, foxes, badgers and hares to swallows, swifts, bats, kestrels, owls and peregrine falcons. When these animals take up residency we work alongside them with respect and ensure any activity which may disturb them is not carried out during sensitive times such as when they have young.

Q. If someone has a concern, what should they do?

If you have any concerns you should contact us via email dunbar.feedback@lafargetarmac.com