Situated in the beautiful Ribble valley on the edge of Clitheroe, our Ribblesdale cement works was set up in 1936 as a joint venture between Tunnel Cement and Ketton Portland Cement. Two years later, following investment in additional wet kilns, the works was producing 750,000 tonnes of cement a year.
The biggest increase in production capacity came in 1983 when £30 million was invested in a new dry-process kiln, enabling 1.3 million tonnes of cement to be produced each year.
Production from the older ‘wet-process’ kilns ceased in 2005 and all clinker production was focussed on the single remaining dry-process kiln, which was much more efficient.
In recent years, improvements have been made to the dust filters, resulting in a reduction in emissions, and, in 1998, Ribblesdale became the first cement works in the UK to install a gas cleaning system (also known as a wet scrubber) attached to the dry-process kiln. This reduces the amount of sulphur dioxide produced by 90 per cent and halves the already small amount of dust and ammonia produced, making the kiln one of the cleanest in existence. This gas scrubber was upgraded in 2018 at a cost of around £9 million.
In 2021 Ribblesdale became the first cement works in the world to use hydrogen as part of a net zero fuel mix to operate one of the kilns.
The limestone and clay needed for cement production at Ribblesdale is supplied by two on-site quarries – Lanehead and Bellman, which have been screened by thousands of trees and screening banks to shield the view from neighbouring properties.
The quarries provide rich, diverse habitats including woodland, grassland and water bodies, which are home to species such as badgers, bats, nesting peregrine falcons and amphibians.
We also provide facilities on site to the Ribble Rivers Trust, a charitable organisation working to improve, protect and promote the River Ribble, which passes along the boundary of our works, for both people and wildlife.