Opponents fear new quarry could mean 12,000 extra lorries on Belstead’s roads each year
- Credit: Archant
A new action group has been formed to fight proposals for a new quarry at Belstead amid fears that the development would bring noise and air pollution, and extra traffic.
The village has been identified as a site for sand and gravel extraction by Suffolk County Council as part of a new plan drawn up to provide materials needed for the construction industry.
But residents investigating the plans say the area is already under threat from proposals for up to 623 new homes which could generate 2,000 or more extra car journeys a day and fear the quarry could mean 12,000 extra lorries on the village’s roads ever year.
The site at Brockley Wood was previously looked at for mineral extraction in the 1970s with several test boreholes made to explore its capacity.
The campaign group claims there are “vast swathes” of more suitable land away from settlements.
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It said: “The biggest concern is increased traffic through our villages, particularly the lanes but above all the Old London Road that has no weight limit northbound and there is no doubt quarry trucks would use this road when the A12 is at a standstill.
“In discussions with Suffolk County Council officers, they claimed no knowledge of the fact that every single working morning, traffic is backed up to Capel St Mary.”
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The group says the county council expects 3.6million tonnes of sand and gravel to be extracted over 15 years – 240,000 tonnes annually.
It said: “Using an average 20 tonne truck payload, 12,000 truck movements will be generated annually. Using 250 annual working days this results in 48 movements per day, but it is doubled to account for in/out movements, ie 96 journeys daily to and from the site.”
Matthew Hicks, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Belstead has been proposed as it meets site selection criteria.”
No decisions have been made yet and people have until December 11 to give their comments as part of the consultation.
The proposal is that extraction would start in 2020 and while the number of lorry movements is not yet known, if there are more than 100 per day an assessment of air quality would take place.
The county council says the new minerals and waste local plan should be sufficient to supply enough sand and gravel until the end of 2036 based largely on the average of sales over the previous 10 years of 1.12 million tonnes per year.
No site could be used unless a planning application was submitted and approved.
To comment on the proposal and see the full details visit the county council’s mineral consultation site.