New mineral sites planned in Suffolk
FEARS were raised last night over a new blueprint earmarking more than 20 sand and gravel sites for excavation in Suffolk in the next 15 years.Suffolk County Council has published a document detailing 23 potential mineral sites in the county which could supply aggregates to meet demand for building work in the future.
By Danielle Nuttall
FEARS were raised last night over a new blueprint earmarking more than 20 sand and gravel sites for excavation in Suffolk in the next 15 years.
Suffolk County Council has published a document detailing 23 potential mineral sites in the county which could supply aggregates to meet demand for building work in the future.
But homeowners and environmental campaigners expressed concern after it emerged 11 of the sites were completely new, with many located in areas of countryside - including Constable country.
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In addition to expanding existing quarries, the county council is proposing to develop new ones in Kirton, Acton, Leavenheath, East Bergholt, Barking, Timworth, Creeting St Peter and Creeting St Mary, Culford, Wenhaston, Henham Park and Chilton Quarry.
One of the proposed sites - at Manor Farm, East Bergholt - is located close to an estate of bungalows which presently look out onto fields.
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Robert Arnold, who lives in Broomknoll, which is opposite the identified site, said: “Everybody is horrified. It's a bolt out of the blue. The application is dated February but nobody had heard about it.
“There are Skylarks and lovely views from the windows and it's going to be completely ruined. The roads are not suitable for lorries, there will be noise and dust.
“There are a row of bungalows that face the proposed gravel pit. It will be about 20 yards from the front of those. It's going to be absolutely ruined and it's Constable country.”
The council is proposing to extend existing quarries in Waldringfield, Shrublands, Layham, Barham, Homersfield, Red Lodge and Worlington and Cavenham.
The Government requires Suffolk to find 1.73million tonnes of sand and gravel aggregates per year.
The county council must make provision for that volume of material, with a minimum of seven years' worth of supply.
It currently has nine years' worth of supply but needs to make provision for the Minerals and Waste Development Framework which runs up to 2021.
Last night Andrew Stringer, Green Party councillor for Mid Suffolk, said he did not think the council had put enough weight behind recycling old aggregates from demolished buildings.
“The constant pressure is to extract more but we should be recycling more of the stuff that's redundant so we have a dwindling amount of need for new sites,” he said.
“The huge worry is when these licenses are invoked there will be a massive amount of truck activity.
“We are given to believe tourism is one of the great many money-makers of the present and future and we will be blighting that if we are not careful by constantly scarring the landscape.”
A spokeswoman for the county council said last night: “Recycling of these materials has improved markedly over recent years, but it's not suitable for all uses.
“Therefore we do need to find extra sand and gravel to meet demand. We also need to make sure that we use the assets we have wisely, and that's why we're asking people to give us their views on which sites could be used.”
The proposals can be viewed on the council's website www.suffolk.gov.uk or at council offices and libraries across the county.