Is inspector set to bring relief to campaign to save Suffolk reedbeds?
PUBLISHED: 16:30 18 September 2019
Controversial proposals to expand a quarry near Southwold are to be reconsidered later this autumn - but have already been given the thumbs down by a government inspector.
Suffolk County Council is drawing up a new minerals' plan for where aggregate can be extracted across the county - and one of the proposed sites was near the existing Wangford Quarry at Reydon.
However this provoked an outcry from local people who won the support of Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey because the work could have disturbed the nearby Hen Reedbeds which are an important wildlife site.
In July government inspector Nick Palmer wrote to the council to say he was convinced there would be enough of a shortage of aggregate during the lifetime of the new mineral plan to justify endangering the landscape and scenic beauty of the area.
He said: "The harm to the protected landscape during the period of working would not be consistent with national policy."
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Dr Coffey welcomed this decision. She said: "This is great news - and demonstrates the strength of the National Planning Policy Framework in protecting the environment.
"This was the only proposed site in the plan which sat within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and I'm delighted it has now been dropped."
She was called in after a number of local residents - and conservation bodies - expressed concern about a new quarry's effect on the nearby Hen Reedbeds which are home to a number of rare species including bitterns and marsh harriers.
A spokeswoman for the county said the proposal had not been formally dropped at this stage - but the Inspector's comments would be considered during the next round of consultation.
She said: "We are in the middle of finalising our Minerals and Waste Local Plan, which sets out provision for minerals and waste management until 2036.
"The planning inspector has suggested a number of changes to this plan. One of the changes proposed is the removal of plans to extend Wangford Quarry into the parish of Reydon.
"This modification, and other changes proposed by the inspector, will be subject to public consultation before the inspector makes his final decision. This consultation will begin in October and run for six weeks."