Villagers protest at quarry plans

CONTROVERSIAL quarry plans for the Suffolk countryside would have “a devastating effect on the environment”, campaigners warned last night.

Laurence Cawley

CONTROVERSIAL quarry plans for the Suffolk countryside would have “a devastating effect on the environment”, campaigners warned last night.

Suffolk Preservation Society's attack on Brett Aggregates' proposed quarry scheme for Chilton, near Sudbury, came as villagers in the area held a “go slow” in protest at the plans.

On Thursday, Suffolk County Council will decide whether Brett can quarry a million tonnes of aggregates from two county council-owned fields at Chilton. The firm, whose previous, larger-scale, scheme for the site was turned down earlier this year, claims its latest proposals are a response to earlier concerns. Changes to the scheme include 20% fewer daily lorry trips out of the site each day and a new roundabout which would reduce speed along the adjacent A134.

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But as part of their demonstration yesterday, the Quarry Action Group put markers up at the site of each of the 25 accidents - three of which were fatal - recorded in the area this year.

Group chairman Peter Clifford, who is also chairman of Chilton Parish Council, said: “Protesters believe that adding more than 16,000 lorry movements a year into the equation will make matters worse.

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“Babergh District Council and all the local parish councils have now voted against this quarry twice and Suffolk police, South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo MP, Suffolk Preservation Society and the Sudbury Society are all opposed as well.”

Suffolk Preservation Society is also calling for the planning application to be turned down.

Society director Richard Ward said: “There is absolutely no justification for this application progressing in any way, shape or form.

“This site is typically open, softly undulating, quintessential Suffolk countryside. It is exactly the type of tranquil landscape which gives Suffolk its special character. The proposal would have a devastating effect on the environment.”

But Mike Courts, of Brett, said the site had been listed as a site for mineral extraction for the past 10 years.

“This new application now takes into account the reasons for refusing the previous application,” he said.

“Fundamentally the new application substitutes a three-arm roundabout access for the previous priority controlled junction with right turning lane.

“It also reduces significantly the number of daily lorry movements from that proposed in the previous application. This reduction in vehicle movements has been achieved by withdrawing the original proposal to recycle aggregates from construction and demolition waste, notwithstanding that this is a sustainable planning approach to aggregate use encouraged by the county council's own policies.”

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