Quarry plan is unveiled

PUBLISHED: 17:30 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

The existing Broom quarry which is due to close in 2010

The existing Broom quarry which is due to close in 2010

THE long-awaited planning application for mineral excavation close to a village has finally been submitted. Tarmac announced earlier in the year it wanted to open up a 432-acre site south of Broom when its quarry to the north of the village was exhausted

THE long-awaited planning application for mineral excavation close to a village has finally been submitted.

Tarmac announced earlier in the year it wanted to open up a 432-acre site south of Broom when its quarry to the north of the village was exhausted in four years time.

Following the announcement a protest group was formed in Broom to fight the proposals.

Protesters from the group even disrupted the annual general meeting of Southill Parish Council that includes Broom when councillors refused to answer questions about the quarry.

At one point the arguments became so heated one pensioner from Broom was threatened with being ejected from the meeting after accusing council chairman Mark Egar of treating protesters like a dictator.

Talking exclusively to The Comet this week Tarmac outlined its planning submission saying the new quarry would be a direct replacement for the existing Broom quarry which has been operating since 1997 and is due to close in 2010.

Tarmac say the proposed site of the new Broom south quarry is being promoted as the preferred site for mineral extraction within Bedfordshire County Council's mineral development framework.

The county council has a requirement to maintain the Government's target for sufficient mineral reserves to support the future needs of the local construction industry.

Simon Chaffe, senior estates surveyor at Tarmac who headed the company's public meeting to unveil the quarry plans in April, said: "We already know the Broom area well and local people are aware of the responsible approach we take to manage our activities, ensuring local people are safe and minimising any environmental impact.

"It is important that local mineral reserves are maintained to enable building work to go ahead in the future and as the existing quarry is expected to close in 2010, when reserves are exhausted, we need to plan ahead to make sure we can start operating a new site at that time.

"Great care and attention has been taken to ensure that the restoration plans for the new quarry site are sensitive to the local environment and in keeping with the requirements of all stakeholders."

It is proposed that the new quarry should provide between 400,000 and 450,000 tonnes of sand and gravel a year with extraction planned to last for about 12 years.

The plans also include proposals to conserve the wooded copse in the area which provides a habitat for local wildlife and also to restore the site by creating an area of wetlands, lakes and a meadow to enrich local biodiversity.

At a recent meeting of the quarry protest group, Broom residents heard that objections would continue to be lodged with the county council with local MP Alistair Burt strongly supporting the group.

The meeting heard that if the quarry went ahead it would mean people in the area would eventually suffer from 25 continuous years of quarrying around Broom.

It is estimated that the proposed south quarry would mean 45,000 lorry movements to and from the quarry each year with lorry movements every six minutes going north to the A1 via the G&M Growers' roundabout and every 14 minutes south through Stanford.

The quarry itself would be open for work 60 hours a week.


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