A Harlow-based minerals extraction company wants to develop the quarry on privately owned farmland between Bengeo and Sacombe. Locals believe that the operation, next to old quarry workings that have been left in an unsightly state, would be detrimental in various ways.
“The proposed site at Ware Park, Wadesmill Road, raises a number of major concerns for the area’s residents, road users and nature lovers,” Salvatore Amico, Head of Planning, explains. “Their instinctive opposition to the quarry development is in so many respects backed by local and national planning policies that the objectors’ voices must be heard.
“Any mineral extraction on Green Belt must preserve the openness of the land, but industrialisation here would kill the rural character and landscape. Mineral development must not unduly impact the natural and historic environment or involve uncontrolled noise, vibration or particle emissions. National rules also provide for early restoration and aftercare; the old quarry next to the site shows this may fail to happen in reality.”
The objectors have also been advised that Hertfordshire’s official mineral policy restricts approval of quarrying to operations that are essential to meet the need for aggregates. One of the local residents objecting to the plan commented:
“There are many reasons why this plan has met such local opposition. There are issues around access roads and whether the planned workings would be deemed an extension to the established adjacent quarry.
“Also, the current plans do not incorporate buffer zones between the quarry and residential properties nearby, or a clear plan for safe public rights of way. We also have concerns about possible water pollution as the site overlies a large proportion of a ‘groundwater source protection zone’.”
Additionally, Salvatore points out: “Mineral policy also looks at the cumulative impact of extraction activity. Here the cumulative effect is arguably unacceptable. The Green Belt points, the impact on landscape and wildlife, ground water worries and hugely increased heavy traffic movements form a welter of negative factors.
“Among these factors, the impact on wildlife cannot be pushed aside as the affected species include bats, reptiles and a sett of badgers among many others. So, the strength of feeling and number of objectors, backed by arguments firmly rooted in planning law and policy, are a formidable barrier to approval of this quarry plan.”