Quarry could be filled with waste from Lon­don and HS2

Waste tipped into quarry ‘won’t cause pol­lu­tion’

Hinckley Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAN MARTIN hinck­ley­[email protected]­plc.com

The plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion will be sup­ported by a full en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment Ap­pli­cant

VAST amounts of Lon­don’s waste and rub­ble from the con­struc­tion of the HS2 rail line could be dumped in a Le­ices­ter­shire qarry.

How­ever, the com­pany be­hind the plans say it will not lead to pol­lu­tion.

Croft Quarry, one of the biggest gran­ite quar­ries in Europe, is com­ing to the end of its mining life and the firm that runs it is look­ing to re­store the area when all the ex­tractable rock is gone.

Quar­ry­ing at the site, be­tween Hinck­ley and Le­ices­ter, be­gan in 1868 and the work­ings have left a huge hole in the ground cov­er­ing an 81-acre space.

Ag­gre­gate In­dus­tries, based at Bar­don near Coalville, wants to ex­tend the quarry to re­lease 6.3 mil­lion more tonnes of ag­gre­gate in a process that could take up to 20 years.

But the firm has sent de­tails to Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil about how it plans to re­store the area af­ter quar­ry­ing fin­ishes.

In a doc­u­ment sent to County Hall, agents for the com­pany said: “It is pro­posed to im­port ap­prox­i­mately 22 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of in­ert ma­te­rial – up to 750,000 cu­bic me­tres per year.

“Restora­tion pre­dom­i­nately via rail.

“The rail sid­ing will be re­lo­cated to run par­al­lel with the Le­ices­ter to Birm­ing­ham main­line and will in­volve con­sul­ta­tion with Net­work Rail. It is the com­pany’s in­ten­tion to utilise their Lon­don Rail fa­cil­i­ties to ex­port Lon­don’s waste over the next 10 years, waste gen­er­ated from HS2, and then ex­pand into other ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects across the UK util­is­ing rail as a prin­ci­ple form of trans­port.”

The doc­u­ment adds: “Although im­ported restora­tion ma­te­rial would pre­dom­i­nately be via rail, the com­pany seeks the abil­ity to im­port a pro­por­tion of waste via lorry to pro­vide mar­ket flex­i­bil­ity.

“It is not an­tic­i­pated that the vol­ume of ve­hi­cles move­ments will ex­ceed his­tor­i­cal lev­els.”

If Ag­gre­gates In­dus­tries get plan­ning per­mis­sion from the county coun­cil, they want to start the last leg of the ex­trac­tion in 2020. It en­vis­ages all work at the quarry will end by 2052.

There are, how­ever, con­cerns that the tip­ping of large amounts of waste in the quarry could have a harm­ful im­pact on wildlife and habi­tats nearby as well as pose a risk of pol­lut­ing wa­ter sources nearby. Green party ac­tivists in Le­ices­ter say they will fight the scheme.

Green spokes­woman Mags Lewis said: “This ap­pli­ca­tion will have a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on an area known for its im­por­tance to na­ture and habi­tat.”

The county coun­cil will have the fi­nal say on the pro­ject and its plan­ning com­mit­tee will look at the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, the ef­fects on wildlife, the lo­cal roads and pub­lic right of way.

In a state­ment, Ag­gre­gate In­dus­tries said it would use “in­ert, con­struc­tion-de­rived restora­tion ma­te­ri­als, such as clays, soils and con­crete”.

The state­ment said: “These will pro­duce no ad­di­tional pol­lu­tion, but will con­trib­ute to a per­ma­nent, safe land­form rather than a deep wa­ter body, and boost the bio­diver- sity that the quarry has helped to build.

“We take our en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ously, and, as such, are au­dited by the rel­e­vant lo­cal au­thor­i­ties sev­eral times each year.

“The plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for this pro­ject will be sup­ported by a full en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment which will dis­close any and all im­pacts on the en­vi­ron­ment in­clud­ing ecol­ogy and wa­ter sources.

“Croft Quarry has cre­ated a hill and na­ture trail along the east­ern bound­ary which hosts var­i­ous char­ity runs and is en­joyed by the com­mu­nity.

“We seek to build upon the suc­cess of the na­ture trail by ex­tend­ing it to Croft village through the fi­nal recla­ma­tion of the site.

“The fi­nal restora­tion would also see im­proved con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween Croft and Hun­cote through ad­di­tional rights of way be­ing cre­ated. Im­proved bio­di­ver­sity to com­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing site of spe­cial sci­en­tific in­ter­est and the cor­ri­dor of the River Soar will also form an im­por­tant fea­ture of the pro­posed restora­tion.”

The com­pany ex­pects to have com­pleted all its op­er­a­tions on site by 2052 and said it will con­tinue to em­ploy people while the scheme is car­ried out.

It has said it does not plan to ex­tend its hours of op­er­a­tion or in­crease the num­ber of lor­ries vis­it­ing the site.

Croft Quarry seen from the air

Quarry at Croft by Kevin Gam­ble.

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