Quarry could be filled with waste from London and HS2
Waste tipped into quarry ‘won’t cause pollution’
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.