Mark Prisk MP has written to Hertfordshire County Council objecting to a new Bengeo Quarry application.
The application is very similar to the previous one that was turned down by Hertfordshire County Council in March of this year and has many of the same problems.
Please read below a copy of Mark’s letter:
“Objection to planning appeal: Ref: PL\0870\17 Quarry application at Sacombe Road, Bengeo
I write to formally object to this revised application. Whilst slightly different from the previous application it appears to have been submitted whilst the new draft Minerals Local Plan is in the process of approval. Approval of this application would therefore undermine the direction of that policy making process and could prejudice the new MLP.
In addition I would cite the following key issues:
Risk to air quality
Whilst the new application is for a slightly smaller site than before, it remains the case that the quarry would be immediately opposite some residents’ homes and just 350m from the playground of the local primary school. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that a planning authority must ensure there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on human health. As it stands the application cannot provide that guarantee and is giving both parents and teachers real concern about the impact on young children’s health.
The application proposes that the equivalent of 80 lorries per day travel to and from the site, or the equivalent of one every eight minutes. Local roads are already under pressure and this level of additional traffic is inappropriate.
The application would severely damage Bengeo Fields impacting both flora and fauna. The works would be adjacent to ancient St John’s Wood. The new application still impacts on the established public footpath and the rights therein.
Risk to water supply
The new application remains a risk to the local water supply. Whilst not located directly above the boreholes at Wadesmill Road, the application will be immediately adjacent. These boreholes provide several million gallons of fresh water into the local water supply network, used by homes and businesses alike. I am not aware of any independent assessment of the local geology and chalk structure citing that there is no risk to the water supply. Without such a clear statement, providing permission to this application would be highly irresponsible, given the serious nature of any risk to the health of local people.
The timing of this application is wholly inappropriate, given it overlaps with an appeal on the first application. The applicants have failed to engage in any consultation with the community. This proposed quarry has proven one of the most controversial of any I have encountered as the local MP for the area, since 2001. The overwhelming view of local people is that this application should not be approved. Finally, the application is to supply gravel for which there is no need. The County Council has a current land bank of suitable sites for sand and gravel extraction which will provide at least 15 years supply, or twice the council’s statutory obligation.
I would therefore wish to register my strong opposition to this application.”
Mark has also objected to the planning appeal of the original site, his letter to the Planning Inspectorate can be found here.