Quarry quandary drags on

Campaigners across Norfolk fighting proposed quarries and landfill sites in their villages could now have to wait until mid-2009 before learning what sites have been dropped off an official county plan.

Campaigners across Norfolk fighting proposed quarries and landfill sites in their villages could now have to wait until mid-2009 before learning what sites have been dropped off an official county plan.

Protests and petitions were sparked when Norfolk County Council launched a huge public debate on some 160 sites put forward by landowners and developers as potential future landfill or sand and gravel extraction sites.

The county council had planned to carry out a second raft of consultation, on a shortlist of sites, in August this year.

But now the consultation has been delayed until mid-next year.


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Last week the council said this was because of the massive and detailed response from the public to the consultation, with some 59,000 responses by 4,000 individuals or groups increasing officer's workload.

But new government rules, brought in this June, over these types of consultation, have also put the whole process on hold.

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Ben McClean, minerals and waste team leader at the county council, said the council was 'reviewing its position in light of new regulations with central government'.

He added it was anticipated that there would be clarity over a new timeframe in December.

It was not known at this stage if this would mean starting the entire process again, going straight to a consultation over a final document or any other options.

George Hayes, spokesman for Beetley Parish Council, said: “It's a crazy situation.

“I'm surprised it is all back in the air again. It could be seen as good news , giving us more time, but we would rather know what their plans are.

“And we understood they would publish a shortlist. It would be very disappointing if there wasn't, it would be totally against what the county council has let us believe would happen.”

However, Neil Paddock, of Save East Winch, a campaign to fight a proposed site at East Winch near King's Lynn, said: “In a way it gives us a breathing space, we think we are going to have a fight on our hands.”

Villagers in Bintree, near Dereham, are also still actively campaigning against sites there.

The county council has to plan to provide enough sand and gravel and carrstone for building projects up to 2021 and landfill sites for waste for the same period.

More than 100 gravel extraction and 64 landfill proposals were put forward, 12 have since been withdrawn.

It has also been consulting on a broad strategy on where the sites should be. This is due to be consulted on in January before being sent for approval by the secretary of state.

Campaigns sprung up across the county against proposed gravel and sand extraction sites and landfill sites across Norfolk when the list was first drawn up near Easter this year.

Breckland had the most proposed sites compared to any other district - 58 in total, all put forward by landowners or developers as options for quarries or landfill.

Near Dereham, villagers in Beetley, Mileham, Bintree, Wendling, Litcham, Hoe and Worthing and Beeston protested against proposed sites near their homes.

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