The village of Barford in Warwickshire has a major battle on its hands. Ann Evans has the details.
For the last six years Barford Residents have been campaigning hard against the Warwickshire County Council Mineral Plan to open a large sand and gravel quarry on the edge of the village close to houses. Smiths Concrete held an exhibition on Wednesday 25 May to counter residents’ concerns about the impact of the proposed quarry on the village and outline their plans for the 89-hectare site which is a similar size to Barford itself. Following this, around 200 villagers protested against their plans and were encouraged to attend the exhibition to register their opposition in an attempt to halt this proposal.
Oxford University’s wealthiest college St. John’s owns the land where the proposed quarry would be located. The college, which has assets of over £650 million, has requested that WCC include it in their minerals land allocation plan which will allow a developer such as Smiths Concrete to extract vast quantities of sand and gravel from the 220-acre site which borders Barford. It is the publicly stated ethos of the College to adopt policies that support environmental protection and reduce the carbon footprint. The quarry will conflict directly with both those stated aims.
Malcolm Eykyn, one of the committee members against the quarry, said, “We cannot lie down after six years of vigorous campaigning and let this quarry damage our lives. The quarry men are in town on Wednesday to soften us up, but we are now more determined than ever to stop them in their tracks. Our fight continues and while we still await the Inspector’s verdict on the last consultation of the WCC minerals plan we are continuing to try and persuade the hierarchy of St. John’s College, Oxford to meet with us. We can then explain that their very own published ethos of wanting to be environmentally sustainable contradicts their intention to open this quarry so close to our community.”
If the quarry goes ahead, it will expose 1,500 villagers and 200 primary and nursery school children at the village school to the real risk of inhalation of toxic fine particulate silica dust with permanent damage to their lungs. It will permanently destroy the existing high-quality agricultural land and scar the landscape. 200 lorries a day, six days a week will be exiting off and across the A429 and onto the Longbridge roundabout which will greatly impact on dirt, noise, vibration, safety, and traffic congestion. Slow water-spraying lorries will block the road which is already over congested, and it is likely the lorries will use the Wellesbourne roundabout as a turning point for the M40.
Barford Residents would appreciate any help and support to help them fight this threat to their village.
For more information, please visit http://www.barfordresidents.co.uk/latest-stop-the-quarry-updates/