Quarry road plan for wildlife haven near Yate leaves objectors 'absolutely horrified'

July 06 2022
Quarry road plan for wildlife haven near Yate leaves objectors 'absolutely horrified'

HUNDREDS of people are objecting to plans by a quarry operator to build a temporary road which will "destroy" a designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest.

Hanson UK (Hanson) has submitted a planning application to South Gloucestershire Council for planning permission to build a "temporary haul road" to transport 11 million tonnes of rock between its Southfields processing plant and Brinsham West Quarries, at the Chipping Sodbury Quarry complex.

The road would pass between Gravel Hill Lane and Brinsham Lane (above), through part of the Yate Rocks hamlet, to the north of the town.

But while Hanson says the mile-long road would have "significant" environmental and economic benefits, by cutting journeys and removing the need for a conveyor tunnel, outraged residents say they are "horrified" at the proposals.

A detailed objection from people who live at Yate Rocks or actively use the area has been submitted the council, saying the plans will "cause significant and permanent damage to a very special environment, heritage, and ecology".

The Yate Rocks Neighbourhood report, which is 21 pages long, concludes that theapplication "only benefits Hanson’s profits", adding: "This road brings no real economic or social benefit to Yate or South Gloucestershire.

"The suggested carbon benefits are spurious and do not stand up to scrutiny.

"This is not a ‘temporary’ change but ‘medium to long term’ one.

"The haul road will devastate the local heritage landscape, habitat and biodiversity in permanent and significant ways and is contrary to both South Glos and Hanson's own biodiversity plans and commitments."

A total of 194 comments objecting to the plans had been submitted on the council's website as the Voice went to press.

One objector, Adam Smith, said: "I was absolutely horrified to learn of this planning application.

"I visit the area for cycling and walking the dog. It's such a delight to walk down Brinsham Lane and observe the diverse wild life."

Another, Peter Slinn, said: "I object to this proposal that would ravage the beautiful unspoilt woodland, cause great disruption to the residents of Yate Rocks village and also put the Yate shooting range out of use, which is one of the very few such facilities in the local area."

Yate Town council has also objected to the plans, saying: "The Town Council is unanimous in objecting in the strongest possible terms to this application, which...will destroy an SNCI and have a serious adverse impact on the residents of Yate Rocks, seriously affect the integrity of sites of high heritage importance and significantly adversely affect local ecology, purely to save money."

The town council says the road would "destroy" the SNCI, ecological, historic and heritage status of the site, and has also objected to the procedures and reports prepared by Hanson.

The Environment Agency has said it has "no objection in principle" to the plan, provided it meets conditions.

Objectors have pointed out that the site is part of South Gloucestershire Council's proposed Strategic Green Infrastructure Network.

The council now has to decide whether to grant the scheme planning permission.

Hanson UK land, planning and development manager Trystan Mabbitt said: "A temporary haul road directly linking Brinsham West and Southfield quarries means that the disruption associated with closing Wickwar Road for up to six months, while a tunnel is constructed underneath, would be prevented. 

"As quarry vehicles would not have to traverse Brinsham East and Hampstead Farm quarries to reach Southfields quarry for processing, associated carbon emissions would be halved, and we would also be able to bring forward proposals for the restoration of these parts of our Chipping Sodbury complex earlier than planned. 

"Around two thirds of the land needed for the temporary road is currently farmland and the rest is in the already consented area of the quarry. There are no Public Rights of Way (PROW) within the site boundary for the temporary haul road. Once mineral extraction at Brinsham West is complete the haul road would be removed and the land returned to agriculture – along with at least a 10% gain in biodiversity."

Details of the plan can be found on the council's website by searching for application P22/02019/F on South Gloucestershire Council's planning website.