Firm reveals plans for 2,8million tonne sand and gravel quarry


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Plans to turn nearly 100 acres of farmland on the edge of Ottery into a sand and gravel quarry moved a step closer to reality this week.

Civic leaders have been asked for feedback on the environmental impact of the planned 2.8million tonne excavation at Straitgate Farm, just off the A30’s Daisymount junction.

And although no plans have been filed by building materials firm Aggregate Industries (AI), this ‘scoping opinion’ exercise is required before a proposal can be formally put forward.

Paperwork submitted by AI says that the company is initially proposing to process the excavated material at Blackhill Quarry on Woodbury Common.

Trucks carrying sand and gravel would be directed out of a new access to the north east of the farm, before heading south along the B3180 through West Hill.

The construction materials firm hopes to extract sand and gravel from the farm in two stages.

The first would see a ‘dry’ excavation of some 1.2million tonnes above the water table, followed by a 1.6million tonne removal of material below the water line.

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At this stage, Ottery Town Council is being asked for feedback on just the first phase, which Councillor Martin Thurgood criticised at a meeting this week.

He said: “I find it difficult to see how they can deal with the long-term issues - they should be addressing both, not just the initial stage. I want to know what they are going to engage with the community to find out what they propose to do to mitigate the negative effects.

“We should be pressuring them as to what they propose to do as to enhance the local area and ensure the adverse effects on the local environment are blocked.”

Cllr Roger Giles raised concerns about an increased risk of flooding, saying that three streams running through the proposed quarry area flow down towards Ottery.

He added that Cadhay Bog, an area of ancient woodland, could be threatened by the creation of a quarry.

“It is really important,” he said.

“There is very little in this country and it’s more than 1,000 years old.”