Frome quarry cannot be reopened

A meeting of Somerset County Council (SCC)’s Regulation Committee today considered an application to reopen Bartlett’s Quarry. The quarry is located just over 600 metres from the village of Nunney.

Under the current agreed arrangements, this quarry could not be opened until Torr Works  quarry is exhausted. However Aggregate Industries applied to the council to re-open the quarry. The justification being they needed to be able to meet demand in the south east, notably, for the controversial HS2 rail link.

Over 100 objections by local residents were logged. County councillors John Clarke (who was also a member of the Regulation Committee) and Martin Dimery had objected. They represent Frome West and Frome East respectively. Michael Gay, Mendip District Councillor for the neighbouring Postlebury Ward also objected to the development.

John Clarke, the Green Party representative on the Regulation Committee pointed out: “The condition that was put in place in 2020 referred to the unacceptable adverse impact on human health on the natural environment. Aside from Aggregate UK stating about HS2 , we haven’t seen any evidence of additional market pressures. I don’t think there’s been adequate transparency about higher demand. In my view there has been no material change since 2020 when the condition to restrict simultaneous extraction from Torr and other AI quarries.”

Martin Dimery, though not on the committee, was granted permission to speak on the matter. His concerns were on the environmental impact: “Only in November did Somerset County Council adopt its climate emergency plan. If we approve this, we will fail to meet our policies at the first hurdle.

The Committee, comprising seven County Councillors looked into consideration the economic benefits of the proposal. The unanimous conclusion of the five Conservatives, two LibDems and one Green, was not to approve the application. They noted that Aggregate UK “had not provided sufficient justification for running both Torr and Bartlett’s Quarries in tandem.”

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