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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Wildlife Trust highlights concerns over proposed sand and gravel quarry in Rushcliffe

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With the latest stage of consultation on the Nottinghamshire County Minerals Plan now closed, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, has outlined its concerns over a proposed sand and gravel quarry at Barton-in-Fabis.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a registered charity which works to protect and restore wildlife across the county, believes that as they currently stand, the proposals, by London Rock Supplies Ltd, would have an irreversible impact on designated Local Wildlife Sites and are contrary to national and local planning policies.

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The Trust believes that the quarry would lead to substantial loss of habitat at both Barton Flash and Brandshill Marsh Local Wildlife sites and negatively impact ancient woodland at Brandshill Wood. The proposals could also damage important local bird populations, both within the proposed quarry site, and also at the charity’s best known site – Attenborough Nature Reserve – which sits on the opposite bank of the Trent from the proposed quarry. 

Since 2015 the Wildlife Trust has consistently highlighted that this proposal would be damaging to wildlife habitats and would impact on protected species. The charity does not support its allocation in the draft Minerals Plan and feels that the developer’s application is premature. Speaking about the proposals Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation Janice Bradley said: “In its current form this quarry would lead to considerable loss and degradation of Local Wildlife Site habitats and have a negative impact on protected and scarce species.

It is contrary to both the National Planning Policy Framework and also to policies in the emerging Minerals Local Plan. We feel that both the draft allocation and planning permission should be refused.”

The Wildlife Trust, which has worked alongside the County Council for several years to strengthen minerals planning policies relating to wildlife protection and future site restoration for the highest priority habitats, feels strongly that this application falls well short.  

In addition to loss and damage to priority habitats such as floodplain grasslands, the proposals would impact on protected species including Schedule 1 protected birds and several species of bat. The Trust is also concerned about impacts on nearby sites including Attenborough Nature Reserve. 

The charity has concerns over potential noise disturbance for birds at both Brandshill Wood and Attenborough Nature Reserve. It is particularly concerning that the population of scarce birds which overwinter at Attenborough, including greylag geese, wigeon and teal, could be reduced if they lose access to permanent grasslands at Barton across the river.

Mrs Bradley explained: “We recognise that sand and gravel extraction is required and we have a long history of working constructively with minerals companies to restore sites and to create new habitats, but of all the sites included in the draft Minerals Local Plan, this is by far the most ecologically damaging. We’re currently facing ecological and climate emergencies and it is simply not acceptable for a developer to propose to destroy remaining fragments of high quality wildlife habitat for this type of development. The applicant has consistently underestimated the scale of the impacts and exaggerated the benefits of proposed mitigation measures. Whilst accepting that carefully located extraction followed by high quality habitat restoration can help wildlife’s recovery, this proposal fails on every level. 

The public consultation on the New Minerals Local Plan closed last week and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust submitted its full response to Nottinghamshire County Council. 

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