Walk planned in protest at proposed new quarry site near Lichfield

A group of campaigners will be stepping out in protest at plans for a quarry near Lichfield.

The walk takes place on September 27, starting at 2.45pm, over part of the Alrewas West (Kings Bromley) site proposed for gravel extraction and residents are invited to join them. The route will take approximately one hour to cover, and will be over relatively flat farmland, and public footpaths.

The protest will start and finish in a field in Crawley Lane, Kings Bromley (next to the Kings Bromley Showground) and the field will also be used as the car park for the day. The campaigners have been offered the use of the cricket pavilion opposite the car park to provide walkers with refreshments afterwards.

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Local Councillors and Michael Fabricant MP will be accompanying the campaigners on their walk. It will also be an opportunity for residents to see the latest display material, which will include maps of the Staffordshire Historic Environment Record of the area.

Protesters are particularly concerned that eight high-pressure gas delivery pipes, of up to 36 inch diameter, radiate from the Transco Gas Pumping Station on the Alrewas Kings Bromley Road over the Wychnor North and South sites proposed for sand and gravel extraction. They point out that accidental fracture of one of these pipes, or of the Gas Station itself, could destroy the surrounding countryside. In 2008 this horrifying scenario actually occurred, in a horrifying incident at a North American Transco gas station.

The campaigners are also making people aware of plans to use the canal at picturesque Fradley Junction to transport sand and gravel from the Wychnor South Site. Currently they are collecting petition signatures regarding this to send to Staffordshire County Council.

The County Council’s response to the West Midlands Regional Assembly on this issue is in the process of being prepared and should be ready for submission in January. The campaigners have the full support of parish and district councillors in asking residents to write letters objecting to proposals for gravel extraction on both sites.

The address to write to is: Matthew Griffin, Minerals Policy Team Leader, Staffordshire County Council, Riverway, Stafford, ST16 3TJ. Or email: mat.griffin@staffordshire.gov.uk

For more information, email: gravel.group@btinternet.co.uk.

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9 Comments

  1. Classcrisis

    22nd September, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    The inland waterways network is in real trouble. British Waterways have had their funding cut in real terms and routine maintenance has suffered. It has long been believed by many within British Waterways and various waterways campaigning groups that the reintroduction of large scale commercial traffic on the system has the potential to save the network from terminal decline by making it relevant.

    Getting commercial carrying back onto the canal system has the potential to remove large haulage traffic from the roads. Michael Fabricant has previously raised concerns about the increase in traffic on the A38 from gravel extraction so we can only presume that they are highlighting the potential use of the canal as a positive thing.

    Another plan, part of British Waterways 2020 vision is to make the waterways more like the national trust and plug funding gaps by persuading local authorities which have waterways running through them to contribute to their upkeep through council tax.

    Can Michael Fabricant or anyone else concerned with this protest confirm their position on the use of the canal and any willingness to stump up money to pay for the upkeep of “picturesque Fradley Junction “. ?

  2. Canal User

    23rd September, 2009 at 8:56 am

    As a canal user I can tell you that the stretch between Alrewas and Fradley Junction is not suitable for commercial traffic cos the locks and canal are not wide enough to carry these barges. This is just an attempt by Cemex to look as if they will be taking heavy vehicles off the roads. There are lots of families who holiday on longboats, and residents who are there long term, so the queues going through the locks are long enough without commercial craft getting priority at them. The businesses at Fradley Junction are doing well because of the tourists and they will lose trade if people give up their caravans and boats because of industrial use. Think of their jobs, and leave Fradley Junction as it is.

  3. Unconcerned Citizen

    23rd September, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Given that the canals are used by so many for recreation – i think that perhaps they should recieve some local government funding. These canals are very much a “walk in the park” to many.

  4. Unconcerned Citizen

    23rd September, 2009 at 10:36 am

    In a addition to the above, people that live on these canals do pay council tax.

  5. Classcrisis

    23rd September, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    The vast majority of the canals on the system are narrow gauge and were built for carrying. A working pair can carry more than 30 tonnes of gravel. The canal there is perfectly capable of removing heavy traffic from the A38.

    The businesses at Fradley Junction are dependant on the canal but do nothing to plug the funding gap on the system – What’s your suggestion canal user, let the system decay to the point that large sections are closed across the country? Add the cost to council tax? Or should we be looking at getting carrying back so the system can take traffic off the roads and pay for itself?

  6. Canal User

    23rd September, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    The fact that the canal is being used by tourists is keeping it open. If they weren’t using it none of the repairs carried out recently would have been implemented, and without the businesses the tourists would not find the area such a good place to visit. Your working pair may be able to carry 30 tonnes of gravel but it wouldn’t travel very far cos it would hit the bottom, and 37.5 million tonnes is a lot of 30 tonne barges going nowhere.

  7. Classcrisis

    23rd September, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    How exactly do tourists using the canal keep it open? BW is funded partly by a DEFRA grant that has shrunk in real terms, partly from property and partly from boat license fees. The funding shortfall is around £30 million a year which for the most part is manifested in a lack of routine maintenance . With the current state of public finances the chances of this being filled by an increase in the DEFRA grant are zero in fact the grant was frozen before the current financial crisis.

    The option for BW is to increase license fees and force boats off the cut, and of course these tourists you mention, attempt to force local authorities to pay towards the upkeep of waterways in their areas or look at possibilities of re introducing commercial traffic.

    The fact of many canals falling now being less than 4ft deep is a direct result of BW being unable to afford to keep up routine maintenance. It should be noted that both the Trent and Mersey and Coventry canals are both still deep enough for a fully loaded motor or one sort or another. Any canal that isn’t should be, if only BW had the money to dredge.

    Perhaps you might want to investigate the breach on the Mon & Brec and the effect on tourism this had or perhaps the Stourbridge breach.

    The canal system is in real crisis, ill informed NIMBYs are of no use to it at all.

    Canal user or just another gongoozler with no clue as to the history, capabilities or pressures the canal system faces?

    You watch you don’t fall fowl of those vikings in their longboats mate. I’ll keep an eye out for you in my narrowboat though, chase them off for you.

  8. Canal User

    23rd September, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    As you rightly say boats pay license fees . Without the tourists owning/hiring narrowboats the license fees would be vastly diminished and the system would suffer more. Those areas where the tourist industry is strong are helping with the upkeep of other stretches. I suggest you haven’t been on the Fradley Junction bit of the canal recently, or you would know that barges bottom without 30 tonnes on board. End of conversation.

  9. Classcrisis

    23rd September, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    It would appear in the mind of the NIMBY a simple dismissal is enough to win the argument regardless of their ignorance of the issues.

    End of conversation because you say so or because you have no idea what you’re talking about?