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A Staffordshire County Councillor has demanded a report into quarrying in the Lichfield area be made public.
Councillor Matthew Ellis
The findings of the report appear to show the county is producing more quarry aggregates than it should be, according to Cllr Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East). The independent consultant’s review suggests that Staffordshire’s contribution could be somewhere between 23 per cent and 29 per cent – not the current 66 per cent. But the report has not been made available for closer scrutiny since it was discounted for technical reasons last week. He said:
“This is quite bizarre. We’re not talking nuclear secrets here, this is about quarry options. I find the cloak and dagger stuff offensive and the official I spoke to tried hard to reassure me that the ‘adjusted’ figures would appear in a wider report on quarry apportionment over Christmas. He even said I ‘shouldn’t worry’. “Well actually I worked hard in June to get an electoral mandate to be able to worry and the large number of constituents I’ve spoken to over the weekend entirely agree that bureaucrats at the Region have no business withholding information like this. I want the ‘unadjusted’ report and if there’s nothing to hide there should be no problem providing it to me in its original unadjusted form.”
The WMRA has been consulting on behalf of the Government on the amount of quarrying which is needed in the region over the next 20 years. And as part of that process quarrying companies have put forward 38 new proposals amounting to more than 150million extra tonnes of aggregate extraction in Staffordshire alone. Cllr Ellis, who has been at the forefront of a campaign to oppose more new quarries in the area
“This is about fairness. Few people are saying we don’t want any quarrying at all but after many years of no restrictions under previous Labour County Councils and a failure to protect our local countryside, Staffordshire currently provides a massive 66 per cent of all the sand and gravel for the entire West Midlands Region. “Frankly that is outrageous and not fair when the next largest provider contributes just nine per cent. The new proposals at Weeford, Fisherwick and Comberford are some of the biggest in the county and amount to an extra 15.5 million tonnes of aggregate which would result in another 2,500 quarry HGVs thundering along local roads every single week and yet more local communities adversely affected.”

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.