A decision over how much quarrying must be carried out in Staffordshire is set to be made at a meeting in Lichfield.
The West Midlands Regional Assembly will meet in the city tomorrow (March 17) to decide whether current levels of gravel and sand extraction – which currently see Staffordshire producing 65 per cent of the region’s output – are correct.
And Staffordshire County Council has claimed that the outcome will determine the fate of the county’s communities.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Infrastructure Councillor Robert Marshall said:
“The Regional Assembly is set to make a momentous decision that will determine the fate of our countryside and village communities for the next decade. Excessive quarrying is enormously controversial.
“It’s a massively important decision and it feels like the region is sleep walking into perpetuating the mistakes of the past.”
Staffordshire currently produces 6.6 million tonnes per year, compared to the UK’s second biggest provider, Essex which provides 4.5 million tonnes a year.
And the County Council is calling on people to sign up to support their position on an e-petition at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/mineralmadness. Residents can also email their views to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as calling for a reduction in the county’s sand and gravel output, Cllr Marshall has also called for a better method of deciding quotas to be introduced.
“The present process establishes targets for the future on the basis of the patterns of the past and industry expectations. Times have changed. Increased recycling and construction efficiency is transforming the picture dramatically.
“The sands of time are running out for a fair deal. We are calling on our regional partners to reject the status quo approach to quarrying. This is about protecting communities across the West Midlands from unnecessary, disruptive and environmentally damaging extra quarrying, from the peak District to the Oxfordshire border, and from the Welsh borders to Nuneaton.”