Villagers Campaign Against Oxford College Over Proposed Quarry
by Connor Burke
A group of villagers from Barford, South Warwickshire have been protesting for the last six years against one of the wealthiest colleges in Oxford over the opening of a new 220-acre quarry.
The area for this proposed quarry would be Wasperton Farm, this land is owned by St Johns College, which are a University of Oxford constituent college and villagers of the nearby Barford say this could expose them to “toxic fine particulate silica dust”, which could cause “permanent damage” to their lungs.
The college had asked for Warwickshire County Council to make the land a part of their minerals land allocation plan and this will let developers extract larger amounts of sand and gravel from the site.
A “response document” has been issued by Smiths Concrete, who are a subsidiary of the giant Hanson minerals conglomerate, and they will be hoping to “allay the group’s fears” and “address the issues raised by local people”.
Their spokesperson said “Securing permission for a new sand and gravel quarry at Wasperton Farm would provide over one third of Warwickshire’s sand and gravel needs for 10 to 15 years, vital for use in construction and other sectors. Restoration at sand and gravel quarries can happen quickly and we plan to use a progressive approach at Wasperton Farm.” He concluded saying “Some areas would be fully restored in just three or four years and over half the site would be fully restored by the time mineral extraction has finished.”
The campaign group are still concerned over the restoration of the local land and the air pollution that the mining process will cause, their spokesperson said “This large 220-acre site, twice the size of Barford, which has rich fertile alluvial soil currently generating at least two salad crops per year, will never be restored to the same level of fertility again with the consequent loss of food production at a time when the nation needs more than ever to be able to feed itself.”
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