Last week, Gillian Keegan MP visited The Severals to see for herself the area proposed for sand quarries. The local campaign group have issued the following press release:
“ As the deadline for responses to the Joint Minerals Soft Sand Consultation draws to a close (deadline 18 March) groups opposing the quarries have joined forces.
Representatives from Bepton, Woolbeding and Redford, Trotton, Stedham and Iping and Rogate Parish Councils along with Midhurst Town Council met with local MP Gillian Keegan last Friday. The meeting was also attended and arranged by the local action group Severals Against Cowdray Quarries who have been conducting a lobbying and media campaign against the quarries.
The group raised joint concerns over new quarries at the Severals and Minsted which would affect a huge number of constituents in the Midhurst area and on potential HGV routes through Trotton and Rogate. Midhurst already breaches EU Air Quality Standards and the possibility of another 200 lorries going through the town every day could cause serious health problems.
Front row left to right Mairi Rennie (Rogate PC), Loppy Gibson (Severals House, Woolbeding resident), Philippa McCullough (Woolbeding resident), Gillian Keegan MP, Katherine Steele (Bepton resident), Margaret Guest (Midhurst Town Council), John Beckett (Bepton PC),Back Row David Edmondson (Stedham/Iping PC), Adrian Waddams (Minsted Residents Group), Adrian Hearle (Woolbeding/Redford PC), Alex Gibson (Severals House).
The beautiful Grade I listed bridge at Trotton is under tremendous pressure already from the number of current HGV’s and the narrow ‘pinch-point’ in Rogate by the church causes regular tailbacks and build-up of diesel fumes as lorries wait to drive through. The bridge at Trotton was built as early as 14th C and is one of only 200 medieval five arch bridges like it left in the country.
Other concerns discussed with Gillian included clarification on realistic figures on the need for soft sand for the building industry as figures quoted in the consultation varied considerably. Also the fact that West Sussex exports in the region of 1.8m tonnes of sand to other counties, which is similar to the amount considered it needs – so, if we stop exporting sand to other counties could we be self-sufficient? If more soft sand is required there is also the possibility of using marine sand which most other parts of the country do, but not the south-east.
Gillian spent two hours listening and asking questions of the group before agreeing that further investigation was needed before considering creating new quarries in the South Downs National Park.
Gillian Keegan commented:
‘It was great to meet with representatives from across the community about this important issue, many of whom I worked closely with when I served as a District Councillor. I will be continuing discussions with the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council to further understand the implications of soft sand extraction and express the concerns that have been raised by the community.
I advise people to have their say in the consultation process before it closes on the 18th March.’
Issued by Severals Against Cowdray Quarries “
Don’t forget to have your say in response to the consultation. Details of how to do it are here.