District Councillor Opposes Quarry

District Councillor for Bengeo Ward, Peter Ruffles, has written to the County Council detailing his objections to the proposed quarry north of Bengeo.

In his letter, Cllr Ruffles highlights the adequate supply of gravel, the benefits of the field for community use, environmental damage, highways issues and the potential withdrawal of the field from the Local Minerals Plan.

Peter Ruffles’ letter is reprinted below.

Continue reading →

District Council Withdraw Objection

District Council Withdraw Objection

East Herts District Council have written to the County Council withdrawing their earlier objection against the Bengeo quarry.

In their new letter they comment: “East Herts Council has no objections in principle to the proposed extraction, and in respect of the associated temporary built structures considers that the benefits of extraction and subsequent housing delivery would represent very special circumstances that would clearly outweigh the harm.” AND “Whilst it is acknowledged that the proposed office buildings, bunds, and associated equipment would fail to preserve the openness of the Green Belt, and therefore represent inappropriate development, these are only temporary structures.

However, the letter goes on to raise some concerns about the application: “In respect of the detail of the proposed scheme, the Council does have some concern, as mentioned previously, that the site is of an open aspect in an elevated position, publicly accessible, and in the immediate surroundings of Hertford and links to Bengeo and other villages and is less contained than other areas of Rickneys Quarry.

The Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign is trying to establish what lies behind this change in the council’s response. To keep fully up top date with developments please follow our Facebook page.

» Read the council’s letter here

Bengeo Field Usage Survey

Bengeo Field Usage Survey

We are carrying out an updated survey about Bengeo Field is used by the public. Please can you respond to this very short questionnaire on Surveymonkey & share with everyone you know in Hertford & surrounding areas. If we want to influence the decision about the future of Bengeo Field, we need to provide the results of the survey before Christmas.

» Follow this link to fill out the survey

CPRE Continue To Oppose

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has written to the County Council restating their concerns about the potential quarry north of Bengeo.

In their letter to planning officer Felicity Hart, they say: “we still have a number of concerns about the proposals and our previous letters are still relevant“.

They also refer to uncertainty regarding land to the south of the site and the current Minerals Plan review.

» Read the CPRE letter here

Civic Society Urge Refusal

Hertford Civic Society have written to the County Council urging them to refuse planning permission for a quarry north of Bengeo.

Their four-page letter acknowledges the need for gravel extraction but raises a number of issues about the suitability of the Bengeo location, including the impact on the local environment; noise, traffic and dust nuisance, lack of a detailed restoration plan,  and the changes included in the current Minerals Plan Review, which removes the Bengeo field from the list of Preferred Sites.

A second planning application was submitted after the first application was refused earlier in the year. The original plans is also the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the County Council’s decision.

» Read the Civic Society’s letter here

District Council Formally Objects to Quarry

District Council Formally Objects to Quarry

East Herts District Council has formally objected to the second planning application for a quarry north of Bengeo.

In a letter to Hertfordshire County Council, the authority’s planning officer Susie Defoe writes: “… the proposed office buildings, bunds and associated equipment would adversely impact the openness of the Green Belt and therefore would not constitute appropriate development“.

The letter also refers to damage caused by the “invasive” proposals and the the lack of detailed restoration plans.

In concluding, the District Council’s letter states: “East Herts Council objects in principle to the development and is not satisfied that the previous reasons for refusal have been properly addressed satisfactorily“.

» Click here to read the District Council’s full response

Water-Supply Boreholes in Bengeo Field Preclude Safe Quarrying

Water-Supply Boreholes in Bengeo Field Preclude Safe Quarrying

Our consultant geologist Bryan Lovell has written to the Planning Inspectorate detailing concerns over the threat to local drinking water presented by the proposed quarry north of Bengeo.

In his letter, Dr Lovell describes the geology of the site and the risks identified not only by the applicant’s own consultants, Hafren Water, but also by a report for McMullen’s Brewery in 1992. The risks were also identified by the Lea Valley Water Company in 1990.

Fractures​ ​in​ ​the​ ​chalk​ ​aquifer​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​any​ ​pollution​ ​can​ ​reach​ ​the​ ​Wadesmill​ ​Road​ ​boreholes​ ​rapidly.  But​ ​clearing​ ​pollution​ ​from​ ​the​ ​small​ ​pores​ ​within​ ​the​ ​body​ ​of​ ​chalk​ ​rock​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lengthy​ ​and​ ​costly​ ​business.   By​ ​the​ ​time​ ​any​ ​pollution​ ​is​ ​detected,​ ​lasting​ ​damage​ ​may​ ​well​ ​have​ ​been​ ​done​ ​to​ ​Hertford’s​ ​aquifer.  Monitoring​ ​of​ ​pollution​ ​as​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​place​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​main​ ​issue:​ ​pollution​ ​must​ ​be​ ​prevented​ ​from​ ​the​ ​word  go.
Dr Bryan Lovell

The letter goes on to address the necessary steps that would need to be taken to protect the water supply and the feasibility of those steps.

In his closing comments, Dr Lovell says: “You​ ​wouldn’t​ ​drill​ ​boreholes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​chalk​ ​at​ ​the​ ​edge​ ​of​ ​a​ ​working​ ​quarry​ ​to​ ​supply​ ​a​ ​town​ ​with​ ​water.​ ​So  don’t​ ​put​ ​a​ ​quarry​ ​by​ ​these​ ​boreholes​”.