Bengeo Quarry Update Meeting

Tuesday 6 September 2016, 8pm – 9.30pm at Bengeo Primary School

field lights Aug16

Find out the latest on the Bengeo quarry situation and the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign. Please join us for updates on the:
* Bengeo quarry proposal
* Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign
* Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan proposal

Participants will include:
* Andrew Stevenson, County Councillor
* Terry Betts, Chairman of Hertford Civic Society
* George Sandell, Chairman of CAGE campaign
* Dr Bryan Lovell, Senior Research Fellow in Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and former President of the Geological Society of London
* Hilary Durbin, Lower Bengeo Residents’ Association (LOBRA)
* Ben Penrose, Molewood Residents’ Association (MRA)
* Adam Taylor, Watermill Estate Residents’ Association (WERA)
* campaigners from Stop Bengeo Quarry

You will be able to support the campaign:
* buy your “Love Bengeo” bag
* order your Bengeo Field postcards with the winning photos from our competition
* watch the films from the Stop Bengeo Quarry events
* sign up for Stop Bengeo Quarry update newsletters

You may want to read the official statutory responses to the Bengeo quarry proposal. They are available on the HCC website. They currently include responses from:
* Environmental Agency * HCC Ecology * Woodland Trust * Lead Local Flood Authority * Flood Risk Management * HCC Highway * Affinity Water * HCC Archaeology * East Herts District Council * Hertford Civic Society * Campaign to Protect Rural England * Bengeo Rural Parish Council * HCC Landscape.

Bengeo Field Summer Challenge in August

bengeo_summer_field_challengeThe task for August is simple and you can do it when you have time:

  • Visit the Bengeo Field Lonely Oak Tree
  • Tie a ribbon, a message, or another type of decoration (you will need it to bring with you).
  • Find the treasure hunt box near the tree and open it. Every child can help themselves to one of the treasured contents of the box. Please just leave your name and age on the list inside. Please make sure to close the box tightly so rain can’t damage the content inside.
  • Find a stamp attached to the tree. Please stamp your Bengeo Field Summer Challenge card, even if it is already full of stamps. If you haven’t got a card, there will be brand new ones in the box, so you can start the challenge now.
  • Enjoy the walk, take some photos, post them on facebook
It’s fun and easy. And it starts on Sunday 31 July and finishes end of Sunday 21 August. Hope you enjoy it!

Chalk, gravel, sand and water: the proposed Bengeo quarry

article_imageOur community is debating a proposal to quarry sand and gravel from a field in Bengeo that contains boreholes supplying six million litres of water to Hertford each day. Here Dr Bryan Lovell considers three main questions:

  • How might quarrying affect the quality of water in the boreholes?
  • Does the project make sense commercially, when the cost of adequate protection of the water supply is taken into account?
  • Is it really necessary to extract this particular sand and gravel, so close to those boreholes?

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Waterford Heath Concerns

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We have received the following comments from a Waterford Heath volunteer, expressing concern about the planned extraction of gravel at Bengeo Fields:

“The campaign to stop the proposed quarry at Bengeo has been gaining a good deal of local support, understandably.

So I am writing to endorse the campaign and to highlight some things about the neighbouring, former quarry at Waterford Heath – and they are issues which could be relevant to Bengeo.

Many local people from the villages of Waterford and Stapleford, as well as some Bengeo residents, have been involved in the restoration of Waterford Heath, for several years. From our experience it can take decades for places to recover from gravel extraction – and it has been more than a generation now for Waterford Heath, – ie, since it was formerly a quarry.

For us, countless hours of voluntary effort have been involved: lots of campaigning with the various authorities went on before the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust took on the management of what is now, thankfully, a wildlife reserve. Recently major improvements have been made around the Heath and along the river Beane.

But all this hard work over the years – and all the gains made locally for the wonderful green belt countryside around Hertford – will be damaged by this proposed application in Bengeo. Its proximity to the school and so much housing, the risk of pollution and the impact on traffic, are, of course, even bigger concerns. It would be a disaster if it went ahead, and we and the environment would suffer from its impact for many years to come.”

Marcella Randall, Waterford Heath Volunteer

Get a ‘Love Bengeo’ Bag for Just £4

Our Love Bengeo bags are available for just £4 each.  Not only do they look good but you’ll be helping to support our campaign against gravel extraction in Bengeo. You can also buy our beautiful Bengeo postcards, featuring photos taken by our competition winners.

Click below to view or download the order form.

order_a_love_bengeo_bag

Ecology Comments

purple_plantHertfordshire Ecology have issued comments on plans for gravel extraction in Bengeo. Their report highlights shortcoming and flaws in the application, with the summary stating: “Overall, the current proposal is flawed in terms of inadequate site description, impact assessment and mitigation and fails to provide the certainty required of a development of this scale in this location. It is unacceptable and should not be consented in its current form.”

» Read the full ecology report here

Hertfordshire Ecology is an  ecological advisory service for Hertfordshire County Council and the 10 Local Authorities of Hertfordshire.  The services benefit from having access to sites, species and habitat information provided by the Hertfordshire Environmental Records Centre. Staff have access to a level of detail on species and sites that is not available more publicly. To find out more about their work visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/envplan/brcbio/eas.

Concern Over EA Response

Local MP Mark Prisk and Councillor Andrew Stevenson have both written to the Environment Agency raising concerns about the agency’s response to plans for gravel extraction in Bengeo.

Mark Prisk suggests that the EA has not met it’s obligations in protecting water quality, while Andrew Stevenson goes in to more detail about shortcomings in the EA’s response.

Click on the link below to read the letters from Mark Prisk MP and Cllr.Andrew Stevenson.

» Environment Agency letters ASMP Jun16

600 People Attend Field Fun Day

On Sunday over six hundred people attended the Bengeo Field Fun Day – a fundraising event organised by the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign held at Bengeo Primary School, which is only 320 metres from the site of the proposed gravel quarry.

Local MP Mark Prisk attended the event and voiced his strong opposition to the proposal. He recognised the strength of feeling among local residents and paid tribute to the coordinated response of the SBQ campaign – “I am backing the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign. It’s clear this proposal would be bad for people’s health, bad for the local environment and potentially bad for our fresh water supply.”

Mark Prisk MP discusses the quarry plans with local residents
Mark Prisk MP discusses the quarry plans with local residents

County Councillor Andrew Stevenson also spoke at the event, explaining the current status of the proposal and addressing many of the concerns of residents. He said that “after careful consideration of the applicant documentation and responses so far he has concluded that gravel extraction as proposed would threaten the community in five ways: 1. Water supply 2. Ecology 3. Air quality 4. Highway system 5. Landscape.” He concluded that “The planned area is simply too close to urban development to be viable”. A number of other councillors supported the event and spoke to local residents – Cllr Linda Radford, Cllr Sally Newton, Cllr Paul Phillips, Cllr Steve Cousins and Cllr Michael McMullen.

Libby Mountford, the Chairperson of the Governors of Bengeo Primary School, also expressed the school’s and parents’ objection to the proposed quarry, which would affect health and safety of school children for year.

Chair of Bengeo Primary School governors, Libby Mountford, addresses the event
Chair of Bengeo Primary School governors, Libby Mountford, addresses the event

Bengeo Field, which the campaign is trying to save, was celebrated in the competition for the best photograph of the field, and was also the inspiration for some of the entrants in the ‘Great Bengeo Bake Off’ and the SBQ shopping bags displaying the distinctive ‘lonely oak’ logo. Over 500 raffle tickets were sold with prizes sponsored by local businesses, including McMullen’s Brewery. The afternoon also featured live sets from local musicians, including Schrodinger’s Strings, Team Apathy, George Clark and Jakub, a year 6 pupil of Bengeo Primary School.

Schrodinger's Strings perform at Bengeo Field Fun Day
Schrodinger’s Strings perform at Bengeo Field Fun Day

Aska Pickering, the Chairperson of the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign said: “Bengeo Field Fun Day was a great success. Despite the autumnal weather at the start of the afternoon, so many people turned out in support of this fund raising event. We would like to thank everyone who came and all those who worked so hard to make it happen. It was an amazing Hertford community event campaigning against the quarry proposal.”

The Proposal is expected to be considered by HCC Development Control Committee in September.

More photos below

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