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Quarry expansion protest

LOCAL residents came out in force to unite against further expansion of Mendip’s quarries on Sunday 9th January. 150 people brought a carnival atmosphere with them as they walked the site of the proposed quarry expansion, between the villages of Chantry and Mells, near Frome. 

Local children joining in with the demonstration.

Richard Mawer from Westdown Objectors Group said, “This application will take out around 200 acres of Westdown Farm land, dump the overburden into the disused and regenerating Asham Quarry, to quarry around 160million tonnes of stone over many decades causing a huge increase in lorry traffic. All this right next to the ancient and species rich Asham Wood.  

“This will produce an estimated 40 jobs but, in the process, will cause significant harm to some of Mendip’s most nature-rich sites and destroy any chance of Mendip, Somerset and the UK keeping to our net zero carbon targets to stop further climate breakdown. 

“If this application is granted the nature of the Mendip hills will be further degraded, and the UK will have zero chance of getting to net zero.” 

Cllr Mikey Gay, leader of the Green group on Mendip District Council added, “The Mendip quarries currently supply stone to the largest building projects in the UK such as Hinkley Point, HS2, and the road building programme, however Hanson cannot show why this extra stone is needed – particularly from Westdown Quarry at this point. We suspect they are cynically applying before Somerset Council and the UK government take overdue action to update their minerals policy in light of their commitments to net zero by 2030 and 2050 respectively.  The UK won’t get to net zero if applications like Westdown are approved.’ 

The objectors group say that the move to open and expand the quarry is also being rushed through ahead of the introduction of the Environment Bill – which, once on place, will require far great efforts and investments to retain and replace lost habitats. 

Local resident, Indra Donafrancesco said, “We are thrilled that with just one week’s notice more than 150 local residents turned up for a walk and picnic, to get to know each other and make plans to stop Westdown mega quarry. We look forward to seeing people in the next few months. Donations for the new Protection Camp are much appreciated. We must win this campaign to protect our local environment and to have any chance of stopping global climate collapse.” 

The planning application will come to Somerset Regulation planning committee in the next few months.  

For more information on future walks and picnics visit the Facebook page ‘ Stop Westdown Mega Quarry’. You can send your objections to the quarry expansion to planning@somerset.gov.uk re SCC/3795/2021, 3836, 3837 and 3838. 

Photo by @taltakingpics

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