PLANS to extract millions of tonnes of minerals from West Berkshire’s countryside have been put out to a public consultation.
West Berkshire Council is asking for residents to submit their comments on seven preferred sites for sand and gravel extraction.
The proposals could see approximately 200,000 tonnes extracted from agricultural land at Waterside Farm, Crookham, as an expansion of Grundon’s works at Kennetholme Farm Quarry.
Other sites include Brimpton’s Boot Farm and Manor Farm, which could see 700,000 tonnes and 600,000 tonnes extracted respectively.
Works at Wasing Lower Farm could result in the extraction of 750,000 tonnes of sand and gravel, while approximately 500 tonnes could be taken from land at Firlands in Burghfield Common.
Cowpond Piece and Tidney Bed in Ufton Nervet have also been put forward as potential sites and could see up to 1m tonnes extracted from each.
The sites are included in the council’s Minerals and Waste Location Plan, which seeks to guide the development of minerals and waste sites in the district.
The plan aims to deliver 4m tonnes of construction aggregates to meet the needs of West Berkshire until 2036.
Council documents say that in the last decade, approximately four million tonnes of primary aggregates were sold from quarries in West Berkshire.
Outlining the proposals at a meeting last week, the councillor for planning, Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) said that each home being built needed 50 tonnes of minerals to construct, adding that West Berkshire “had an abundance of minerals”.
Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, Alan Macro (Theale), said that residents would have valid concerns over the large number of HGVs required to transport the minerals to processing plants.
He added that it was “regrettable” the council did not have a policy for more sustainable transport methods, adding that the Kennet and Avon Canal could be used to reduce road trips.
Proposing to put the document out for consultation, Graham Pask (Con, Bucklebury) said that residents would be able to raise any concerns during the survey.
Backing him up, Mrs Cole said: “This consultation is a work in progress, it’s a living document at the moment. We will take into account all comments. We do appreciate it’s important to our residents and that traffic movements may cause concern.”
She encouraged residents to respond to the consultation as it would help shape the council’s future plans.
The council said no waste sites were proposed as there was no need for additional waste management capacity.
A six-week consultation is running until Friday, June 30 and details can be found at http://info.westberks.gov.uk/mwlppo