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Public feedback has helped the council identify suitable sites for sand and gravel extraction and the plans will now be subject to a final round of consultation.
Wiltshire Council is also challenging the government’s guideline figure on how much sand and gravel should be quarried in the county through the period up to 2026. Based on evidence, the council has found that less sand and gravel is required to meet forecasts of market demand and this lower figure is reflected in the plan.
People who wish to comment on the soundness of the document, for example the evidence on which it is based, are being encouraged to take part in the consultation over the next six weeks. Following this, the document is due to go before the Secretary of State for independent examination. The consultation runs until 12 March 2012 and people can view the document and comment by logging on to the council's planning portal pages.
Sand and gravel (mineral aggregate) is hugely costly to transport so, where possible, planning authorities are required to identify sites that can contribute to meeting local demand.
From 62 possible sites initially put forward by landowners, the council has, through site assessment work and full consultation with local communities, identified seven sites that could provide the 1.2 million tonnes of aggregate per year that it considers to be a sustainable rate of production; balancing the industry’s needs without compromising Wiltshire’s rich environmental and cultural heritage.
The potential sites suitable for quarrying sand and gravel outlined in the document are in the following local areas:
- Cricklade and Latton
- Calne South and Cherhill
- Alderbury and Whiteparish
Detailed site maps are available on the council’s planning and development pages on the website.
Conservative Cabinet member for Economy, Cllr Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, said:
We believe we have a sound plan. This last round of consultation will enable people to look at the document and challenge any technical points or inaccuracies in the evidence on which we have based these plans. After much work and extensive public consultation we believe we are right to challenge the government’s guideline figure on how much sand and gravel should be quarried in the county as we feel we have identified the right amount needed to meet the expected demand up to 2026 – the period of the plan.