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Stowey Quarry asbestos dump refusal cheered by protesters

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

  • Photos from a previous protest against plans for an asbestos dump at Stowey Quarry in the Chew Valley

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Plans which could have seen thousands of tonnes of asbestos dumped in a Chew Valley quarry have been thrown out.

Applicant Oaktree Environmental wanted to store up to 645,000 tonnes of “stable non-reactive hazardous waste” in Stowey quarry over the next 10 years, including asbestos.

Objectors from Stop Stowey Quarry Action Group had voiced a number of fears, the main one being that asbestos particles, which can cause cancer if inhaled, could find their way into the nearby Chew Valley Lake, which provides water for much of Bristol, North Somerset and B&NES, and an increase in the number of lorries using the country roads.

Councillors on Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Development Control Committee yesterday unanimously turned down the application.

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Campaigners cheered and clapped as the decision was made at a meeting at the Guildhall, Bath.

Campaigner Lucy Pover told the Post: “We are really pleased – it’s a fantastic result for us, especially because it was a unanimous decision.

“I would like to thank everyone for the amount of support the campaign has had. As well as a petition with more than 4,000 signatures, nine parish councils and four MPs had also supported us in objecting to the application.”

Permission was initially granted for the application by the committee in July last year, despite opposition from Bristol Water and parish councillors. But, following continued protests, petitioning and the threat of a judicial review, the committee agreed last September to quash its decision.

The council admitted it had not adequately informed residents of the nature of the plans before they were considered.

The applicant resubmitted the planning application and council officers then recommended refusal.

Around 30 members of Stop Stowey Quarry Action Group held a protest outside the Guildhall before yesterday’s meeting, then packed into the meeting room, with many having to stand.

They had commissioned an independent analysis from chartered geologist Gareth Thomas, who spoke against the application.

Television presenter Dr Phil Hammond, who lives in the Chew Valley, also spoke against the application, pointing out the negative health effects of asbestos.

John Williams, from Oaktree Environmental, spoke in favour of the application. He said that the company already had consent for lorry deliveries to dump general waste, and permission for mineral extraction from the quarry if it wishes.

He added that the proposed waste dumped in the quarry would be stable and “non-reactive”.

Councillors rejected the application on the grounds that it had not been demonstrated that the quarry was an appropriate location for the disposal of asbestos waste, and that there was not sufficient information provided to show the waste would not have an adverse effect on the water supply.

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