Nick Herbert objects to new waste and sand extraction plans
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has formally objected to the proposed location of two waste facilities and a sand extraction site in rural West Sussex.
He has said waste plants near Ashington and in Small Dole, and mineral extraction in the South Downs National Park at Horncroft Common, near Fittleworth, should not be permitted.
In a letter to West Sussex County Council, Mr Herbert argued that the rural character of the South Downs and surrounding countryside and villages must be protected, and that the recycling proposals were "the right idea in the wrong place."
The Shadow Environment Secretary has visited all three sites in the last fortnight to learn more about the plans.
On 26 March, Mr Herbert visited the proposed sandpit on Horncroft Common. He also visited the proposed recycling centre in Small Dole where he discussed the plans with promoters Focus Recycling, after which he met local residents from the Small Dole Action Group.
And on 1 April he visited the site of the proposed composting facility at Broadbridge Farm near Ashington with Olus Environmental Director Nick Hawthorne, before receiving a tour of the firm's current operation at Wineham.
Mr Herbert said he did not believe that the composting operation at Wineham was a nuisance to local residents, and he strongly supported the recycling of green waste. But he was concerned that the Broadbridge Farm proposal would involve concreting over farmland and spoiling the countryside at the foot of the South Downs.
The MP also expressed his support for the principle of recycling waste wood, but he was concerned about the proposal submitted by Focus Recycling for a new facility on the Mackley Industrial Estate at Small Dole on the grounds that:
It would be too close to a Downlands village which has already endured many years of having waste brought to the Horton Landfill Site;
- Residents would have to endure the noise and disruption from additional lorry movements through the village, and the South Downs National Park, involving 20 or 30-tonne vehicles;
- While it would initially receive 10-15,000 tonnes of waste materials a year, this could increase to as much as 75,000 tonnes, and would include materials from across the South East region, including London, Brighton and Southampton.
Mr Herbert has also raised concerns about proposals submitted by the Barlavington Estate to extract 1.5 million tonnes of sand from a field near Horncroft Farm on the grounds that:
It is within the boundary of the South Downs National Park, which should receive the highest level of landscape protection;
- It will increase the movement of heavy lorries on local roads, including the B2138.
Nick Herbert commented: "I am a strong supporter of recycling initiatives, and I appreciate the need for minerals, but we must preserve the rural character of this part of West Sussex. These sites, which are either in or near the South Downs National Park, are simply inappropriate for plants that would involve movements of heavy lorries or the loss of countryside.
"We will certainly need more recycling facilities in future and this will require a concerted effort in the County to identify more sensibly located sites. These should be away from communities, adjacent to major roads and they should not involve damaging the countryside or disrupting rural tranquility."
The MP added: "These are all planning matters for local decision-making. I respect these processes and as an MP I have no power to interfere with them. However, many of my constituents in the three communities affected are strongly opposed to the plans, as are their parish councils, and I am therefore drawing attention to their concerns, as well as setting out my own.
"We must protect the West Sussex countryside and the tranquility of our villages. These recycling plans are the right ideas in the wrong places."
Notes for Editors
1. Focus Recycling (http://www.zerowaste2landfill.com/) have submitted plans for a recycling centre on the Mackley Industrial Estate in Henfield Road, Small Dole that will deal with recyclable materials including plasterboard, gypsum, plastic and timber. The plans have been opposed by Upper Beeding Parish Council and the Small Dole Action Group. On Wednesday 31 March, around 50 residents packed into Small Dole Village Hall to listen to a presentation from Focus Recycling and make their views known on the proposals. The planning application can be viewed at: http://eplanning.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1164. Comments should be submitted to West Sussex County Council by Friday 9 April 2010. It is anticipated that the County's Planning Committee will consider the application at a meeting in May or June.
2. For the website of Olus Environmental, who have put forward proposals for a composting facility at Broadbridge Farm, Ashington, visit http://www.olus.co.uk/. The plans have been opposed by Ashington Parish Council.
3. The Barlavington Estate has submitted plans to extract 1.5 million tonnes of sand over a 20-year period from a 54 acre site on Horncroft Common. For more information, visit http://www.proposedhorncroftsandpit.co.uk/. The planning application can be viewed at: http://eplanning.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1183. The plans have been opposed by Bury Parish Council. The consultation deadline is 14 May 2010.