Tuesday, 11 June 2013

One council has the right idea

Kirklees Council recently considered an application for a sand and gravel quarry at Thornhill Lees, West Yorkshire. Only two people had made objections, and council officers had recommended approval, saying that “whilst this proposal would undoubtedly have an impact on the immediate locality, the effects would be limited and for a temporary period only".

But the members of the planning committee were having none of it, and deferred approval after criticising the applicant for not offering any immediate benefits to the local community. The Chairman said “I think it’s unfair for some of the people who live round there and I think these developers need to put something back into their communities”.

Who can argue with that? Quarrying in the UK makes 100s of millions of pounds for the major players, and their Swiss, German and Mexican holding companies, and yet Aggregate Industries, for one, hands back the derisory figure of 2p in every £100 sales to affected communities - communities that ultimately bear the cost through blighted homes, noise, dust and disfigured local landscapes. Is it any wonder that so many people would normally object to quarries? They gain so little and lose so much.