Haze campaigners urge residents to act

RESIDENTS concerned about plans to dig up even more land near Moors Valley Country Park for sand and gravel are being urged to attend a meeting next Thursday.

Campaigners are still hopeful that potential problems with the 700,000 sqm Purple Haze site, which is earmarked to provide an estimated 7.25 million tonnes of soft sand and 0.75 million tonnes of sharp sand in Hampshire, will put an operator off taking it on.

The lease has been up for sale for some time now, and so far no one has expressed a strong interest.

Now Dorset County Council is to consider an extension to that site over the border, estimated to be able to yield 4.5 million tons of building sand.

Tens of thousands of pounds were spent fighting Hampshire County Council in its bid to reserve the Purple Haze site in its waste and minerals plan for the next 20 years.

But despite thousands of protesters lodging their objections to the allocation of the beauty spot, the site remained in the plan.

Now Dorset County Council is set to consider its stance on an extension between Watchmoor Wood and the park, nominated by the Somerley Estate for inclusion in the Dorset Minerals and Waste Consultation, which is considering 44 county sites.

Dorset councillors are set to attend a meeting from 3pm to 7pm at Verwood Memorial Hall next Thursday, and the 3,400-strong Friends of Ringwood Forest group, which runs the No2purplehaze campaign, is urging everyone who can attend to do so.

Studies into habitats, hydrology, archaeology, the environment and landscape are expected to be carried out at the site before any quarrying goes ahead. A planning inspector appointed to examine Hampshire’s plans said any potential issues, such as whether the water table lies underneath the aggregates or over it, must be ironed out before any extraction takes place.

Campaign chairman Sarah Sumner said: “We are dismayed that this site has been nominated and are very concerned about the cumulative impacts, in combination with Blue Haze landfill, Plumley Wood Quarry, the IBA processing plant and Purple Haze Landfill in Hampshire, on Ringwood Forest.

“We agree with the inspector there are many uncertainties to the Purple Haze proposal in Hampshire that will be tested at the planning application stage.

“We hope that Dorset can fully answer all of our concerns at this stage of the process, with evidence, which Hampshire failed to do.”

Consultation on the nominated sites will run until February 13.


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