DORSET Council is being asked to object to Hampshire’s quarry plans for the Purple Haze site south of Verwood.

Councillors will be told that the proposal for aggregate digging could have effects on nearby sites in Dorset and wants a further environmental impact assessment commissioned.

The quarry sites lies close to the Moors Valley Country Park and the B3081 with the northern end next to the Dorset border.

Hampshire has identified the site in its minerals and waste plan for digging building sand and for landfill waste – although the current application is only to extract sand and gravel.

Grundon Sand and Gravel Ltd want to extract 4.5 million tonnes of sand and some gravel over a period of 20-25 years from an area of around 35 hectares at the rate of 150,00 to 200,000 tonnes per annum.

This is expected to generate around 45 inbound and 45 outbound daily lorry movements  –  90 per cent of these are expected to be to or from the south on the A31.

Reports commissioned by Dorset Council say there could be effects in the wider area from flooding, the ecology, recreation and extra traffic if the application for extraction was approved.

It believes that surface water will be drawn westward, towards Dorset, with the potential for flooding on nature conservation areas including Ebblake Bog and the Moors River.

On wildlife Dorset Council says internationally important heathland species are likely to be ‘functionally linked’ to Dorset heathland and woodland sites nearby.

Dorset’s natural environment team claims the existing proposals “does not provide us with confidence that the impacts on habitats and species have been fully addressed.”

There is also concern that walkers and horse riders who use bridleways and paths on and around the Purple Haze site could carry on with their activities – but just over the border into Dorset, putting more pressure on Moors Valley Country Park and surrounding areas.

Concern is also being expressed by Dorset officers about restoration plans for the site once the digging comes to an end. They say the existing proposals are not appropriate and need to focus on priority habitats – specifically to help the know populations of Nightjars, Dartford warblers and woodlarks.

A Dorset strategic planning committee will meet on May 27 to decide the county’s response to the Hampshire consultation on the site.

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