DORSET Council is to object to a quarry planned for the Purple Haze site south of Verwood – but just over the county border into Hampshire.

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 a year. This is expected to generate around 45 inbound and 45 outbound daily lorry movements  –  90% of these on the A31.

A special Dorset planning meeting on Thursday voted to formally object to the application when it is considered by Hampshire planners.

The quarry sites is 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 then for landfill waste – although the current application is only to extract sand and gravel.

Dorset councillors were told that apart from the additional traffic, there could be effects in the wider area from flooding, to the ecology and to recreational use of the area which is popular with horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers.

Dorset Council officers believe that surface water from the site could flow westward, towards Dorset, with the potential for flooding on nature conservation areas including Ebblake Bog and the Moors River.

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

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 species  – to help the area’s known populations of Nightjars, Dartford warblers and woodlarks, all of which are now rare.

Councillors made a ‘minded to’ decision, delegating senior officers, to work up and submit a detailed objection to neighbouring Hampshire.

Technical problems meant that the special meeting was not live streamed, as planned, on Thursday morning although a recorded version of the meeting will be made available on the Dorset Council You Tube channel.

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