MP backs campaign against five new sand quarry sites in Norfolk

MP Sir Henry Bellinghaam with campaigners at Bilney Woods. Picture: Sarah Juggins.

MP Sir Henry Bellinghaam with campaigners at Bilney Woods. Picture: Sarah Juggins. - Credit: Archant

An MP has declared his opposition to a new quarry in a Norfolk woodland.

One of the proposed silica sand sites in Dersingham. Picture: Ian Burt

One of the proposed silica sand sites in Dersingham. Picture: Ian Burt

Bilney Woods, near King's Lynn, is one of five sites in Norfolk which have been identified by the county council as potential locations for silica sand extraction.

A final decision will be made by an independent planning inspector, after a review which will include public hearings.

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has met villagers from East Winch and West Bilney who claim quarrying would pose a threat to the 80 hectares of woodland and farmland near their communities.

He joined members of CASE (the Campaign Against Silica Extraction) for a briefing about the situation in East Winch and West Bilney and a walk through the threatened woodland.


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After the meeting, Sir Henry said: 'It is a truly beautiful wood, and one that is enjoyed by many walkers, riders and cyclists.

'I received a full briefing on the possible threat to the wood and surrounding area as a result of the proposal by Norfolk County Council to include this area as one of their possible silica sand sites.

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'Although this is only one of a number of sites that have been identified for further examination, I am totally opposed to valuable forestry woodland being quarried.

'Another reason why this particular site is so unsuitable is that it would put intolerable extra pressure on both Common Lane and surrounding roads including the A47.'

Campaigner Matthew Owsley-Brown said: 'Our hope is that Norfolk County Council will remove West Bilney from the list of potential sites so that this threat to our community and woodland is permanently removed.'

Norfolk County Council said it was not certain that sand would be extracted from areas under consideration.

The council had previously identified six areas where silica sand extraction could be a possibility, including land between Snettisham and Dersingham, near the RSPB nature reserve.

The west Norfolk site was taken off the list of potential silica sand extraction locations last year.

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