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Campaigners peacefully protest quarry plans for natural beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 15:55 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 17 March 2019

Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATSS) are protesting against plans for a Silica sand extraction quarry to be built between Shouldham and Marham in west Norfolk.

Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATSS) are protesting against plans for a Silica sand extraction quarry to be built between Shouldham and Marham in west Norfolk.

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Around 150 people have gathered to peacefully protest against a proposed 390 hectare sand quarry in a natural beauty spot.

Campaigners protest against a proposed sand quarry which will be on natural beaty spot Shouldham Warren in West Norfolk. PHOTO: Paul DixonCampaigners protest against a proposed sand quarry which will be on natural beaty spot Shouldham Warren in West Norfolk. PHOTO: Paul Dixon

It was the latest stage in Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATSS) campaign against plans for a silica sand extraction quarry to be built between Shouldham and Marham in west Norfolk.

Cyclists, horse-riders, dog walkers and families stopped to talk to the large group of protesters in the woods at Shouldham Warren, a popular walking hotspot which could be destroyed to make way for the quarry.

Norfolk County Council has put forward the land north of Shouldham as an “area of search” to mine for silica sand, a type of naturally granulated quartz.

This area covers 390.36 hectares with an estimated 16 million tonnes of silica sand to potentially be mined.

Campaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSSCampaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSS

The council has said that the area is a “preferred site,” meaning smaller specific site for extraction could come forward in the future.

Outline plans proposed by minerals company Sibelco UK Ltd to the county council state that they would pump the sand, which is used to make glass, from the site to its processing facility at Leziate.

CATSS members have said they believe that less money should be spent on creating glass and more spent on recycling it, and have expressed concerns about noise, pollution, and an increse in HGV traffic.

Steve Brewer, who lives a 10 minute walk from Shouldham Warren with his young family said he was shocked by the plans, which he said would drastically reduce the quality of life where he lives.

Campaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSSCampaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSS

“We moved here not long after my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis about three years ago,” he said. “I moved to improve my quality of life and now someone’s come along and said, sorry, we’re going to do the opposite.”

The proposals are part of the county council’s Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review, the next stage of which is a “preferred options public consultation this summer, followed by submission to the secretary of state next year.

A petition against the plans has been signed more than 1,200 times.

The next CATSS event will be a curry night fundraiser on April 27 at Marham Village Hall.

Campaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSSCampaigners protest against a silica sand quarry in Shouldham Warren. PHOTO: CATSS

Sibelco were contacted for comment.

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