Save Tyne Valley. Stop the destruction of greenbelt to create an open cast mine for gravel
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There is a proposal to destroy high quality Grade II farmland of great landscape value in an area of green belt. The scheme would directly, daily and severely impact a significant community of thousands of people for a period of 30 years.
Within one mile of Hexham, one of the largest, most picturesque and historic market towns in Northumberland which is a centrepiece of regional tourism, proposals are being presented for full scale open cast mining excavation of an area the size of 126 football pitches.
Sand and gravel will be extracted from Anick Haugh when the County already has 14.1 years of supply available. It is also likely that demand will reduce in a period where significant changes are likely in the sectors requiring the product.
The area of mining extraction is immediately adjacent to the Tyne River, in a prominently visible and much loved location from which the community would suffer noise, dust and traffic pollution at a markedly increased level each day for decades. There would be numerous conflicts in increased road traffic, with attendant risks.
The plans would result in the creation of a reservoir alongside the Tyne River which would fill with millions of cubic metres of contaminated groundwater. Evidence from elsewhere suggests that this site would not recover for many decades and even then would only create a standing body of contaminated water of no value to the community and the antithesis of sustainability.
The proposed engineering solutions are fraught with difficulty and it cannot be guaranteed that there will not be further flooding which could affect not only the site itself but neighbouring Corbridge. The Tyne River and its ecosystem will be threatened. The promise of an additional 10 jobs would be largely offset by the loss of employment in the agricultural sector and does not amount to sufficient increase in economic value for the wider community.
In a period when enhanced economic value is essential, this proposal would fragment the community, spoil the environment, impair tourism, risk heritage, impact on the livelihood of a local farmer, remove land from food production, cause traffic problems on an already heavily used and unsuitable roadway, disturb the peace, challenge the quality of life of the community, threaten the river and its ecosystem, and potentially risk lives.
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