Silica dust causes silicosis. So health is a major matter when considering the proposed silica sand quarry in the Heacham/Dersingham area.
Silica dust has been added to the list of carcinogens by the National Institute of Health in the USA where mining for silica sand has increased due to its use in fracking, which as we know is widely employed there. There are also several other state reports on worries about the effect of dust from silica sand quarries.
As those working in mining and other dust-creating industries found to their cost, the awful effects of silicosis can take years to develop, by which time treatment is usually too late to be effective.
Whereas it is possible to provide effective protection for those working in the industry, this not available to the general public. This is a windy area. Our own windows often have a smearing of sand from the beach which is, I guess, about 300 yards away. So clearly, local people will be affected by the quarrying. Also, every day for years a string of lorries will be carrying the sand 20 kilometers to a treatment plant, thus providing a serious opportunity for pollution to those living along the route. So public health is a vital factor in the scheme.
Another aspect of this matter is Norfolk County Council’s handling of the proposal – the fact that the final consultation period is comparatively short and runs concurrently with the run-up to the EU referendum makes one suspicious that the principle a good day to bury bad news” is being employed.
Edward Wheatley, Hunstanton