Peaceful protest against quarry the 'equivalent of 96 Wembley stadiums' coming to West Norfolk
More than 100 West Norfolk residents took part in a protest on Sunday, voicing concern against the UK's largest silica sand quarry coming to their area.
A 'Peaceful Protest Gathering' was organised at Shouldham to prevent a "life-changing" silica quarry proposal being approved by Norfolk County Council.
The proposed sites for the quarry, which is said to be the equivalent of nearly 100 Wembley stadiums, would directly affect Shouldham and Marham.
Belgium based mining company, Sibelco, who are behind the proposal said they would pump sand from the site to their processing facility at Leziate if approved.
Sunday's protest was organised by Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATSS) to send a message to the county council that they do not want woodland and fenland destroyed to make way for the quarry.
Among the placards was one by six-year-old Harrison, which said: "Save the trees and bees.We need wildlife because it makes the world beautiful.
"The trees are precious because they make clean air."
Leaflets were also distributed to protestors saying "Beauty or the Beast. You could fit Shouldham ten times into the area they want to dig up for silica."
CATSS are fighting against two sites at Marham Fen and Shouldham, and were joined by residents, dog walkers and cyclists among those taking part in the 'Peaceful Protest Gathering.'
Alec Seaman, a member of CATSS, previously told the Lynn News: "The county council originally passed this through with no analysis to see if the consultation is effective.
"It's not just the proposal but the way they are doing it which is causing concern."
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss joined CATSS in January to view the proposed site.
She told the Lynn News: "People were not really aware of it when the county council took this up. It came out of the blue.
"This is a beautiful area and I think a lot of residents are concerned about the quality of life and why is this needed now."
A spokesman for Sibelco said: "Sibelco and its predecessors have extracted, processed and supplied sand from the Leziate area for more than 100 years. Norfolk produces a majority of the material required in the UK for clear glass making.
"Sand of the right quality to make glass is rare and, after an extensive geological investigation, Sibelco located a suitable resource in the Marham and Shouldham area which the company has put forward to the Norfolk Mineral Plan review.
"Sibelco awaits the next Mineral Plan public consultation by Norfolk County Council and the company will continue to engage positively with the local communities.
"There is a long history of sand extraction in the area and nature determines where it is located."
The next opportunity for objections to the quarry is reportedly between June and August 2019 after the county council delayed the next round of public consultation by three months according to CATSS.