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West Norfolk quarry plans opposed over aviation safety concerns to RAF Marham




Controversial plans to construct a silica quarry at Shouldham and Marham have been dealt a blow due to aircraft safety risks.

An objection from the Ministry of Defence has highlighted the potential risk posed to aviation safety at RAF Marham, alongside the potential for ‘wet dredging’.

The objection, which is revealed in a report to Norfolk County Council’s Infrastructure & Development Select Committee, which meets tomorrow, claimed there would be too much of a risk for bird strikes, a collision between airborne animals and planes which can cause accidents.

A protest took place against the silica sand quarry proposal at Shouldham Warren on Sunday, March 17
A protest took place against the silica sand quarry proposal at Shouldham Warren on Sunday, March 17

It comes after over 150 residents and campaigners attended a meeting at Marham in October to voice disapproval.

And South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss joined members of the Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATSS) protest group in January to view the proposed site.

The land is estimated to contain 16 million tonnes of silica sand.

Sibelco, who were behind the proposal, said they would pump sand from the site to their processing facility at Leziate.

The CATSS group has welcomed the report, but said its fight goes on in a Facebook post, claiming there was “good news and bad news.”

It said: “The good news is the new draft proposes removing the area in entirety. Whilst this is good news, there is always a but.

“We must remember that this is only a draft document and could be changed until it is ratified.”

The group is also worried that the warren remains listed as an Area of Search to mine for Silica Sand is a concern for CATSS.

The post added: “Our fight is not over. We must continue to oppose this devastation of our local area as hard as we can in the consultation period.”

But Ms Truss yesterday welcomed the report.

She said: “I have long argued the proposed site at Marham / Shouldham is not a suitable location for silica extraction and fully supported local residents with their campaign to have this site withdrawn.

Elizabeth Truss with CATSS campaigners Joe Gallagher, Chris Wilson-Low and Svetlana Ignatieva in January
Elizabeth Truss with CATSS campaigners Joe Gallagher, Chris Wilson-Low and Svetlana Ignatieva in January

“When I joined campaigners to walk through the area, it was extremely apparent the close proximity to historic and natural treasures, plus the fact RAF Marham is a close neighbour, made it unsuitable.”

A Single Issue Silica Sand Review, adopted in 2017, defined four areas of search for future silica sand extraction.

Two of these sites at East Winch and Bawsey have been concluded as suitable to allocate as seen in the county council report.



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