For well over a century, the southern half of Thurrock has been hacked about with chalk quarries, sand and gravel pits and all too often, back filling with rubbish. After decades of operation, residents in the eastern part of Thurrock thought they could take a bit of a breather with the cessation of operations at the Mucking landfill site and its subsequent restoration and gradual transformation to a nature park. Wrong!

An application for a massive extension to a sand and gravel pit adjacent to Linford has been submitted to Thurrock Council. This is how it has been covered so far in the local news media: 20 year extraction plan for local landscape and: Mayor joins residents in battle against quarry that would devour local rural landscape.

Granted, the landscape in a large chunk of the area of the proposed quarry extention isn’t brilliant – it never recovered from the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease back in the 1970s. The objections are to do with the amount of extra lorry movements this quarry would put on local lanes and through surrounding settlements plus the consequent pollution and churning up of verges. Residents in the new estate at St Clere’s are not going to be happy at having a sodding great quarry and processing plant as their neighbour for twenty years.

Also, to the south east of the area of proposed extraction, just on the other side of the railway line, there’s the western end of the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park. To the south west, there’s a small pocket nature reserve consisting of woodland and wetland. Both of these are managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. These are sensitive sites and people’s enjoyment of them will be marred by the operation of a quarry and processing plant next door to them.

For an area that over the decades has had to endure more than its fair share of environmental degradation as a consequence of sand and gravel extraction followed by landfill, this application is a step too far. People move out here to get a bit of space – they’re not moving out to live in a sodding moonscape which is what we’ll get if this application goes through.

Local councillors are not happy with the proposed quarry extension. Cllr. Terry Piccolo (Con) who is also the Mayor is one of those leading the objections. You would like to think that the Mayor who is part of the ruling group on the council would be able to exercise enough clout to stop this proposal. The problem is that it’s down to the (unelected and unaccountable) planning officers at Thurrock Council…need we say any more!

Enough is enough! We’ll happily throw our weight behind anyone who is prepared to stand up against the environmental degradation this quarry extension will bring. Watch this space (and the local news media) for updates…