Herts County Councils Plans
400 Lorries per day, 6 days a week for the next 22 years
February 2023: PUBLIC RESPONSES to HCC Plan 2040 can be accessed at
If you can spare any money to help us fund professional reports and other activities to oppose the quarry, please visit https://gofund.me/57511fa1
In November 2017, The Briggens Estate became a preferred site by Hertfordshire County Council for the extraction of NINE MILLION TONNES of sand and gravel for over TWENTY YEARS.
Move on to July 2022 and the site, which should be renamed STANSTEAD ABBOTTS QUARRY is now the Councils number one site in the Hertfordshire Minerals and Waste Local plan 2040
We all need to ACT NOW to stop this madness
Cancer Risks. Destruction. Noise. Congestion. Pollution.
Whilst a quarry is in use the effects on the local environment are more than just the loss of wildlife habitats and the obvious visual impact. A working quarry needs methods of transportation and this means that large amounts of machinery and heavy traffic will be brought into the area, causing an increase in local noise, pollution and erosion.
Silica dust from construction sites is proven to increase cancer risks.
See this government website for more information.
Silica Dust is Proven to Increase Cancer
The most harmful dust particles (respirable crystaline silica - RCS) are invisible to the human eye in normal daylight. These tiny RCS particles can easily travel considerable distances, penetrate deep into unprotected lungs and cause silicosis - for which there is no cure. The Health and Safety Executive lays down strict guidelines for Personal Protection Equipment and procedures for people WORKING in close proximity to RCS. Unfortunately, the HSE remit does not extend to people passing by, living in the vicinity or spending day after day in the nearby school playground. The risks of silicosis are well known. This NHS link gives some basic details but a recent report in the Lancet reveals a much higher prevalence than was previously understood.
Future Landfill Site
Dirt. Disease. Abandoned Heritage. Health & Safety Issues.
The site contains mostly low quality gravel, the main commercial aim is to turn it quickly into a landfill site once extraction begins
It is crucial that Herts County Council hear from us all
How to respond to the Quarry Consultation in 3 simple steps:
1) Download this form and print it out :
• Fill in your name and address and sign page 1
• Get a large pad of blank paper to write your comments out in longhand and take your time doing this.
2) The way the consultation has been written means you have to link your comment to a section of the Consultation Draft Document which can be found here : https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/.../cd-01-minerals-and...
This is 188 pages of statements which overwhelmingly say things like ‘We like green things’ so it’s difficult to see where you link your comments to – however below is a list of paragraphs which should enable you to write on most topics without having your comments ignored together with a very brief comment on the issues as I see them. This is not meant to be exhaustive and I would suggest you choose 5 items and make the comments your own view, expanding on your concerns for life in the area. Please don't just copy the below out as it then will be discounted as a basis for a response by the Council.
• Sustainable Development / Paragraph 3.7 ‘Clean air for all by 2030’ – silica dust, mud, traffic fumes etc
• Policy 1 / Paragraph 4.1 ‘The sixth carbon budget aims to cut emissions by 78% by 2035’ – the quarry site would be growing year by year through to 2035 with hundreds of HGVs entering and leaving the site
• Policy 1 / Paragraph 4.12 ‘Managing flood risk’ – removal of 8m tonnes of gravel from a clay site is going to make the drainage of the site worse and a large reservoir where the top of Cats hill with gravel remaining in place on the slope facing the village is an catastrophic flood event waiting to happen.
• Policy 2 / Site specific requirements for the Briggens Estate (v) ‘an appropriate buffer is to be established on the northern and western boundary in accordance with the site brief – at the very top of Cats Hill above Stanstead Abbotts where the majority of the quarrying activity is to take place there is a stretch of site around 200m in length above the village with no additional buffer above the village. The topography of the site has not been considered in the provision of appropriate buffer zones and in the North West this needs to be increased.
• Policy 2 / Paragraph 4.20 – From a more up to date report than used in the Consultation document ‘UK Minerals Yearbook 2021’ the amounts of gravel produced nationally have dropped from 68m tonnes in 2016 to 57.7m tonnes in 2020 so an obvious reduction in use. Imported quantities have also reduced from 879,000 tonnes in 2016 to 348,000 tonnes in 2020 a decrease of more than 50%. It stands to reason that the required annual production figures should also be reduced.
• Policy 4 / Site Safeguarding – the Minerals Evaluation produced for Hertfordshire county council for the Gilston Development used a wanted ratio of overburden (being the soil and clay overlying the gravel) to gravel being better than 1:1 which means needing 5m soil then 5m gravel and declared this uneconomic. For the Briggens estate a ratio of 2:1 overburden to minerals was used which means anything better than 10m soil to 5m gravel is declared economically viable. Something is a little fishy here.
• Policy 13 / Restoration, Aftercare and After-use. All sounds good apart from the fact that Tarmac are only leasing the site and any promises made by them will not be enforceable on City and Provincial who are the owners of the land. Following completion of the mining work, Tarmac will hand the site back to the Owners who are not bound by the H106 agreement.
• Policy 13 / (i) Much of the restored land following quarry work looks like the side of a motorway junction and unlike natural countryside. Where Tarmac are proposing to leave large holes in the group as reservoirs, this is mainly down to the cost of inert land fill work. The back of Cats Hill is being restored as a large reservoir – see Policy 1 flood risk above.
• Policy 14 / Green Belt. While quarries are compatible with the green belt designation the size and proximity to thousands of acres being developed at Gilston means that an unjustifiable amount of contiguous green belt is being ruined for a long period of time. This will negatively impact air quality, wildlife, amenity etc
• Policy 15 / Biodiversity and Geodiversity. Olives Farm is a haven for numerous protected species including Great Crested Newts, Barn Owls, Tawny Owl, Barbastelle bats, Sky Larks, nesting plovers (especially in the commons around the back of Cats Hill). This year Olives Farm were refused permission by East Herts to lightly scrape the topsoil to have the commons entered as an official nesting site for Plover due to lines having been drawn on the recent Lidar plots for the land. However Tarmac will be destroying the entire site for ever. Perhaps officials did not want any note of Plovers using this site?
• Policy 16 / Landscape and Green Infrastructure. Views from Olives Farm towards Lords Wood are listed as Cherished Views within the Hunsdon Neighbourhood Plan.
• Policy 18 / Historic Environment. Tarmac’s original archaeological assessment of the site stated that ‘The designation of Archaeological Significance’ by the council only identifies that an area may contain archaeology’. Since then I hope we’ve shown that Olive Farm and Cold Harbour Farm contained a thriving Roman settlement, with far earlier settlement around Olives back to the Bronze age. Boxes and boxes of finds are available for inspection on the farm. The reports commissioned by Tarmac seek to downplay any finds and emphasise the idea that farming has degraded any sites to be of little interest. Once the area has been dug up, crushed and processed there will certainly be little of interest to find here for future generations. The same is true for the Lidar finding on the commons land south of the Hunsdon Road.
• Policy 19 / Protection and Enhancement of Amenity. Light pollution – Tarmac is planning to remove the to the A414 and then restore it 4m lower so that less inert fill is required. This has the potential to remove the ridge of the hill and expose any houses along the Hunsdon Road to light pollution from Harlow together with an unacceptable amount of increased noise pollution from the A414. Any proposal should be made to at least include the retention of all current ridge heights.
• Policy 19 / Protection and Enhancement of Amenity. Air Quality – dust over the village, noise from quarrying activities, traffic pollution etc
• Policy 21 / Water Management. The hydrology report written by BCL Hydro for Tarmac does not even mention the closest springs on Olives Farm. These springs are fed by the land towards Long Springs where the processing site is to be placed. Gravel quarries are notorious for negatively affecting water tables and a small change to the landscape will destroy the springs that have attracted people to this alley for thousands of years. The farm was once purchased by Henry VIII purely to safeguard the water flow down to the pike ponds that are now designated monuments in Lords Wood.
• Policy 24 / Transport. We’re working on a more specific report for transport as there will be hundreds of HGV lorry movements in and out of the site each day. All having to turn left onto the A414 towards Harlow and almost certainly leaving Hertfordshire so not providing much benefit to the county itself. All access will be from Harlow up the sliproad, turning right at the junction which a difficult turning on a good day. With hundreds of vehicles using this site it’s almost certain to raise the number of local fatalities.
• Policy 25 / Public Rights of Way. Very few people choose to walk up Cats Hill due to it being so steep. I can foresee tens of thousands of pounds being spent on new paths that no one is likely to use. Tarmac is actively talking about linking Stanstead Abbotts to Gilston by footpath and I don’t see this being a worthwhile positive addition to the community.
3) Sleep on what you have written then write some more. Get annoyed that these people are doing this to your area then write more.
Send the result to:
Spatial Planning Unit CHN216
Hertfordshire County Council
If you could please send me a copy : firstname.lastname@example.org that would be really appreciated.
A bottle of decent white, red or pink will go to the best effort received.
The closing date is the 30th September so make sure all the family have their own representations. Everyone in the family has a voice so please help those that can’t sit down for long enough to write.DEADLINE EXTENDED for replies to 31st October 2022
There are of course many more arguments; such as the individual identities of all the local villages are almost certainly doomed. Harlow will absorb Roydon, Hunsdon & Stanstead Abbotts within 50 years. What we need is a green belt around each community – which was the idea behind the community woodland on Cats Hill though that has now been completely quashed by Tarmac becuase much of the gravel they want is in Cats Hill.
Development should happen outside these central communities to preserve their identity – the blocks of papier-mache luxury dwellings don’t add anything to the villages that they vampirically hang from. I’ve not found a tag onto which I can easily hang this annoyance though I’m sure if you look you'll find somewhere suitable.
You can of course respond online though that make life just far too easy for people to ignore so do break out a biro. Thank you for getting this far and please take some time to write to the lovely council.
Contact members of the Growth, Infrastructure, Planning and Economy panel
Let them know how this will affect you and your families lives. This list needs updating, but feel free to lobby Herts County Council in anyway you can.
SUPPORT FROM OUR COMMUNITY
Thank you to Mark Prisk MP (www.markprisk.com) who is helping us object to this proposal.
We need all the help and support we can get - please contact us if you or someone you know can help.
St Andrews Primary School - Year 4 Students in 2020
Complete the form below