Towards the end of 2019, Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. submitted an application to extract gravel and then backfill the site shown above with construction spoil. This was how we covered it early in January 2020: The applicant can stick this proposal for a quarry extension where the sun doesn’t shine. We weren’t mincing our words then and we’re not mincing them now. The proposal was greeted with widespread opposition from locals fed up with decades of mineral extraction and subsequent landfill blighting the eastern part of Thurrock. A large number of objections were submitted to the council.
It now transpires that Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. have struck a deal with Highways England worth £43.6 million to dispose of construction spoil from the Lower Thames Crossing approach road and tunnel construction. They were the only bidders for the contract. This is how it has been covered in the local media: £43 million spoil deal may have consequences as firm bidding for super quarry wins contract. A decision has yet to be made as to whether the proposed super quarry and landfill site will go ahead.
What can be said is that with Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. winning the contract from Highways England, there’s bound to be a lot of pressure on Thurrock Council to give the go ahead for the quarry and landfill. When we read about the contract in the news, our first thought was ‘how very f**king convenient!’ that the proposed quarry is only a short distance from the proposed road and tunnel construction site. Even though all the councillors down this end of the borough are dead set against this quarry going ahead, as regular readers of this blog will be aware, the planning officers at the council do seem to have a lot of clout. One can only imagine what’s being done behind the scenes to influence them in their decision making.
The application went in at the end of 2019. By March 2020, the coronavirus crisis had hit and we were in lockdown. Since then, we’ve been under a series of lockdowns and tiered restrictions. Because of the constraints on the distance people could travel, many people started to discover what was on their doorstep. That includes the Heronry Shaw Lake end of the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park and also the new(ish) country park at St. Clere’s – both of which adjoin the massive site that Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. want to desecrate.
We’ve been regular walkers in both of these locations over the last year. A lot of people we’ve talked to have said that having these spaces on our doorstep where they can get out into the open to get away from the stress of the weird times we’re in has been a life saver. Once they become aware of how their enjoyment of these spaces will be marred for the next twenty years by the operation of the quarry and landfill, not to mention all the extra lorry movements, there are going to be a lot of very angry people. Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. and Highways England are going to have one heck of a fight on their hands…
If you want to show your anger at this threat to the environment in the east of Thurrock, we have two versions of an A4 poster you can download, print off and display: