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Fight against mineral extraction at Moors Valley continues

By Stour & Avon Magazine  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

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THE Friends of Ringwood Forest are gearing up to campaign against the potential inclusion of a site in the forest just outside Verwood in the minerals plan for Dorset.

The plan has reached the point where a site plan is being shaped along with the associated public consultation process, and Purple Haze (South) is one of over 40 sites which have been offered by landowners, and lies next to Purple Haze (North) which has already been allocated by Hampshire as their strategic soft sand site.

The Friends, on their Facebook site at no-2-Purple Haze, say that it will further encroach on Ringwood Forest, Moors Valley and into our open spaces.

The public consultation process will be discussed today, Friday 6th December, at a meeting of the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Minerals and Waste Policy Joint Advisory Committee, and the Friends say they will attend as observers and have urged people to respond to the consultation.

The report to the committee says that following a call for sites issued in 2012, a total of 44 nominations were received, not all of which would be required to deliver the minerals strategy for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

It is likely that not all will be appropriate or acceptable. Nevertheless it is important to assess all of the nominated sites, and consult on these, to ensure that the Plan is based upon robust and sound evidence.

"In the light of the consultation findings it will be possible to identify the optimum combination of sites to deliver the minerals needed with minimal impacts. The results of the assessments will give an indication of the suitability of each site nomination for possible inclusion in the Mineral Sites Plan and is an important part of the preparation of the sustainability appraisal and will in turn inform the site selection process.

The consultation is scheduled to start on 19 December 2013 and end on 13 February 2014, and details 15 Aggregates (sand/gravel) sites, three Ball Clay sites, four Building Stone sites, two Portland Stone sites and eight Purbeck Stone sites.

Of the Purple Haze site, which is being promoted by its owners the Somerley Estate and is expected to be an extension of the working site to the north in Hampshire, the report recognises the potentially significant impacts on nationally and internationally protected species and habitats, and on the historic environment of the site within which a barrow is located.

It stated that further assessment is needed, and also identifies potentially significant impacts of around 100 traffic movements a day, via the operational site next door, and on amenity through the loss of recreational land and reduction in access to the adjacent Moors Valley.

It suggest no significant impacts on landscape or water from the development of the large 43 hectare site of coniferous woodland next the B3019 south-east of Verwood, which has the potential to move forward "provided certain impacts are satisfactorily addressed".

Nicci Brown

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