MORE than 500 objections have been raised in the hope that an application for a 160 hectare quarry will be thrown out.

The plans for the Fullamoor Quarry, at Clifton Hampden, near Abingdon, have received a storm of protest from campaigners who have raised concerns about the effects an industrial operation would have on the countryside.

Leading the opposition to the plans is community group Bachport (Burcot and Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames), with support from Clifton Hampden parish council, Little Wittenham, Appleford and Culham.

Chairman Ian Mason said: "The fact that more than 570 people have taken the trouble to tell the county council that a quarry is not wanted nor needed in this peaceful part of the countryside says a lot. It reflects the deep level of concern in communities.

"To win the argument we need two things: a strong policy-based case and strong community opposition.

"We are confident we have established a case against the quarry."

The plans, submitted by Hills Quarry Products, would see an area of more than 160 hectares being worked to obtain 2.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel reserves over ten years.

The development would generate traffic of 570 heavy goods vehicle movements per week, where it will travel wither into or out of the site.

After the work, the applicants will restore the site, focusing on nature conservation and providing leisure facilities including: two small lakes – one for low key, non-motorised  recreational use and the other for a wildlife habitat to increase the biodiversity of the area.

It will include additional footpaths, aftercare management for new habitat areas and bird management to reduce bird strike hazard for aircraft.

The restoration would have an operational life of 25 years.

But protestors argue the quarry is not needed, is in the wrong place and there are alternative sites near Wallingford that could be exploited.

Mr Mason added: "They say a quarry – about the size of 165 football pitches – would generate more traffic on an already over-loaded road and they fear, noise and dust pollution and the risk of flooding.

"Abingdon town council is also worried about the implications of heavy lorries travelling through the town.

"The Bachport team has picked over the statements and the company's case has been rigorously examined and challenged."

A spokesman from Hill Quarry Products said: "Our planning application was submitted after a comprehensive 18 month public consultation.

"We believe our proposal addresses issues raised during that consultation and will provide essential materials to supply an identified local need.

"During this process we made significant efforts to engage with local interested parties and provide them with the correct information to allow them to make informed decisions about our application."

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