CEMEX to bring forward plans for new quarry … routing HGVs through Sutton Lane
Cement maker CEMEX is bringing forward plans for a quarry on the former Langley Airfield site … and wants to route HGVs through Sutton Lane to the Colnbrook By-pass.
CEMEX is about to begin a consultation on its proposals for a new quarry on farmland north of Richings Park Golf Course and plans to route gravel laden trucks through Sutton Lane to the M4.
The company wants to extract 3 million tonnes of gravel and sand from the 130 acre site which, until 1958, formed part of the former Langley Airfield. And it’s in a hurry.
In a letter to interested parties sent out on Thursday the global cement and concrete maker says it wants to expedite plans to extract gravel before construction of the Western Rail Access to Heathrow begins, which it says will make those deposits permanently inaccessible.
“As you may be aware, Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRAtH) has proposed a railway tunnel to be built on this land. The gravel and sand beneath the land will be sterilised and lost to future use, if not recovered before WRAtH starts construction”.
The plans are not entirely unexpected. A year ago the company applied for a ‘Scoping Opinion’ from Buckinghamshire County Council – a preliminary step that required the council to set out what it would expect in an Environmental Impact Assessment.
CEMEX says it hopes to use the minerals recovered from the land to contribute to the sand, gravel and concrete needed by WRAtH and other developments in the area – reducing the need for road movements offsite. But that may not fit with the timescale for WRAtH which is currently expected to start construction in 2019.
What the Langley Airfield quarry would involve: - An entry and exit for tipper trucks opposite Richings Park Golf Club - Approximately 80 trucks per day (5.5 days per week) - Excavation for 7.5 years, with the whole project taking 9 years to complete
One Richings Park resident suggested last year that the proposal was “probably the most damaging planning request to our community since the M25″ while another feared the project could get in the way of a relief road; the most recent proposals for which would use the eastern part of the site. Iver councillor Paul Griffin, on the other hand, has already suggested the project helps advance the case for an Iver Relief Road.
And, as a sop to residents in Iver, Richings Park and Langley St Mary’s CEMEX says, in a postscript to its letter, that it “would be happy to agree a routing agreement that travels west along North Park and then travels south along Sutton Lane to the A4”.
OUR SAY: Here we go again. CEMEX wants to route gravel-laden HGVs for a new quarry through an Air Quality Management Area which not even Slough Borough Council expects to be brought within legal limits even by 2020, the Supreme Court deadline. Sutton Lane and London Road have already been identified as freight routes for WRaTH and HEx and just under a million additional HGVs a year are set to use the Colnbrook By-pass if SIFE, next door, gets approved later this month. Yet the road - and, more importantly, air quality - is already suffering under the strain of HGVs from industrial estates in Iver and Richings Park, not to mention the Axis Business Park. What hope does Slough have of bringing air pollution down to legal limits given this context?
CEMEX has appointed a specialist public relations consultancy to manage its community engagement over the scheme. It promises a different approach.
CEMEX believes residents deserve respect and have appointed SP Broadway to assist with community engagement
“Residents have a right to expect that when recovery of minerals takes place, extraction should seek to be in harmony with infrastructure improvements and development in the area, it should minimise impact on local residents, and it should make enhancements to biodiversity on the land when the recovery is complete. CEMEX is committed to this approach.”
A one hour preview of the proposals will be followed by an afternoon and evening exhibition at 1:30pm on Friday, 29th April, at the Longbarn Conference Room, Richings Park Golf Club. Long before the M4 was built most of the golf course itself would have been part of the aerodrome – which also encompassed the Westfield estate and much of Foxborough.
Representatives from CEMEX and members of the project team will be present at the exhibition to explain the proposals in more detail and answer any questions. Details of the exhibition and proposals will be made accessible from a link on its communities’ website –www.cemexcommunities.co.uk a week before the exhibition.
No separate consultation is so far planned for those impacted by the routing.