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Digging deeper

Quarrying wrecks landscapes Quarrying wrecks landscapes Photo: © CPRE

Oxfordshire’s sands and gravels are an enormously valuable. But extracting minerals is such a dirty business that there have to be limits and carefully made plans to minimise disruption and misery for local residents.

In 2012 Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) consulted on its proposed Minerals and Waste Core Strategy.

This strategy will set out the vision, objectives and policies for meeting minerals and waste development requirements in Oxfordshire until 2030. It will guide decision-making for planning and broadly identify locations for development. It’s absolutely vital for us to get it right now to limit the impact on the countryside from minerals extraction. We responded to the consultations.

The demand for minerals drives consumption. The proposed quantities that Oxfordshire can supply depend heavily on figures in a report by Atkins. We consider these figures unreliable as they fail to consider the continuing reductions in demand for sand and gravel in the construction industry since 2011.

The quantities of sand and gravel to be supplied from Oxfordshire to other areas are unspecific and open-ended and the document proposes no limit on the volume of exports. We fear Oxfordshire may become a soft touch for other regions.

We will be watching closely what happens, and supporting groups like OUTRAGE.

To discover the extent and type of minerals extraction in Oxfordshire, use this map tool. Search 'Oxfordshire' in the location drop-down.

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