Villagers are preparing to fight plans to fill Duncton chalk quarry with waste which they fear will cause pollution and put even more lorries on roads across the entire Petworth and Midhurst area.
“This has immense implications for the whole area – north, south, east and west of the quarry bringing many more lorries for the next 30 years,” said chairman of Duncton Parish Council Marie Bracey.
After an emergency meeting with neighbouring parish councils on Tuesday, Mrs Bracey said they would be mounting a major campaign against the plans submitted to West Sussex County by GPR Wessex Ltd.
The company wants to restore Duncton Quarry, using imported inert waste material including treatment activities to recover materials for reuse over the next 30 years.
Campaigners are stressing their opposition to the plan which they claim will wreck the geographical centre of the new national park.
They are also angry that the owners of the site are based on the south coast: “They will be bringing their waste from the south coast into the new national park.
“It’s not only bringing waste material to this beautiful area, it is sorting, processing it and taking it away, which could be up to 200 truck movements a day,” said Mrs Bracey.
She pointed out: “These lorries would be using the A285 which has been flagged up as one of the ten most dangerous roads in the country.”
She said villagers were also concerned about possible pollution from waste materials used to backfill the porous chalk quarry.
“Seaford College and East Lavington have private water supplies which come from the aquifer immediately below the quarry and this is another major concern for us.
“It could also get into the water courses which flow through to Chingford and Burton Mill Ponds,”
In their planning statement GPR claimed the current approved restoration scheme would leave a scar on the landscape, would not provide any beneficial use and would lead to a long-term health and safety risk.
“The proposed development seeks to restore the site in this sensitive location and provide ecological and landscape enhancement opportunities.
“It is considered the restored landform will provide a long term benefit to the National Park in terms of landscape, ecology and recreational opportunities.”
Duncton Quarry has planning permission until 2040 with restoration work required by the end of 2041.