PLANS from a sand quarry to more than triple its number of lorries through Midhurst every day have sparked renewed concern over pollution and road damage in the town.
And now amid fears Midhurst is becoming ‘choked and poisoned’ Chichester District Council (CDC) has agreed to monitor the air quality on Rumbolds Hill for a year.
Our roads are cracking up under the strain of so much traffic and the pollution levels in town now probably exceed EU regulatory levels.”Cllr Gordon McAra
Inert Recycling has applied to increase the daily number of lorries through Midhurst to the Pendean sand quarry from 21 to a maximum of 75.
Submitting the plans to the South Downs National Park Authority the company said the increase would shorten the timescale of the six year permission to backfill with imported inert waste.
But Chichester district councillor Gordon McAra said; “The roads in and around Midhurst are already under siege from heavy vehicles, particularly the Inert aggregate lorries. Our roads are cracking up under the strain of so much traffic and the pollution levels in town now probably exceed EU regulatory levels.”
He said there was evidence the quarry operator already exceeded lorry movements permitted. “The national park has been ineffective in monitoring the existing movements so it is crucial they do not allow any increase in movement numbers.
“Any one who argues increased movement numbers means the work will be finished quicker could be in for a shock.
“There are many instances where the operator asks for more dumping capacity by just changing the agreed landscaping profile of the back filling spoil. This work could go on for years.”
Fellow district councillor Steve Morley said he was delighted there would be monitoring for excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide: “Driving through Midhurst is always a ‘stop-start’ affair and this produces more air pollution especially by lorries.
“If the results reveal more toxicity than permitted then it will help us in our desire to get a reduction in lorry journeys through Midhurst.
He said he was concerned about further proposals for sand quarries in the area: “If that extraction and quarrying goes ahead it will create yet more pits to be filled by yet more lorries. The cycle would continue and possibly leave Midhurst choked and poisoned in the ‘heart’ of the national park.”