Oxted Sandpit Minerals Plan
Mohamed made the following statement outside Surrey County Hall today where the hearing into Oxted Sandpit Minerals Plan was taking place.
"I’m here today with so many of my neighbours, to fight a battle that must be won against Surrey County Council and its plan to destroy large parts of the English countryside by allowing excessive and unnecessary quarrying. This is a very important matter to the local community and to me.
"In Oxted, we already have one huge quarry which is making life intolerable for us all. Lorries are dumping waste all day long because Surrey County Council has failed to put any condition on the planning permission to limit the numbers. Now this same council wants to open another quarry less than a mile away. It is just not reasonable to expect us to take any more, so the whole community is joining together to fight this.
"These lorries thunder down our winding, narrow roads – the same roads used every day by young families taking their children to school. These roads are not big enough for 32 tonne lorries. Anyone can see that. It is obvious. Yet already we have more than 100 huge trucks passing up and down them each day and now Surrey County Council wants to inflict hundreds more on us. These roads lead to an infant school, a junior school, and the largest secondary school in Surrey. So hundreds of schoolchildren and young mothers are forced to live with these lorries and, if they dare to walk anywhere, they take their lives in their hands. It is only a matter of time before there is a terrible accident and what I’m doing today, and what my neighbours are doing, is trying to stop this before it’s too late.
"It’s not just pedestrians who are threatened by these lorries, there are many cyclists too, because this is supposed to be part of the Surrey Cycle Network. Now that is crazy - to have a cycle network filled with heavy lorries. And there are many horse riders because this is still a rural area. All these people are already at serious risk but Surrey County Council doesn’t care – it wants to put them at more risk with more lorries. And it doesn’t want to listen when we try to tell them. No-one from the County Council has contacted me, or any of the people I know in Oxted, to discuss our concerns.
"Almost every day I hear from my neighbours, and sometimes see myself, collisions or near misses; a young lad on his bike run off the road into a hedge; a horse terrified by a speeding lorry; an elderly neighbour who is scared to leave her home and cross the road because these lorries go fast, let me tell you, even when they’re coming round a blind bend. They are speeding, and they don’t give way and the drivers are talking on their mobile phones.
"I love this English countryside. It is the Green Belt, the North Downs, the first real piece of countryside you come to after leaving London. Surrey County Council should be cherishing it for future generations, but instead it is intent on destroying it with massive amounts of quarrying all over the area. As well as Oxted, this outrageous Minerals Plan is proposing more quarries nearby, one after another, and these villages, too, will be suffering as Oxted is suffering.
"So, I am standing up with the community and villagers of Surrey to say “No”. We have had enough and we will not have our lives and our environment blighted like this.
"This hearing is a public test of whether there is a lawful and sound case for ruining an irreplaceable piece of the English countryside in such a wanton and irresponsible manner. All the legal and technical advice that we have been given is telling us, very firmly, that this Plan is flawed and should not go ahead.
"We have every confidence that the Planning Inspector will come to the same conclusion and will see the justice of our case and stop this outrage from happening."
For further information, please contact Michael Cole on 07917 559 634, Catherine Sayer, Oxted & Limpsfield Residents Group on 07967 148 557.
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