Blackhill closure to improve traffic flow

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 December 2016

Blackhill quarry. Ref exe 06-16TI 0666. Picture: Terry Ife

Blackhill quarry. Ref exe 06-16TI 0666. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The closure of a mineral processing plant in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) could mean 140 fewer HGVs a day travelling across Woodbury Common.

Aggregate Industries has announced it will be moving its processing activities out of the former Blackhill Quarry at the end of 2017.

Over the next 12 months, the company will help to return the site to heathland habitat. It will then be handed back to landowner Clinton Devon Estates (CDE).

In a withdrawn application to extend its stay, Aggregate Industries said there could have been as many as 140 HGVs travelling on the busy B3178 through Woodbury Common every day.

Roger Saunders, chairman of the Otter Valley Association, which has been campaigning for mineral processing to cease at the site, said: “The quarry site is within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is bordered on two sides by highly protected countryside (Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation).

“Quarrying activity stopped several years ago, but the site has had its life extended a number of times to store and process material brought in from other sites.

“Given the sensitivity of this site, and the importance of Woodbury Common, it made little sense to subject the area to the traffic impact of hauling thousands of tons of material to and from the site for processing.

“Closing the site will have an immediate impact on traffic across the common, making it a much more pleasant experience for drivers and cyclists.”

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