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Footpath stands in the way of silica sand expansion



The expansion of an established silica sand quarry, 150 kilometres north of London, England, has upset a local council over the temporary removal of two footpaths.

Four years ago, quarry operator and multinational building materials company Sibelco applied to expand the quarry by three million tonnes over another four years – but  only recently did Norfolk City Council decide to reject the application.

The Council rejected the proposal on the basis that the expansion would lead to the “extinguishment of the footpath which is unacceptable,” a Council meeting agenda stated.

Concern was raised by the council’s Public Rights of Way Team and a local Ramblers Association – a British walking charity – about the removal of such footpaths.

Sibelco then appealed the decision on the grounds the Council had “failed to give notice of its decision within the appropriate period on the application”.

The company also pointed out that once it had replaced one of the two footpaths, the track would be 100m shorter than the existing route.

The Eastern Daily Press reported that planning officer Nick Johnson told Council Sibelco had addressed all concerns except that of the public’s right of way.

“There is a temporary diversion for the duration of the work, which, in terms of access would be an overall improvement to the countryside,” Johnson said,

“However, upon completion in year five that would be a loss, it would disappear.  The proposal is what it is – to return it to a water feature.”

The company’s appeal of the Council decision will now be assessed by the Secretary of State.

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