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Wennington Village Association gains cross party support in fight against gravel extraction

PUBLISHED: 11:20 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 May 2017

Dagenham and Rainham parliamentary candidates from left, Jon Cruddas (Labour), Peter Harris (Ukip) with Councillor David Durant (IRG, Rainham and Wennington) with members of the community holding placards. Picture: David Durant

Dagenham and Rainham parliamentary candidates from left, Jon Cruddas (Labour), Peter Harris (Ukip) with Councillor David Durant (IRG, Rainham and Wennington) with members of the community holding placards. Picture: David Durant

David Durant

Residents say they will not give up the fight against a gravel extraction site near their homes.

On Thursday, May 4, the planning inspectorate said the winning and working of minerals on land next to Wennington Hall Farm, New Road, Wennington, can go ahead.

But following complaints raised by the Wennington Village Association, Dagenham and Rainham Labour, Ukip and Conservative election candidates, Jon Cruddas, Peter Harris and Julie Marson, along with Councillor David Durant, are urging Havering Council to appeal the decision.

“Cllr Durant said: “This cross-party agreement shows the scale of public opposition to the scheme and I hope the council can look again at the inspector’s report and appeal the decision which appears to have confused gravel extraction with landfill.

“Gravel extraction involves removing gravel from the ground, whereas landfill involves extracting gravel from imported inert waste using a processing plant.

“The approved application involves extracting about 30pc from the land and about 70pc from imported inert waste and will involve 270 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) [movements] every day, plus a smaller number on Saturdays for the next nine years.

“This was a big shock to residents who had fought a four year battle against the plans that will blight the village with noise and dust and highway disturbance.”

Mr Cruddas said the decision was wrong for the community.

“Despite a clear conclusion that the gravel extraction plant contravenes green belt rules, the planning inspector has found ‘very special circumstances’ tipped the balance the other way,” he said.

“Having seven to 10 years of noise pollution and hundreds of HGV trucks daily trundling past your door is not very special if you are a local resident.

“Nor if you are one of the rare breeds of bird, like the pochard or the reed bunting, whose habitat is about to be destroyed.”

The council said it is getting legal advice following the planning inspectorate’s decision and will then decide “on the best way forward”.

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