Proposed quarry will ‘dwarf St Albans rail freight scheme’, warn objectors

The site of the proposed quarry

The site of the proposed quarry - Credit: Archant

Opponents of a huge quarry scheme have warned that should it go ahead, it would be two and a half times larger than the site earmarked for a massive rail freight terminal in St Albans.

Smallford Residents Association have come out strongly against the scheme from Brett Aggregates to extract sand and gravel from the 87-hectare Hatfield Aerodrome which is on the doorstep of the village.

And they warn that at 870,000 sq ms, it would dwarf the proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the former Radlett Airfield in Park Street.

Brett Aggregates are proposing to work the quarry for 32 years with hundreds of lorries entering and leaving the site from Oaklands Lane towards Hatfield Road.

In their official response to the submission of the scheme to the county council, the residents association has described the scale of the proposal as having the potential to detrimentally and irreversibly affect Smallford as well as St Albans and Hatfield.

The residents association cautions: “This alone is going to place unprecedented strain on the highways network but synergistically will cause traffic congestion and stacking.”

They say that an extra vehicle every three minutes will use Hatfield Road and with the long working hours planned for the site, there would be a direct impact not only in the rush hour but throughout the day.

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That would lead to increased traffic congestion in St Albans, Hatfield, Oaklands Lane and greater pressure on the A1M and the A414.

The site entrance, the residents association points out, would be within 250ms of properties along Oaklands Lane which would inevitably result in increased traffic noise and dust with an impact on air quality.

They say: “There has been no investigation or research regarding the air dust pollution that will arise from the quarry. A major concern is that the close proximity of houses and residents on Oaklands Lane and at other adjacent sites will expose residents continuously for 32 years with levels of air pollution that could be high enough to cause respiratory compromise or exacerbate pre-existing medical respiratory conditions such as emphysema and asthma.”

On the environmental front, the residents association highlights the impact on wildlife, habitats and biodiversity which will result in the loss of endangered and non-endangered species and prevent people walking the land into the future.

They cite its use for observation purposes by the Herts and Middx Wildlife Trust and the St Albans Group of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as well as its popularity with residents, walkers and ramblers.

As Green Belt land, the site also acts as a barrier to the amalgamation of Hatfield and St Albans and its development would have implications on future town planning.

The residents association concludes that there does not appear to be any benefit for local residents or communities from developing it as a quarry and as the county council is currently reviewing its Mineral Plan, it is inappropriate for a decision to be made on the application until it is completed.