Soil dump plan for St Albans site is put on hold

Cemex quarry

Cemex quarry - Credit: Archant

A decision on a controversial bid to dump 1.2 million tonnes of soil and waste material near a local cottage is on hold to allow for a survey of migratory birds at the rural site.

Objections have been raised against an application by the Cemex quarry, Oaklands Lane in Smallford, to truck in a mountain of soil, clays, brick and concrete fragments.

Cemex has also asked Herts county council for approval to build a new temporary haulage road from Beech Farm, Coopers Green Lane, to allow it to transport soil to the site at a rate of 175,000 tonnes annually over a period of seven years to fill in and restore a quarried area.

The quarry is located near sports fields, plant nurseries, businesses and Oaklands College’s Smallford campus.

While the scheme was registered in May this year and it was expected to go before a committee in July, it has yet to be determined.

A spokesman for the council explained that the authority was awaiting information on visiting migratory birds.

Once the survey has been received, there will be further consultation over a three week period before the plan is considered by councillors.

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The scheme involves infilling a lagoon, despite the site being used by about 40 species of birds, eight of which are of conservation interest.

St Albans district councillor for Colney Heath Chris Brazier said: “I hope it will be refused because it’s going to be a blight on the area.”

Both Colney Heath and Sandridge parish councils have objected to the bid, saying it would affect neighbouring residents – one of whom has written about his concern over the waste material being dumped within 10 metres of the boundary of his home, Coopers Green Cottage on Coopers Green Lane, bordering Cemex. And a petition objecting to the application has been signed by 14 neighbouring residents who are worried about increased pollution and lorry movements to and from the quarry.