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Concern grows in Wootton over health impacts of proposed gravel extraction
Thursday 19 October 23
Residents are urging the Isle of Wight Council to seriously consider the potential impact on health from Wight Building Materials’ proposed sand and gravel quarry at Palmers Farm in Wootton.
The nearest existing housing in Wootton is just 50 metres away from the proposed extraction site, and a new housing development has been approved just 75 metres away. A large area of Wootton, including Wootton Primary School and the Public Recreational Ground could be at risk due to the prevailing south-west winds.
Proposed stocking area
Sand and gravel quarrying should not be located close to housing is the conclusion drawn from evidence gathered internationally in recent years. The World Health Organisation has stated that “there is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or threshold below which no adverse health effects occur”.
Many countries are already using legislation to stop sand and gravel extraction being sited near residential areas. A Private Members Bill tabled in Parliament in 2021 advocated limiting sand and gravel quarrying to a minimum of 1,000 metres from any residential area.
Proposed Phase 4 area
Research in Canada and the US and case law on microscopic particles of silica that exist within sand, show that the dust can travel many kilometres and is responsible for the inflammatory lung disease silicosis. It also exacerbates asthma, breathing difficulties, COPD and other lung diseases, particularly in the very young, the old and those with existing lung conditions. Concern on the impact to health of silica is so high that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health titled a 2022 report ‘Silica - the next asbestos?’.
WAGE (Wootton, Whippingham and Arreton Against Gravel Extraction) commented “An independent review by industry experts of the Dust and Air Quality Impact Assessment submitted by Wight Building Materials for the Palmers Farm scheme has found that it is not fit for purpose. It does not meet Institute of Air Quality Management best practice and no assessment has been made of the health impact of Respirable Crystalline Silica escaping from the site.”
“In addition to the road safety issues of the scheme and harm to the environment, this planning application must also be rejected on health grounds. Commercial interests should not prevail over these concerns. We are calling for the Island’s mineral plan to be reviewed to take newly emerging health research into account.”
Please download the Review by DustScan AQ Consultants of the Dust and Air Quality Impact Assessment submitted by Wight Building Materials (WBM).
For more information please visit: wage-iw.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org