Wanted: your views on how we build Dorset’s future
31st August 2011
People in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole are being asked to say how they feel about a draft plan for how we extract sand, gravel, stone and other minerals in the county to build the schools, homes and roads of the future.
Several different types of important minerals that are used in the construction and manufacturing industries can be found beneath our feet right across Dorset. In many places sand, gravel, stone and clay are currently being quarried or mined to help build everything from churches to motorways to toilets and sinks.
Up until 9 September 2011, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole are asking people who live and work in the county to have their say on a new draft plan for how we get these minerals out of the ground into the future.
The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Minerals Core Strategy aims to ensure the supply of minerals in environmentally acceptable ways over the next 20 years.
Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for the environment Robert Gould said:
“While we tend to take them for granted, materials taken from quarries are around us every minute of every day. A new house, for example, needs about 60 tonnes of sand and gravel to build.
“It’s important that people who live in Dorset take this chance to tell us what they feel are the important things to consider when looking for mineral sites. We are not asking for views on specific quarry sites but we do want people to comment on the criteria our councils will use when selecting possible sites in the future.
”This issue affects us all, so please take a chance to look at the draft strategy and give us your thoughts on it.”
Sand and gravel is currently extracted in various places within East Dorset, Christchurch, Purbeck and West Dorset. The strategy identifies where sand and gravel is located, excluding major constraints such as areas with special environmental protection.
Future quarry sites will be found from within these areas, although the decisions on exactly where the minerals will be worked will be taken at a later stage of the planning process.
People can comment on the resource areas shown as well as the criteria that the councils will use to select the specific locations of future sites.
Important resources of ball clay, used in the ceramics industry, are found in Purbeck and considered of national and international importance because of their special qualities and rarity. However, much of the resource is situated within sensitive landscapes and habitats. The strategy identifies future areas for extraction, directing working to the least sensitive areas. People are asked to have their say on the suitability of these areas.
Purbeck Stone is another mineral of national importance found locally. Many villages in Purbeck are characterised by buildings made of the stone and it has also been used in the architectural detailing of a number of cathedrals in England. The minerals strategy supports future extraction and considers the appropriate scale of workings within the distinctive limestone landscape west of Swanage.
Resources of building stone are also found widely within North and West Dorset. The use of such stone, traditionally supplied from small-scale local quarries, has made a substantial contribution to the richness, diversity and charm of our small towns and villages, many of which are designated as conservation areas. The strategy supports the extraction of further reserves of building stone to supply local needs.
Quarrying on Portland is a long established industry. The strategy supports continued stone extraction but actively encourages mining as an alternative to open quarrying in order to minimise impacts on the environment and amenity. Going beyond earlier drafts the revised strategy identifies ‘areas of opportunity’ for future mining. In addition, this strategy also establishes where relinquishments for open cast quarrying would be sought, highlighting the sensitivity of the Portland environment.
The strategy for minerals extraction is available to comment on until 9 September 2011.