Somerset

Stowey Quarry campaign backed by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg

An MP is backing a campaign against plans to dump potentially hazardous waste in a disused quarry.

Plans for Stowey Quarry were initially approved by Bath and North East Somerset (Banes) Council last July but the decision was later quashed.

The planning application has since been resubmitted by Oaktree Environmental.

North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was supporting opponents of the scheme, who fear asbestos could leach into Chew Valley reservoir.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "If it were up to me I wouldn't agree it, but it's not up to me.

"I'd be very pleased to present a petition to Parliament. It's a very effective way of putting forward the local community's opposition."

'Environmental catastrophe'

Oaktree Environmental director Marco Muia said the company had "engaged in detailed discussions" with the Environment Agency with regard to the scheme, and all necessary studies would be carried out to "ensure the site will function without adverse effect on the environment, including water supplies".

He added: "Once operational, the site will be regulated and monitored by the planning authority and Environment Agency for the life of the development and the aftercare period."

Lucy Pover, from campaign group Stop Stowey Quarry Action, said: "We are facing the prospect of up to 645,000 tonnes of asbestos and other hazardous waste being dumped on a windy escarpment only 1,500m away from the biggest reservoir in south-west England.

"It's an environmental catastrophe and health disaster waiting to happen.

"We're delighted if he [Mr Rees-Mogg] is going to support our campaign."

The group said it had gathered a petition of more than 1,000 signatures since the plans for the scheme were resubmitted last week.

Original plans were approved by Banes but later quashed after council officials were told they could face a judicial review.

At the time, the Liberal Democrat-controlled council said it accepted that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations had not been wholly complied with.

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