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Sand quarry expansion gets go-ahead after Minister's U-turn

Sand quarry expansion gets go-ahead after Minister's U-turn

Friday 25 March 2022

Sand quarry expansion gets go-ahead after Minister's U-turn

Friday 25 March 2022

A sand quarry in St. Ouen’s Bay will be allowed to carry on running after States Members backed a U-turn by the Environment Minister.

Deputy John Young originally wanted privately-owned Simon Sand and Gravel to stop digging for building sand when its current Government-issued licence ended at the end of 2023.

He changed his mind earlier this year when independent inspectors reviewing the three-year Bridging Island Plan said that the quarry should be allowed to dig up a triangle of land that remains within its existing boundary.

This estimated 600,000 tonnes of sand might only extend the life of the quarry by a decade, but the inspectors concluded that digging it up would meet current demand while giving the island more time to develop alternative sources of supply.

To add to the mix, the quarry suspended its operation last September when it reached the limits of its permitted extraction boundary almost a year and a half before the end of its licence.

This forced the other two quarries in Jersey to arrange a series of bulk shipments of building sand into Jersey.

In the States on Thursday, Deputy Young told Members that the ‘safeguarding’ of the extra land did not mean the quarry would automatically get permission to resume extraction as it would be dependent on the owner coming up with an acceptable restoration plan.

Simon Sand extension.jpeg

Pictured: The brown triangle is the area that Simon Sand and Gravel will be able to extract if all Government conditions are satisfied.

This would take the form of a legally binding ‘planning obligation agreement’ to not only devise a restoration plan but also to start it.

“This agreement attached to the land, not the owner, and if it is not fulfilled, the Minister has permission to act as developer and recover any cost as a civil debt,” he said. 

All Members who spoke supported the Minister, although concerns were raised about a “rumour” that the area of expansion had once been used as a rubbish dump, the presence of PFAS contamination in the water, and what the restoration of the quarry might look like.

Simon Sand Quarry.jpg

Pictured: Simon Sand and Gravel is within the Coastal National Park in St. Ouen’s Bay.

Ironically, one of the arguments that Deputy Young put forward for changing his mind was to bring the safeguarding of Simon Sands into parity with his recommended safeguarding of field MY966 for La Gigoulande Quarry in St. Peter’s Valley.

But a short while later, Members rejected that latter designation, therefore nullifying a stated reason for Deputy Young’s Simon Sand U-turn.

In the run-up to the BIP debate, the National Trust had raised concerns about the environmental impact of the quarry expansion on St. Ouen’s Bay, but no Member raised this in the Assembly.

Deputy Young’s plan for the sand quarry was approved unanimously.

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Posted by Jon Jon on
What a joke closing this before,building costs need to be kept as low as possible!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Common sense at last.
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