Leader of the Green Party Councillors on Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor David Williams, has commented on Council approval of a new Mineral Extraction and Waste Management Report(1) saying the guidelines it contains are weak.
He says: "The report gives the go ahead to expanding local mineral extraction with a figure that is 42% higher than the existing guidance. The actual extraction that has been taking place over the last 10 years has been declining. The guidelines effectively give the go ahead for a number of extra quarries. There is no recognition that much of the sand and gravel is now imported.
"Mineral extraction has been really serious for a number of villages and towns, mostly to the South of Oxford, as having a local quarry with large bulk mineral lorry movements nearby is very disruptive. There seems no recognition in the report that the construction industry is trying to use more sustainable materials. Another flaw in the report was the weak set of guidelines that were suggested for refusing a fracking license in Oxfordshire. The Green Party maintains that hydraulic fracking(2) pollutes air, land and water.
"On waste management, the report is a complete 'cop out' with a total failure to address the issue of dumping millions of tonnes of waste being sent from London and Berkshire to be put into landfill in Oxfordshire(3)."
Ann Duncan, Green Party candidate for Oxford East adds: "The County needs to re-consider waste management. Material being thrown into landfill could be used in a variety of ways if it is sorted. A zero waste approach favoured by the Green Party would mean examining the potential of all materials put into the waste stream. This would have the potential to create long-term useful employment and have the effect of reducing some types of imports."
1. The final version as agreed is not online yet. It will appear at: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/new-minerals-and-waste-plan.
2. Extraction of shale gas or oil under extreme water pressure mixed with chemicals.
3. The new incineration plant at Ardley will become a white elephant with nothing to burn as recycling policies have ever greater impact.