27th July 2011
Maidstone Green Party has welcomed the 'call-in' of the Oaken Wood quarrying plan by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, and have welcomed the additional scrutiny which will give all parties greater opportunity to be heard in the plan which would see the loss of 74 acres of ancient woodland. They have reiterated their call for Gallaghers to prioritise other options for aggregate such as increasing recycled aggregate, so that no jobs are lost.
Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: "The call-in by Eric Pickles is very welcome as is the change to reiterate local views to the Planning Inspectorate. Kent County Council made a hasty decision when they backed the plan for the quarry and it is clear that the plan needs greater scrutiny than KCC were prepared to give.
"While we are keen to ensure that jobs are not lost, we should remember that these jobs would see the loss of 74 acres of ancient woodland when there is an acknowledged lack of demand for ragstone. We want Gallaghers to put these jobs to use increasing their production of recycled aggregate.
"We also note that Kent County Council's current draft mineral strategy suggests that there is no need for this additional ragstone. Let us hope that KCC don't decide to change their mind on this established fact."