QUARRIES across the Forest of Dean are earmarked for major expansion in a bid to claw back a shortfall of two million tonnes of crushed stone by 2030.
Gloucestershire County Council is consulting on proposals to increase the size of three sites at Stowe Hill, Drybrook and Stowfield.
A total of 580 acres of land across the district is being considered for further excavation as minerals chiefs aim to generate 20 million tonnes of aggregate over the next 16 years.
Councillor Brian Robinson, deputy leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said: “The quarry is already at Drybrook, it is just in mothballs at the moment and the proposal is they want to produce a strategic supply and possibly extend that further towards Ruardean.
“I think generally the view in the community is people would support that. They recognise there is a balance between the mess and noise and the need for jobs and such like. People are used to the fact that it is there.”
The biggest potential expansion of sites could take place at Stowe Hill quarry, near Clearwell, where three separate expansion sites, of 24, 118 and 338 acres, have been proposed.
Drybrook and Stowfield quarries could be expanded by a further 27 acres and seven acres respectively, and a new 88-acre quarry could be developed at Hewelsfield.
A county council report states: “There does not appear to be any mineral operators associated with the site at present. This would mean that if the site was allocated through the plan process and was granted permission, realistically it would be unlikely to be operational during the early part of the plan period due to the time required for negotiating operational contracts.”
Newland Parish Council will meet on Tuesday, July 29, to discuss the possible impact of quarry expansions at Stowe Hill and Stowfield.
Councillor Alan Purvis, vice-chairman of the authority, said: “We will be looking hard at what the plans are and how they will impact people around the quarry site as there has already been problems with lorries and dust.”
Forest residents can find out more information about the proposals at Twyning Village Hall between 3pm and 6.30pm today and at Down Ampney village hall on Tuesday, July 15, from 3.30pm until 7.30pm.
Sites at Daglingworth, Huntsmans, Three Gates and Oathill, in the Cotswolds, and Page’s Lane and Redpools Farm, in the Severn Vale, are also being consulted on until Monday, August 18.
Gloucestershire County Council spokesman Sarah Williams said: “The message from us is if people live locally and this effects them, they should come along and talk to us at these events.”
A similar event recently took place in St Briavels.