A planning application has been submitted to Wakefield Council for a new sand and gravel quarry near Stanley Ferry, which will eventually be used as a recreational site for local residents.

The application, submitted by Wakefield Sand and Gravel Ltd, is for a site that consists of two fields on either side of the River Calder, which would be joined by a conveyor bridge across the River. Sand and gravel would not leave the quarry on local roads, as a new wharf would be constructed on the Aire and Calder Navigation canal to transport the sand and gravel by barge to a concrete plant at the side of the River in Dewsbury.

The sand and gravel from this site would provide a source of aggregate for the West Yorkshire construction industry which would otherwise have to be brought in from more distant sources as to only existing working sand and gravel quarry in the County is close to exhaustion. A quarry in this location would greatly reduce the overall carbon footprint of the local construction industry and reduce harmful emission contributing to global warming.

The planning application site covers 22.3 hectares, currently arable agricultural land with very little ecological interest. It is estimated that the Site will yield around 1.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel, to be extracted at the rate of 150,000 tonnes per annum over a period of around 11 years. Restoration would be progressive and would be completed approximately 12 months after extraction had ceased, giving an operational period of around 12 years.

Two lakes will be created to be used for angling and amenity purposes. In addition to providing opportunities for recreational angling and nature conservation, the two lakes will provide vital additional flood attenuation storage to aid flood relief downstream of the site.

The planning application is accompanied by a full Environmental Impact Assessment covering Heritage (Archaeology), Landscape and Visual Impacts, Ecology, Traffic Impact, Flood Risk and Hydrology, Noise, Dust, ground stability, soils and agriculture, and socio-economic impacts.

The Assessment carried out indicates that the quarry can be operated without significant environmental impacts on the locality. The mineral dug out of the ground will be inherently damp and so dust generation should be minimal.

A full set of dust controls based on damping down with water would be in operation at all times. Noise will be fully mitigated to acceptable levels, and the only traffic generated would be employee cars, light vans and occasional fuel deliveries. The only HGVs will be a very small number of low loaders to bring plant on and off the site.

As the land is intensively farmed, there is very little ecological interest and landscape impacts are minimal.

The planning application documents have been uploaded to the Council’s planning website and are available for all to access. Under normal circumstances, a decision would be expected in six months – by September/October 2020. Site operations would likely start in Spring 2021 with the first barge loads departing from the new Canal wharf later that year.

Chris Ballam, Principal at MWP Planning said: “Although the Coronavirus pandemic has meant it has not been possible to carry out a public consultation prior to the submission of the application for the Stanley Ferry Quarry, we encourage local residents to submit any queries or questions through our website and our Twitter channel”.

It will be possible for the public and local organisations to submit their comments to Wakefield Council as part of the usual planning process.

More details can be found https://planning.wakefield.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage.