Here’s an example of how a community can get shafted by a planning decision that will wreck their quality of life for up to ten years: Wennington community lose fight against gravel extraction This means up to 200,000 tonnes of gravel going out and 300,000 tonnes of infill material coming in every year plus up to 270 HGV movements a day from Monday to Friday and up to 136 on Saturdays. Do the maths on what goes and and what comes back in – the extra 100,000 tonnes coming in clearly indicates that landfill is going to be a prime income generator for the operators, Ingrebourne Valley Ltd.

For as long as we’ve lived in the area (and that’s a good few decades!) the southern part of Thurrock and neighbouring Havering has been blighted by gravel and sand extraction and the subsequent landfill that takes place. The quality of life for any residents near extraction and landfill sites has been wrecked by gravel and waste lorries thundering down roads and lanes that were never designed to take the volume of traffic or weight of vehicles. Verges are churned up and coated with mud and dust for years on end. Forget about a stroll down the lane or even a bicycle ride – thundering gravel and waste lorries put paid to that! Yet, despite all of this and that fact that residents across the region are fed up to the back teeth of living with the impact of the extraction and landfill ‘industries’, planning permission is still granted to these operators.

Here we have a planning system that pays lip service to the interests of residents but nearly always lets the extraction and landfill operators have their way. It’s a planning system that’s geared to the needs of the bottom line with issues such as quality of life and the environment always seeming to be given a lower priority. A planning system that only serves to further alienate residents from the already flawed, unaccountable and creaking system of local governance that we have to put up with. Basically, a system that’s not fit for purpose…

The fact that we’re still getting blighted with gravel extraction and landfill operations ought to make people pause and think about an economic system that’s still over reliant on unsustainable use of mineral resources and land to dump unwanted (but potentially recyclable) materials. An economic system that has yet to fully wake up to the fact that we live on a finite planet with finite resources. An economic, political and social system that is unsustainable, toxic and as far as we’re concerned, way past it’s use by date…


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