Finmere Quarry and Tip

In 1990, rumours of local farmland being excavated for a quarry and a landfill site rallied almost all of the residents to attend a meeting at the village hall and to form an action group called FAMAGEFinmere and Mixbury Against Gravel Extraction. The Parish Council of Finmere and Mixbury Parish Meeting, together with Cherwell District Council, were unanimously opposed to the application from Regal Reclamation Limited. The proposal was to take 120,000 tonnes of sand and gravel a year, and to fill the hole with inert waste within a period of fourteen years. 

The main objections were the lack of market need, environmental impact upon the village, increase in heavy vehicle movements on an already busy road, and sixty-eight possible contraventions of the structure plans and minerals and waste disposal policies. Despite a well organised and prolonged campaign, permission was granted at appeal and extraction commenced in 1993. The quarry is now operated by Premier Aggregates and infilling commenced in November 1999. The land filling phase will take fifteen years to complete (in 2014) based on 75,000 tonnes of waste being accepted each year. 

It is a condition of Premier Aggregate's operating licence that they continue to monitor the site for a period of thirty years, or until such time as any environmental concerns have been alleviated, after completion of infilling and restoration work. The operating company cannot surrender this responsibility and, in case of problems such as insolvency, a bond has been lodged with the Environment Agency to ensure sufficient funds to continue environmental monitoring for the designated period. On completion of land filling, the majority of the quarry site will be returned to agriculture, with small areas retained as a nature reserve, including woodland, impoverished heath land and a pond. 

In the autumn of 2000, Premier Aggregates applied to increase the volume of land fill, raising a mound seven metres over the pits, and for a recycling and crushing facility. This application was strongly opposed by the Parish Council and FAMAGE was reformed. The application was, however, successful. In 2004, controversy erupted over waste blowing from the tip and its height; this is continuing in 2009. 

This is Oxfordshire report

Tony Baldry MP, House of Commons debate 10th May 2006