DETAILS of proposals to infill Horton Clay Pit are to be scrutinised by the public ahead of a planning application.
A public consultation has been launched by landowner Viridor, which is urging people in the area to make their views known.
The pit is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), adjacent to Viridor’s closed landfill, near Small Dole.
The application is for permission to use inert materials to infill the pit in order to sustain the geological features.
Laurie Read, Viridor’s landfill aftercare manager, said: “We are preparing this planning application following discussions with West Sussex County Council and Natural England as well as local representatives.
“We believe our scheme will deliver significant benefits for the local area whilst preserving the SSSI for the future.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage local residents to learn about our proposal and let us know their views before we finalise the documents and submit our application to the local planning authority.”
Viridor’s landfill has been closed to waste deliveries since August, 2011, and the adjacent area is now restored. The SSSI site on the north east corner features interesting rock layering underground and animal fossils.
The company said that burying the features using inert materials would stabilise them, while permitting safe access to the geology should it be required in the future for activities such as research.
Key points include putting in a marker layer for future reference, infilling with imported inert materials over 12 months, implementing a drainage scheme and restoring the area to complement the adjacent restored landfill.
The company believes the plans will mean the pit is fully stabilised and restored in keeping with the surrounding landscape.
It would also prevent the need for indefinite pumping of waters from the bottom of Horton Clay Pit.
The consultation period finishes at 5pm on Tuesday, June 3. Full details of the plans can be found at www.viridor.co.uk/horton-sssi
The county council will also carry out a public consultation, on the final planning application, so residents will have a further chance to share their views.