Campaigners against plans for a sand quarry near Midhurst are seeking to raise awareness of a potentially serious impact on residents – air quality.
Quarries are being proposed at two Cowdray Estate sites at the Severals as part of the South Downs National Park and West Sussex County Council joint minerals Local Plan.
But residents fear the introduction of potentially hundreds more lorries a day through Midhurst removing sand from the quarries could have health risks.
Marion McQuaid, a retired environmental consultant, took a stand on Rumbolds Hill this week.
She said: “HGV lorries add significantly to dirty air which is directly associated to a host of health problems from asthma to cardiovascular disease.
“Midhurst already breaches EU Air Quality Standards.
“The addition of what could be 100-200 lorries per day through Midhurst removing sand from this proposed Cowdray Quarry at the Severals would be devastating to, in particular, young and older people of Midhurst and surrounding area”.
Steve Morley, from Midhurst Town Council, said the council was ‘very keen’ to reduce the number of lorry movements through the town but feared that if the proposed quarrying went ahead, it would be ‘inevitable’ that air pollution would increase.
He said: “In this area, both residents and visitors alike should be able to enjoy good, clean air quality; anything less is unacceptable.
“However, if further quarrying were to be permitted and cause HGV journeys to increase then our health could be put at serious risk.
“In fact the headquarters of The South Downs National Park could find itself located at the tail end of one of the most polluted streets in West Sussex. For these reasons I strongly support the campaign to prevent any kind of quarrying at The Severals and increased quarrying at any other locations close to our town.”
A spokesperson for Chichester District Council said the council could not comment specifically on the quarrying application but it was ‘aware of the air quality issues at Rumbolds Hill’ and would be working towards declaring it an air quality management area.
Results of computer modelling of air quality at Rumbolds Hill are expected ‘in early summer’, she added.