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July 28, 2010

Lafarge exhibit their proposals

An exhibition last week publicised Lafarge's intentions to apply to extract 1.8 million tones of gravel from a 50 hectare site east of Spring Lane in Sonning Eye. Attendance was poor, partly because publicity was inadequate, partly because the exhibition was timed for the start of the school holidays, when many people are away.

A team of experts was on hand to answer questions on flooding, the proposals for landfill by 75 lorries a day, archaeology and restoration. A considerable amount of information was presented which it has been promised will soon be visible on a website. After the exhibition, Sonning Eye Action Group held a meeting at which it resolved to fight the proposals for the following reasons:

  • the site provides vital floodplain capacity for a large area, including densely populated Lower Caversham
  • a tiny rise in previous flood levels would flood many houses: current computer modelling of flood risk is neither reliable nor accurate
  • waste can never be absolutely guaranteed to be 'inert' – millions of tonnes of builders' waste will have unknown consequences for the local environment
  • no matter how ambitious the restoration proposals, once the original landscape is lost it is gone forever
  • noisy HGVs and overhead conveyor belts have no place in this beautiful riverside countryside close to the Thames Path and a Conservation Area

A report in the Henley Standard provides further details. SEAG will shortly be distributing a newsletter locally with further details and news of a special Summer Picnic at Dunsden Lodge, Sonning Eye from 12.30 on Sunday August 29. Make a note of the date now: treasure hunt, exciting prizes and a visit to attractive gardens all included.