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Mont Cuet residents fear noise of quarry more than tip smells

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NOISE, dust and the impact on the environment are the main concerns of a family whose home is close to the proposed new granite quarry at Chouet.

Jack Woolland, 18, and his mum Sara at their Chouet home near the Mont Cuet headland. They are concerned about the proposals for a new quarry in the area.

The Woollands have lived there since 2007 and have had to put up with the Mont Cuet tip being in operation all that time.

But, said Sara Woolland, apart from occasional smells and bags blowing on their land, the tip has not been a massive problem.

The family is more concerned at the thought of Ronez quarrying stone from the headland and the noise that is likely to come from blasting and processing on the site.

A draft development framework has been published for a proposed new granite quarry on the site, to be built in three phases, which potentially could provide enough aggregate for local builders for up to 40 years.

But Mrs Woolland thought that it was time the site had a break: ‘They’ve had a tip here for 30 years, why can’t they just let it have a rest?’ she said.

‘Why do they need the stone? If it’s such good quality granite then why are they crumbling it down to aggregate? It sounds like it’s Ronez trying to make a quick buck without importing the stuff.’

Her main concern was noise: ‘If you think of Guernsey as a whole there are very few areas that are not really built up.

‘This is a place where it’s actually quite peaceful – there are people quietly walking dogs and quietly playing golf.’

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Her son Jack, 18, who plans to study countryside management at university, said that the family’s land is home to two breeding pairs of long-eared owls, and the family also keep their own wild fowl on the site, including a peacock, turkey and guinea fowl.

They also have two hives: ‘That’s another point,’ said Jack. ‘You’re removing all the flowers, and with no flowers there’s no pollen and with no pollen there are no bees.’

Mrs Woolland said the area was popular with migrating birds as well.

She said that nobody from Ronez had approached them about its intentions.

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The headland is home to a pistol shooting range as well as an area which has been designated for use by model plane owners.

Guernsey Model Flying Club president Mike Burton said Ronez had kept in touch with them since before it started exploratory drilling in late 2017. ‘Ronez has continued to keep us apprised of what’s going on,’ he said.

‘However, the club committee had not yet had a chance to sit down and discuss the framework in detail.’

National Trust of Guernsey president Tony Spruce said they would be making a formal submission about the DDF soon, but had no objection to the idea of the quarry as long as the key items of historical interest – the loophole tower and the old ammunition store – were preserved, as well as the coastal footpath around the headland.

‘We’re in support of the overall project because of the importance of stone on the island and the amount of jobs involved,’ said Mr Spruce.

The trust had also offered a small parcel of land it owns nearby to help improve the screening of the quarry.

‘We’ve been speaking to Ronez about this whole area and they are intent on doing a good job,’ he said.

La Societe Guernesiaise vice-president Barry Wells said the council felt unable to comment until it had met.

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