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New MP criticises Hampshire's gravel extraction plan
EASTLEIGH MP Mike Thornton has criticised a plan for gravel extraction, describing it as “deeply flawed”.
Mr Thornton’s comments came on the final day of the latest hearing into Hampshire County Council’s Minerals and Waste Plan.
He said that the relaxed restrictions and controls on development of new sites not in the plan would put more countryside at risk by making it easier for developers to bring forward more land for extraction.
Mr Thornton said: “Far from protecting our green spaces, if the plan is allowed to go forward like this, it will have completely failed to protect our countryside from more gravel pits.”
The plan, which is a blueprint for the county's mineral needs for the next 20 years, was subject to a planning hearing by a Government appointed inspector last year, but the latest hearing, at which Mr Thornton has also spoken, heard responses to proposed changes.
One of the sites in the controversial plan is Hamble Airfield, which is in Mr Thornton's constituency.
Cllr Mel Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, argued that the plan had undergone meticulous preparation by the five minerals and waste planning authorities and scrutiny by a Government-appointed inspector.