Mill Hill near Barton in Fabis
Mill Hill near Barton in Fabis

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a strong local demand for sand and gravel in Nottingham and the surrounding area. Sand and gravel (or ‘aggregates’) are essential for everything in our built environment, from housing and community facilities to better public spaces and infrastructure.  These raw materials can only be sourced responsibly where they are naturally deposited, such as along the Trent Valley. Meeting the need from local quarries is the most efficient, lowest carbon option, rather than importing from elsewhere.

Because of the importance of aggregates to the economy and society, each county council has a Minerals Local Plan which sets out how much new mineral the county is likely to need, where it will come from and how quarry proposals are assessed. The site at Mill Hill has long been considered as a potential source of local sand and gravel, and its inclusion in Nottinghamshire’s Minerals Local Plan was deemed necessary to meet future needs. Individual quarry operators are required to submit planning applications to operate the sites included in the Minerals Local Plan.

Sand and gravel is required for all kinds of construction. Examples include in landscaping for paths and driveways, in concrete for foundations and structures, in building blocks, paving and kerbs, and in mortar for brickwork.

The demand for sand and gravel comes from local developers, whether that’s housing and community facilities, offices, shops and places for leisure, or improvements to local infrastructure.
A typical home requires around 200 tonnes of aggregates, a material for which there is still no viable alternative.

The quarrying industry already recycles virtually all available demolition materials, either for reuse in construction or in land remediation – something Land Logical is involved with at its other sites.

The UK reuses a greater percentage of construction waste as recycled aggregates than almost any other European country. (See Mineral Products Association 2023 report on recycled aggregates) Even so, recycled materials only account for around a third of the overall demand for aggregates so there is still a need to extract new materials like sand and gravel to meet the demand from construction.

A previous quarry proposal at the site – led by a different developer and different team of consultants – had already been the subject of a long-running planning application when Land Logical became involved.

After examining the previous proposal, along with the accompanying environmental statement, we felt that a more appropriate proposal could be developed including long-term landscape improvements for the benefit of people and wildlife alike. We therefore had the previous application withdrawn in March 2022.

We appreciate that a number of concerns were raised about the previous plans and we have sought to address those concerns, recognising the importance of this site as a crucial resource for sand and gravel

We have looked at the feedback from the previous planning application and this has been an important consideration in developing a fresh approach. Our alternative proposal is smaller in scale, shorter in duration, and further away from homes.

Quarrying would be done progressively, restoring the land as we go, with the smallest possible operational footprint and maximum public access throughout.

Recognising the tranquility of the area, our aim is that the final restoration will ensure a legacy of measurable biodiversity enhancement and a much-improved space for people to enjoy. This will complement the nearby Attenborough Nature Reserve and Holme Pit SSSI (both of which were created through quarrying).

There is an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel within our planning application area. This has been calculated through geological investigations and testing. This is 1 million tonnes less than the total volume of 3.5 million tonnes previously applied for.

To put this into context, each year the UK consumes around 250 million tonnes of aggregates, almost half of which is from large rock quarries, about a fifth from sand and gravel pits (as proposed at Mill Hill) and the remainder is mainly recycled materials.

Our proposal is for the sand and gravel to be extracted in a number of ‘phases’ (or areas of land) over a period of up to 12.5 years. Each phase would be worked in sequence, minimising the amount of land that is open at any one time. This allows for progressive restoration (phase-by-phase) and helps to provide as much public access as possible.

Sand and gravel quarries are relatively shallow compared to large rock quarries. According to our geological investigations of the mineral deposits at the site the quarried areas would be up to around eight metres deep (maximum).

Protecting wildlife and mitigating any potential impacts on scheduled sites will be given the highest priority in the new proposal. Extensive year-round ecological studies have been carried out by a team of independent ecologists, with detailed information gathered about the current ecology on the site.

Habitats observed included arable farm land, grassland, scrub, woodland, hedgerows marshland, wet woodland and various other areas of vegetation. Particular studies were undertaken with respect to great crested newt; breeding birds; wintering birds; barn owl; bats; badger; water vole and otter; reptiles; invertebrates; toad; and harvest mouse.

The ecological assessments also looked at the potential effects on other important areas for wildlife, especially Attenborough Nature Reserve and Holme Pit SSSI (both created through quarrying) and Brandshill and Clifton Woods.

Besides ensuring no direct impact on surrounding wildlife sites, the assessment highlights how the proposed scheme will actively manage the land to support wildlife during operations.

The findings are summarised in the Ecological Assessment which can be viewed here.

Working this site for mineral is an opportunity to create a landscape that will better connect with and enhance the surrounding habitats. We are keen to work with the custodians of all these sites to explore and agree how best to create a landscape designed to deliver a substantial Biodiversity Net Gain.

The quarrying industry is widely acknowledged as making one of the biggest contributions to the creation of new habitats and nature recovery, leading Biodiversity Net Gain. This is well-documented, most recently in the Mineral Products Association document Quarries & Nature: A 50 year success story which features numerous examples around the country including along the Trent Valley.

Detailed independent environmental assessments were carried out as part of the planning process. The potential for environmental impacts – and our proposals to address them – are an important part of our planning application.

These assessments cover a range of issues from air quality and agriculture to transport and water. Questions relating to specific environmental concerns are welcomed and can be investigated by the independent experts.

Full details of the environmental assessments and mitigations are included in our planning application which can be viewed on the planning portal for Nottinghamshire County Council (Ref ES/4621) and Nottingham City Council (Ref 24/00242/PMFUL3).

Sand and gravel extraction has a relatively modest, often impermanent impact on the landscape compared to most other types of developments.

Our landscape and visual assessment closely examined the landscape character of the area, including how the terrain might be temporarily affected by the proposals and what can be done to address any impacts. This study will inform the final design, layout, method of working and restoration of the land.

Already in the new proposal, the area of land earmarked for mineral extraction will be significantly reduced compared to previous proposals – notably the proposed working area being further away from the village of Barton-in-Fabis. Progressive working of the site means that the minimal amount will need to be used for mineral extraction at any given time, with the remainder either lying fallow or being restored post-working.

The overall conclusion of the landscape assessment is that the proposed development will not adversely impact on the character and distinctiveness of the landscape.  The restoration scheme has been designed to integrate with the local landscape character whilst also delivering objectives for habitat creation, biodiversity, land-use and historic environment.

View the Landscape & Visual Assessment here.

The restoration scheme will also provide new and enhanced ‘green infrastructure’ for community wellbeing and will provide a diversity of accessible visual landscape types and experiences, leisure opportunities for local residents.

Whilst the majority of the land at the site is privately owned farmland, we recognise that it is crossed by a public footpath and a bridleway.

During quarrying our intention is for the bridleway to remain undisturbed whilst the footpath will be diverted, although part of this diversion will be temporary. Nevertheless, a footpath route will be kept open to the public during the entirety of the development.

Furthermore, we propose to introduce more than 7km of new permissive routes to give better access along the river bank and around the newly-created landscape areas as well as making connecting links to the public rights of way network beyond the perimeter of the site.

Details of proposed paths can be viewed here.

Within our hydrological and hydrogeological assessment we have looked closely at whether any aspect of the proposed development could affect surface water (hydrology) or ground water (hydrogeology), or the broader water environment.

The assessment concludes that there is no hydrogeologically or hydrologically-based reason that the proposed development cannot proceed, subject to adoption and implementation of the recommended mitigation measures and planning controls.

View the hydrology assessment here.

The low-lying Washlands floodplain adjacent to the River Trent is, by definition, prone to periodic flooding. Although the embankments surrounding Barton in Fabis are believed to provide an adequate defence at the present time, we appreciate the understandable concerns about the possibility of future flooding events.

As the proposed extraction area is located on the eastern bank of the River Trent within the flood plain and within Flood Zone 3, the assessment is also supported by a site specific flood risk assessment.

The flood assessment concludes that there are considered to be no over-riding flooding related reasons why the planned works should not proceed in the manner described within the planning application.

View the Flood Risk Assessment here.

As part of the environmental noise assessment, extensive baseline sampling has been carried out in all sensitive locations (eg homes). The highest recognised standards have then been applied to understand any impact that intermittent quarry activity may have on existing ambient noise levels. As a result we are confident that no significant noise intrusion would arise from the development.

Nevertheless, appropriate measures will be taken to control noise where necessary, in accordance with industry best-working practices, to keep noise to acceptable levels.

View the Noise Assessment here.

A detailed air quality assessment in line with Air Quality Standards Regulations has been carried out. This has considered current air quality and potential impacts from the proposal at a number of locations (‘receptors’) around the site.

An airborne dust transmission profile (based on the fact that the vast majority of airborne particulate matter is deposited within 100 metres of source) has been developed to ensure that the most sensitive locations – Barton-in-Fabis and Lark Hill Retirement Village – will not be adversely affected.

As part of a comprehensive Dust Management Plan, a robust package of measures will be implemented to control dust at source in accordance with the ‘Basic Good Practice Mitigation Measures’, as presented in Section 7 of ‘Guidance on the Assessment of Mineral Dust Impacts for Planning (May 2016). These are detailed in sections 7 and 8 of the Air Quality Assessment which can be viewed here.

Because mitigation measures will be in place throughout all phases of activity, the operational activities are deemed to result in no significant impacts at any identified sensitive receptor locations. In addition the impact description of the effects of changes in traffic flow as a result of the proposed development is determined after thorough assessment to be ‘negligible’ at all existing receptors.

The majority of the existing farmed land at the site is assessed as ‘Grade 3b’ or lower, in other words land of only moderate quality capable of producing moderate yields of a limited number of crops. Only about 10% is considered to be of a higher grade.

Our intention is to recreate the better quality farmland within our restoration using the available quality top soils.  The poorer quality soils will be used across the site to improve biodiversity, in particular allowing less common species of flora to become established and flourish rather than becoming overrun by more common varieties.

We have undertaken a soils resources and agricultural land classification survey and the findings are included as part of our environmental statement. The assessment also includes an appropriate soil handling methodology based on best practice.

View the Agricultural Land Assessment here.

Since the very earliest proposals for quarrying on this site were made nearly 10 years ago, the widening of the A453 trunk route has been completed, fundamentally increasing road capacity in the area.

The site would be served by an existing, albeit improved, direct access to Green Street. The proposed access is designed to direct outbound traffic to the left on leaving the site and prevent HGV traffic from travelling towards Barton in Fabis and instead direct it towards the main strategic road network as the preferred routes for lorries delivering to the surrounding area.

In terms of numbers of lorries, based on the proposed volumes, the average daily HGV flow associated with the on-site activities would be 51 loads (or 102 total movements) which equates to 5 loads (or 10 movements per hour) on average which falls well within the range of normal hourly variations of what are relatively low traffic flows. The transport statement concludes that the proposed development represents sustainable development in terms of transport matters. It would be served by a safe means of access and would not result in a severe residual cumulative impact.

A consultation response has also been received from National Highways in which they state they have no objection to the proposed development.

View the Transportation Assessment here.

Quarrying is one of the few ways in which areas of land can be rapidly exposed to reveal possible archaeological and palaeontological discoveries. Over the years, quarries have uncovered some incredible finds from woolly mammoths and roman relics to lost military aircraft.

The Cultural Heritage Assessment submitted to support our planning application considers any direct and indirect effects upon cultural heritage. The land earmarked for quarrying around Mill Hill has been investigated for evidence of archaeology and the assessment concludes that the known archaeology within the site is of local-regional significance.  No waterlogged archaeology was found by the evaluation.

As part of our proposal, full excavation of known archaeological sites would be carried out and a tiered watching brief on the remainder of the site plus metal detection to retrieve any metallic artefacts. The results of any archaeological findings will be published and an interpretation panel that summarises what’s found during the archaeological excavations is proposed at a viewpoint for the site.

The more visible evidence of previous human intervention in the form of ‘Ridge and Furrow’ nearest to Barton in Fabis has been deliberately excluded from the planning application.

A consultation response from Historic England states that they do not object to the application on heritage grounds.

View the Archaeology Evaluation Report here.

The operational areas of the proposed quarry and processing plant at Mill Hill would be fully contained, landscaped and secured. No operational areas would be accessible to the public, and there would be no additional risk to local residents or their families. We are proposing to put a permissive route in around the processing area.

We are committed to to a long-term restoration and aftercare scheme at the site which could be secured via planning conditions. This would ensure that the new landscape continues to thrive and delivers a long-term legacy of biodiversity and social net gain.

The restoration plan will create habitats of equal or higher value than the existing habitats on the site. There will be additional ponds, lakes, associated wetland, species-rich grassland, fen and hedgerows created, in addition to a significant area of arable farmland. This will significantly enhance the existing habitats within the site by creating links between them, as well as complementing other habitats in the surrounding landscape.

In addition to delivering biodiversity net gain, the restoration also seeks to provide social net gain, significantly improving access and connectivity, enabling a broader group of people to be able to access this unique stretch of the Trent Valley.

Yes, we carefully reviewed local feedback on the previous plans when developing our own proposals. We then engaged local elected members and several local organisations and community groups, and conducted a door-to-door maildrop to 2,500 households around the site. The purpose of this activity was to encourage people to ask questions and share their views so they can be considered and addressed wherever possible in our planning application.

Following our programme of public engagement, and responses to the scoping request, the project team has carefully considered the comments received, adjusted the proposal and provided direct responses where appropriate.

Following our public consultation in October 2023 we were able to refine our proposal and finalise our planning application which was submitted at the start of February 2024.

Following local public consultation our planning application was submitted in February 2024. Details of the application can be viewed on the planning portal for Nottinghamshire County Council (Ref ES/4621) and Nottingham City Council (Ref 24/00242/PMFUL3).

Land Logical is an independently owned company whose core business is in quarrying and land restoration.

The importance of sustainable use of land and natural resources has never been greater – at Land Logical we pride ourselves in applying our extensive technical expertise and capabilities, matched by a commitment to innovation and ‘going the extra mile’. Our modest size and our way of working enables us to be agile and responsive to meet the needs of our stakeholders.

Land Logical are also a member of our industry’s trade body the Mineral Products Association and we are bound by the MPA Charter to operate in accordance with the highest standards in areas such as health and safety, responsible operation, and environmental protection.