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Anglian Water and Alicia Kearns raise concerns against Heidelberg Materials’, formerly known as Hanson Cement, plans to expand Ketton cement works





Concerns have been raised that expanding a quarry could cause a major flooding incident and unacceptable risk to a critical public water main.

Heidelberg Materials, formerly Hanson Cement, plans to extend its Grange Top quarry, next to Ketton cement works as mineral reserves are running out.

Two new areas, already in Hanson’s ownership, known as Field 14 and Northwest Land, have been identified as suitable extensions and a planning application is currently being considered by Rutland County Council.

The cement works in Ketton
The cement works in Ketton

Objections have been lodged by Anglian Water, the management company for Rutland Water, which argues the risk of the expansion and on-going operational activity has not been considered in any detail.

In an objection submitted to Rutland County Council, Hannah Wilson, planning manager for Anglian Water, said: “The scheme as proposed would introduce an unacceptable risk to a critical public water main.”

Alicia Kearns, who was the Conservative MP for Melton and Rutland and is hoping to win the Rutland and Stamford constituency at the next General Election, has also voiced her concerns.

Grange Top provides limestone and clay for cement manufacture at Hanson?s Ketton works,
Grange Top provides limestone and clay for cement manufacture at Hanson?s Ketton works,

On May 15, ahead of the General Election being called, she wrote to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Housing at the time, voicing her serious concerns.

In the letter she said: “Should the mineral extraction go ahead without extensive checks and consultation there are concerns we could find ourselves facing a major flooding incident due to the expansion, which would cause devastation for the community and beyond.”

She added: “There remains a very small probability of downstream flooding due to overtopping of the dam or a dam breach.

“Should such a breach occur the consequence could be very high hence the risk could be significant.”

Alicia Kearns
Alicia Kearns

The scenario of the dam near Empingham failing, or water rushing over its top, is part of a plan that can be found on the UK Government website.

It maps out which areas might be flooded - and which would be spared.

A number of streets in Stamford are shown underwater on the interactive flood map created by the Environment Agency, as well as Uffington, Tallington, the Deepings, Casterton, Little Casterton, Ryhall and Belmesthorpe.

Empingham, the village closest to the dam, would be within an extreme hazard zone, likely to include deep, fast flowing water.

A map showing the potential extent of floodwater should Rutland Water dam burst. Map: Ordnance Survey/Environment Agency
A map showing the potential extent of floodwater should Rutland Water dam burst. Map: Ordnance Survey/Environment Agency

“Planning applications with such a high potential for damage, even when the risk is low, should be fully considered and face extensive consultation, which I and many others feel has not been adequate thus far,” Mrs Kearns said in her letter.

Rutland Water comes under the Reservoir Act 1975 because it has a volume greater than 25,000 cubic metres. Built in 1975, Rutland Water holds 124 million cubic metres over an area of 7.8 miles.

It is managed and monitored constantly, and standards set out by the act mean the flood risk from the reservoir is low.

While floodwater would be less widespread close to the dam at Empingham, it could flow at a faster rate. Map: Ordnance Survey/Environment Agency
While floodwater would be less widespread close to the dam at Empingham, it could flow at a faster rate. Map: Ordnance Survey/Environment Agency

Mrs Kearns argued that ‘given the complexity of this application and the risks to critical infrastructure arising from it, the local planning system is not equipped to determine it effectively’ and asked Mr Gove to use his powers to ‘call in’ the decision.

Concerns about the environmental impact were also raised.

However, no response was made by Mr Gove which means the decision on whether the application is considered by a nationally appointed inspector will likely be made by the next Secretary of State after the general election.

Mark Page, Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton
Mark Page, Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton

Mark Page, land and mineral resources manager Heidelberg Materials UK, said: “At its closest point, the proposed quarry sits over 1.5km from Rutland Water.

“The cement works has operated for over 100 years at Ketton and predates Rutland Water being built and becoming a wildlife site.

“We refute the view that our proposals to extend Grange Top quarry could negatively impact Rutland Water, so were surprised by Alicia Kearns’ letter to the Secretary of State.”

The Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton
The Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton

He added that extensive engagement has been carried out over several years, which has helped shape the proposals.

Local campaigners, who want to prevent the new land being quarried, have created Stop Grange Quarry Expansion Group, arguing it will have a negative impact beyond Ketton.

They have written to each of the candidates standing for MP in the Rutland and Stamford constituency asking for their views and support.

Find out about planning applications that affect you at the Public Notice Portal – this application is reference number 2024/0066

What do you think? Share your views in the comments.



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