A FUNDRAISING page has been set up to pay for an independent survey on the potential environmental impact of a quarry near Kidderminster.

More than 100 residents marched through the village of Cookley in protest against plans for the Lea Castle Farm quarry, which would see 300,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted each year.

NRS Aggregates Ltd is looking to occupy around 45 hectares of land between Cookley and Wolverley before restoring the land once each stage of the operation is complete.

An official planning application is yet to be submitted, but NRS says materials from the quarry will be used to maintain local roads and build new homes.

However residents are concerned about the effect on green belt land, as well as the potential increase in traffic and the impact dust and noise pollution could have on local schools and businesses.

Following a march down the A449 on Saturday, an online petition has been launched against the plans, which has already attracted 700 signatures.

The Stop Lea Castle Quarry campaign group is also raising money at gofundme.com/noquarry to hire an independent planning consultant to assess the potential impact on air quality, highways and the environment.

A spokesman for the Stop Lea Castle Quarry campaign group said: “The working party believes there are sufficient grounds to raise public funds to engage an independent specialist to assess the situation and do their own surveys to report back to the public.

"They may agree with NRS or they may say there are different issues to consider. We have concerns about the potential dust hazard, HGV traffic and environmental issues.

"The funds will stay in an account that can be scrutinised and, if these plans do not go ahead, will be used for the benefit of surrounding villages."

NRS Aggregates says the process would take approximately 10 years, plus a further year to complete restoration, and create eight full-time jobs.

They say extensive noise and air quality monitoring would be undertaken and that no HGVs will travel through the villages of Wolverley, Cookley or Caunsall.

Ian Pearson, estates manager for NRS Aggregates, said: “We have spoken to over 400 residents so far as part of our public consultation to understand their views on our proposals.

“We recognise that there is concern locally but want to reassure people that any future operations would be subject to stringent conditions that are set and monitored by the council.

“We are a responsible operator that manages a number of quarries across the Midlands all of which are operated to the very highest standards.

“The mix of the materials on this site is ideal to supply aggregates to maintain local roads and build new housing – materials which local people need and are in short supply in the county.”

The consultation closes on July 1. Responses can be sent to lucy@eqcommunications.co.uk or by calling 020 3397 0105.