WYRE Forest MP Mark Garnier has thrown his support behind an action group fighting to stop the building of a quarry near Kidderminster.

The MP met with members of the Lea Castle Farm Quarry Action Group to discuss their concerns about the planned sand and mineral quarry.

NRS Aggregates Ltd is looking to occupy around 45 hectares of land between Cookley and Wolverley, which would extract 300,000 tonnes of sand and gravel per year before restoring the land once each stage of the operation is complete.

Applicants say materials from the quarry will supply aggregates to maintain local roads and build new housing, but residents are concerned about the effect it will have on green belt land, as well as the increase in traffic and the impact dust pollution and noise could have on local schools and businesses.

Now, Mark Garnier has said that he thinks the plan for the quarry is a "dumb idea."

He said: "The group have a justifiable concern and I will back them and support them."

"Why build a 110 acre quarry so close to a town, within a mile of 5 schools and 5 miles of 65,000 people?"

"I think it's a dumb idea."

The MP also said he is "committed" to working with the group following the meeting.

An online petition against the plans has been launched, which now has over 1500 signatures.

More than 100 residents marched through the village of Cookley in protest against the proposal last month

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.

Ian Pearson, estates manager for NRS Aggregates, said: “We recognise that there are concerns about certain aspects of these proposals, having heard the views of over 400 residents over the course of our recent consultation.

“It is important to understand that we propose to extract the mineral in phases with the biggest area under extraction at any one time being 24 acres. Most of the site would be agricultural parkland, with each phase of extraction being restored afterwards to minimise the amount of land being disturbed.

“It is also important to stress that any future operations would be subject to stringent conditions that are set and monitored by the Council. This includes buffer zones between the operations and neighbouring properties, as well as bunds, spraying and wheel washes.

“We operate quarries across the Midlands, all of which are run to the very highest health and safety standards. This enables us to safeguard local communities and be a good neighbour while helping to supply the materials local people rely on for roads and housing.

“These materials are in short supply in the county, which is why the site has been allocated Preferred Status within Worcestershire Minerals Local Plan.”