RIPPLE EAST, BOW LANE, RIPPLE, WORCESTERSHIRE

The planning application is for “extraction of sand and gravel with restoration to agriculture and nature conservation, including ponds, wetlands, hedgerows and lowland mixed deciduous woodland and meadows at Ripple East, Bow Lane, Ripple, Worcestershire, GL20 6EY.

Ripple East, the ‘site’ is approximately centred on National Grid Reference SO 8710 3740 and located to the west/south-west of the villages of Ripple and Uckinghall in the Parish of Ripple. The nearest large town is Tewksbury in Gloucestershire which lies 5km to the south. The county town of Worcester is about 18km to the north.

The site is predominantly in agricultural use. The western boundary is delineated by a narrow belt of woodland and beyond this, restored areas of the former Ripple Quarry. The M50 is elevated on the Queenhill Viaduct and defines the site’s southern boundary. The eastern boundary is marked by a hedgerow and trees along Bow Lane, which provides the only means of vehicular access into the site.

The proposal involves the extraction of up to 475,000 tonnes of sand and gravel and restoration using on-site materials over a 3-year period, at a rate of approximately 300,000tpa.

 

Who Is CEMEX?

CEMEX is a leader in the building materials industry, providing high-quality products and a reliable service to both customers and the communities we work in. We manufacture and distribute cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates worldwide, strategically positioned across the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

CEMEX aims to serve the needs of our customers and create value for our stakeholders by becoming the most efficient and innovative building materials company. CEMEX couples financial achievements with a firm commitment to sustainable development. CEMEX currently operate in hundreds of locations across the UK, including at Ryall Quarry, and we are committed to doing more.

 

WHY DO WE NEED TO EXTRACT RAW MATERIALS IN WORCESTERSHIRE?

According to the UK Government’s own guidance, and as cited in Worcestershire County Council’s Mineral Plan review, which is at an advanced stage in its preparation, there is a need to maintain at least a seven-year supply of aggregate (sand and gravel) minerals. With the Government recently giving the green light to major infrastructure projects, and the continued need to maintain and build more homes, such materials are vital to our economy.

The production and supply of aggregate minerals is monitored annually and currently the County Council is facing a shortfall in sand and gravel provision.  The Council is in the process of identifying sites which would be suitable for future mineral extraction, but no allocations have yet been made. Minerals can only be worked where they are found and in the Minerals Plan review, Ripple East is located in an ‘Area of Search’ for glacial sand and gravel, within the Lower Severn Strategic Corridor. The plan supports extraction in these locations where there is a shortfall from permitted or allocated sites. 

 

WHAT IS CEMEX PROPOSING TO DO IN THE AREA?

Within the application CEMEX is proposing over a temporary period to extract up to 475,000 tonnes of sands and gravels from the site in three phases, over a total 3 year period.  Over this time the site will be progressively restored to agricultural land, with biodiversity enhancements and community benefits.

 

WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED HOURS OF OPERATION?

The proposed hours of operations are:           

  • 07.00 to 18.30 Monday to Friday inclusive
  • 07.00 to 12.00 Saturday
  • No Sunday or Bank or Public Holidays

 

WHY IS AN APPLICATION BEING SUBMITTED NOW?

CEMEX currently extract sand and gravel from land at Ryall North. As CEMEX’s permitted reserves diminish, they need to bring forward new proposals to ensure continuity of future supplies and to allow adequate time for the County Council and local community to consider the application documents. It is appropriate to bring forward the Ripple East proposals now, whilst there is a wharf and internal route to it in place, to avoid the sand and gravel being sterilised.

CEMEX has prepared a restoration led planning application for Ripple East, that allows for the vital extraction of sand and gravel materials to take place, whilst at the same time being sensitive to the environment and concerns of the local community.

 

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS TO THIS?

In addition to supporting the UK economy CEMEX has a track record of delivering local benefit to the environment and local community.  The supply of materials provides jobs in the wider community in construction and building and there are also opportunities for the continuity of job opportunities connected to Ripple East. 

The site is currently in arable use and is of low ecological value.  Restoration will include the reinstatement of high-quality agricultural land as well as a mosaic of new and enhanced habitats identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, together with increased flood attenuation capacity provided by the new lakes. There is potential to incorporate a community orchard and a new section of footpath to link within the existing rights of way network.

 

WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT ON THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT AND HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THIS?

We recognise the impact that developments of this nature may cause, and we will always seek to minimise this as much as possible. The planning application CEMEX has submitted is supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment assessing a whole range of issues which the development could impact upon such as noise, visual impact, heritage, flood risk, landscape, air quality, ecology, highway safety, traffic and nature conservation for example.  These assessments have influenced the design of the extraction on site and the way the site will be operated and managed with measures built into the development and management of the scheme to minimise effects to acceptable levels both for the community and the environment.  For example, rather than opening up the entire site, mineral will be worked in phases and restored as operations progress.  There will also be stand-offs and screening from neighbouring residential properties to protect them from noise, dust and visual impacts. The proposals will not affect the existing footpath routes in the vicinity of the site.

 

WHERE WILL THE HGV MOVEMENTS BE?

There will be no fixed plant on the site. As was the case when extraction took place from Ripple Quarry, extracted materials from Ripple East will be transported by barge from the existing wharf, for processing at the established Ryall Quarry. This will remove the need for HGVs and other vehicles to use Bow Lane and the local road network, except by staff and for the periodic delivery/collection of mobile plant and machinery and fuel delivery. The Transport Assessment proposes a suitable route for these vehicles.

From Ryall Quarry construction materials will continue to be transported via the primary road network to CEMEX’s markets. As the rate of production would be the same as for CEMEX’s existing operations at Ryall North, there is not anticipated to be a change to the number of HGV movements on the highway network.

 

WHAT ARE THE TIMESCALES FOR THE PROJECT IF IT GOES AHEAD?

The planning application was submitted in March 2022.  It is expected that Worcestershire County Council will undertake statutory and public consultation on the application and then make a decision at planning committee.  If permitted, the site will be worked and fully restored within some 3 years. This includes six months of site set up, eighteen months of mineral extraction and progressive restoration and a further 6 months for completing restoration.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND THE APPLICATION DOCUMENTS?

The planning application documents can be viewed on the Worcestershire County Councils website.

The application documents and environmental statement are also available as pdfs.

The application is in 3 Volumes:

Volume 1 – Planning Application including Written Statement

Volume 2 – the Environmental Statement and Technical Appendices

Volume 3 - the Environmental Statement Non-Technical Summary

To contact CEMEX about the planning application please use the email address planninggb@cemex.com