Elsenham Quarry Consultation – advice for residents


HPC is responding to the Essex Minerals Local Plan Review 2025 to 2040. This is a public consultation asking for your views on 52 potential sand and gravel extraction sites over Essex. HPC is concerned the proposed site in Henham parish is unsuitable, it would be positioned between Elsenham Quarry and Pledgdon Green.

The suitability of the 52 sites has already been assessed for Essex County Council (ECC) by consultants who used a Red – Amber – Green (RAG) colour grading system to score the sites across 16 different criteria. It is now our turn to give feedback on this assessment and scoring!

HPC asks concerned residents to support the HPC response, and send objections for site A76 Elsenham by emailing ECC at . State your name and address in the email. State that you object to Site A76 Elsenham and then give reasons why you object.

To assist, HPC lists reasons for objection below. Sites that receive preference after the public consultation will be included in the Essex Minerals Local Plan. These preferred sites will stand a greater chance of gaining planning permission. Please find a few minutes to respond! You can read more online:

The deadline for submitting your response is 19th March 2024.

  • Site A76 Elsenham was the subject of a Planning Application in 2014. The application was refused by Uttlesford District Council Planning Committee. It was also not recommended by Essex County Council representatives. The developer appealed against the decision to refuse permission. A Planning Inspector then dismissed the appeal.
  • The attractive rural landscape would be seriously impacted. Previous proposals suggested the need for extensive screening bunds up to 5m high and overburden stores up to 19m high! These bunds would have an unacceptable impact on the site, its setting and on the views. Upgrade score to red.
  •  Historic Buildings. The impact on several important and attractive listed buildings is serious. The land in and around Pledgdon Green is currently being assessed for suitability and designation as a Conservation Area; this should be factored into the assessment. Upgrade score to red.
  • Archaeology. The assessment accepts that the site is likely to contain extensive areas of multi period archaeology. Upgrade score to amber/
  •  The road infrastructure in the area is appalling and already unworkable. The road that goes into the airport on the roundabout is privately owned. If the owners close this route all quarry HGVs will have to return to Elsenham/Stansted Mountfitchet or travel to Takeley. Congestion is at an intolerable level and will worsen with the large number of consented housing schemes in Elsenham, Henham, Canfield and Takeley. Upgrade score to red.
  • The assessment is wrong, the groundwater levels in the area are typically high. The B1051 adjacent to the site floods severely and frequently, the bank and road damage from erosion is severe. Further alteration to the water table could destabilise the new housing developments due to be sited close to the proposed quarry. Upgrade score to red.
  •  The previous planning application for this site suggested there would be up to 290 two-way HGV movements per day, along a single-track private road currently serving the local Golf Club. The route is constrained, and shared with recreational users. Upgrade score to amber.
  •  Public Rights of Way. The site assessment identifies seven Public Rights of Way either crossing or passing very close to the proposed site. Residents would lose access to the historic and only direct footpath which connects Henham village to the hamlet of Pledgdon Green. Upgrade score to
  •  Air Quality. The site is located immediately adjacent to several existing dwellings. Mineral operations will create emissions through dust, diesel exhaust, volatile organic compounds, and land disturbance. Upgrade score to
  •  Soil Quality. The site contains Grade 2 quality soil, indicating very good quality agricultural land. It is important to preserve our national capacity to produce food. Upgrade score to
  •  Services and Utilities. Assessment score is
  •  Health and Amenity. The site assessment notes the development is likely to have a major impact on health and amenity. Quarries are known to damage health through air pollutants such as dust emissions, diesel exhaust, volatile organic compounds, and land disturbance. Guidance on avoiding air pollution is becoming stronger as research demonstrates health impacts at lower and lower concentrations. Upgrade score to
  • Airport Safeguarding Zones. Given the proximity to Stansted Airport, surely use of the proposed site for mineral extraction would surpass the CO2 quota in this area. Exposed water would attract birds, and this is not allowed near an airport or approaching flight path. Upgrade score to
  • Ecology and Biodiversity. Site A76 is entirely inappropriate for the proposed quarrying activities which would result in damage to designated sites, irreplaceable habitats, protected and notable species. In relation to the Stantec report, the assessment score should be upgraded to Red.


The ecological and biodiversity reasons why site A76 should not be allocated are as follows:

Nationally designated sites. The nationally important Elsenham Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest is just 300m south of site A76. These areas are ancient woodlands and known as ‘irreplaceable habitats’. They are the most valuable habitats within the UK. Irreplaceable habitats cannot be recreated, meaning that it is not possible to mitigate for any impacts. Impacts on these irreplaceable habitats would occur through pathways including hydrological change and deposition of dust. Proposed access to A76 is via Hall Road and Parsonage Road which passes directly adjacent to Elsenham Woods SSSI meaning that these woodlands are well within the zone of influence of the A76 site. Construction and operational traffic will all pass directly adjacent to the SSSI and a decreasing in air quality (resulting from increases in oxides of nitrogen and ammonia) will have negative impacts on the SSSI. The cumulative effects of this reduction in air quality at the SSSI should also be considered given the significant residential development that has, or will, take place in this vicinity, as well as existing quarry traffic.

Locally designated sites. Pledgdon Green Local Wildlife Site (LWS) is an ancient grassland, a habitat type which has decreased by around 90% since the 20th century. The value of Pledgdon Green LWS lies in its sward composition and the undisturbed soil structures. Pledgdon Green LWS lies directly adjacent to site A76 and a consequence, lies within the zone of influence of A76 and will be negatively impacted by pathways such as hydrological change, dust deposition and air quality.

Habitats of Principal Importance. Site A76 contains two Habitats of Principal Importance (as defined in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, 2006). These are the hedgerows and pond. The loss of these habitats would be inevitable were A76 to be allocated.

Species of Principal Importance and Protected Species. Site A76 supports numerous protected and notable species, including;

  • Breeding and wintering birds which are Species of Principal Importance and are also found on the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List, such as breeding skylark and yellowhammer, or wintering flocks of lapwing and golden plover. Allocation would result in the loss of habitat for these species and negative impacts on their populations.
  • Protected amphibians, including great crested newt which is known to thrive in the previously mentioned site A76 pond. Site A76 lies within a Natural England Amber Risk Zone for great crested newt. Allocation would result in the loss of habitat for these species and negative impacts on their populations.
  • Bats will use the site for foraging and commuting, and the trees within and on the edge of A76 may be used by roosting bats. Barbastelle, regarded as one of the rarest bats in the UK, has recently been recorded in the area. Allocation would result in the loss of habitat for these species and negative impacts on their populations.

Cumulative impacts: The cumulative impacts resulting from the allocation of site A76, the existing Elsenham Quarry, and the residential development in the vicinity would further exacerbate impacts to designated sites, habitats and species making this potential allocation untenable.

Relevant planning policy

National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 186 states ‘When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the following principles:

(b) development on land within or outside a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and which is likely to have an adverse effect on it (either individually or in combination with other developments), should not normally be permitted. The only exception is where the benefits of the development in the location proposed clearly outweigh both its likely impact on the features of the site that make it of special scientific interest, and any broader impacts on the national network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest;

(c) development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons 67 and a suitable compensation strategy exists; …’. A76 will result in impacts to a SSSI, and also to irreplaceable habitats and therefore should not be allocated.


The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) places a duty on public bodies and statutory undertakers to have due regard to the conservation of biodiversity. Were Essex County Council to allocate A76 they would be neglecting this duty by allowing impacts to designated sites, irreplaceable habitats, Species and Habitats of Principal Importance (as defined in Section 41 of the Act).

Uttlesford Local Plan policy ENV7 states ‘Development proposals that adversely affect areas of nationally important nature conservation concern, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves, will not be permitted unless the need for the development outweighs the particular importance of the nature conservation value of site or reserve. Development proposals likely to affect local areas of nature conservation significance, such as County Wildlife sites, ancient woodlands, wildlife habitats, sites of ecological interest and Regionally Important Geological/ Geomorphological Sites, will not be permitted unless the need for the development outweighs the local significance of the site to the biodiversity of the District.’ Allocation of A76 would result in adverse effects on SSSIs, LWS, ancient woodland and wildlife habitat, it should not be allocated.

Emerging Uttlesford Local Plan Core Policy 38 states ‘Protection of Priority Habitats: Development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, according to the latest Detra Biodiversity Metric, will be refused, save for where exceptional circumstances are demonstrated and appropriate mitigation and compensation is provided, including but not limited to: v. Ancient Woodland vi. Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh vii. Lowland Meadows viii. Chalk Rivers/ Streams ix. Ancient or Veteran Trees’. A76 will result in deterioration of irreplaceable habitats and ancient woodland, it therefore should not be allocated.

Emerging Essex County Council Minerals Plan policy S12 states ‘…Mineral extraction sites shall:… i) Adverse effects on the integrity of local wildlife habitats, and wider ecological networks, including the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites are avoided, either alone or in combination with other plans and projects’. Allocation of A76 would result in adverse effects on nationally and locally designated sites and therefore would not be consistent with the emerging plan, of which it would be part.

One thought on “Elsenham Quarry Consultation – advice for residents

  1. The road system is not fit for cars let alone 40 tonne lorry’s speeding through pledging Green, Hamperden End & Henham on a regular basis
    Look a the Hall Road Elsenham mess!!!
    It would be a nightmare for all!

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