Huge new quarry expansion threatens mass destruction of Somerset wildlife

2 vast extractive pits planned in area of outstanding natural beauty

Image of Torr Works, Shepton Mallet, by Christina White Photography

Recent applications have been submitted for the re-opening and massive expansion of Westdown Quarry, which is immediately adjacent to the ancient Asham Woods in the Mendips outside of Frome.

Many local residents are concerned about the adverse cumulative effects to the environment and impact that a third super-quarry will have on an area that already has Whatley Quarry and Torr Works Quarry operating concurrently.

Extraction of 160 million tonnes of carbon-rich rock from Westdown Quarry and the associated increases to heavy lorry traffic would result in greatly increased carbon emissions at a time of climate crisis.

The deadline to object to the planning applications is 30th June - a draft email to send is below.

The spokesperson for local opposition to the proposals is Keith Harrison-Broninski -

Arial photo showing location of existing quarries

The details

Westdown Quarry has been disused for 40 years and adjoins the largest and most diverse ancient woodland in the Mendips. Asham Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Ancient woods in the UK are under serious threat, and Asham is one of the most important.

Extractive industries are responsible for half of the world's carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss .

The cumulative effects of concurrent working of Westdown Quarry, Whatley Quarry, and the Torr Works Quarry would inevitably lead to impacts including:

  • Massively increased carbon emissions from extracted rock and lorry traffic at a time of climate crisis
  • Increased noise from sirens, blasting, and machinery
  • Increased traffic on roads that are already congested
  • Further negative impacts on the health of local people from pollution including dust and dirt
  • Unpredictable changes to the ecosystem from changes to the water table, which are hard to predict and could be expensive or even impossible to ameliorate
  • Further disruption of local wildlife and plant life ecosystems both on land in watercourses, in a site immediately adjoining Asham Wood(a Site of Special Scientific Interest)

Planning Applications related to Westdown Quarry and Asham Wood:

Operation and restoration of Westdown Quarry, including the construction of an upgraded access, on land that sits outside the ROMP and IDO boundaries.

Interim Development Order (IDO) consent for the determination of mineral planning conditions at Hanson's Westdown Quarry

Interim Development Order (IDO) consent for the determination of mineral planning conditions at Hanson's Westdown Quarry (incorporating an area known as Asham Wood Void)

Review of Mineral Planning Permission (ROMP) consent for the determination of mineral planning conditions at Hanson's Westdown Quarry

Temporary storage of Limestone Scalpings

Please EMAIL your objection by 30 June – WEDNESDAY!




Subject: Quarrying in Somerset

I write to object to planning applications SCC/3795/2021, SCC/3836/2021/IDO, SCC/3837/2021/IDO, SCC/3838/2021/ROMP

[Just copy and paste all or some of the reasons above into your email objection that must include your name, address and postcode.]

Sign the petition here

Find out more

Listen to discussion of Westdown Quarry on BBC Radio Somerset (0730, 28-Jun-21) -\_harrison\-broninski/discussion\-of\-westdown\-quarry\-on\-bbc\-somerset\-0730\-28\-jun\-21