New granite quarry may open in the Vale

Sat 13 Apr 2019

A new quarry to extract granite might be opened in the Vale after planners produced a framework under which aggregate could be extracted from Chouet headland, subject to formal planning permission.

The draft framework, which is available here, says any new quarry would need to be developed in a safe and sustainable manner and is estimated to provide reserves for more than 30 years.

Up to 4.5 million tonnes of mineral are available on the site, where the oil-filled Torrey Canyon Quarry is sited, which presents a source of potential contamination and extraction woud need to be managed carefully to avoid causing pollution to ground or surface waters and to ensure correct disposal, say the planners.

They also reveal that the quarry was used to dispose of a small amount of unexploded ordnance following WWII but that 'the impacts of potential detonation at present are likely to be contained within the quarry given the depth of the quarry and that it is currently filled with water.'

The report notes that Les Vardes is the only active quarry left on the island and, without the future use of Chouet, all stone and aggregate used in the construction industry here would have to be imported.

That, says the States, would affect costs and jobs within quarrying and allied sectors. The framework adds: 'There are no other economically recoverable reserves within the Island other than at Chouet Headland according to all available information.'

History of quarrying
The Guernsey granite trade started in the late 18th Century. At its peak in the 19th Century there were over 250 active quarries within Guernsey. Today there is only one active quarry, Les Vardes, St Sampson. The origins of the quarry at Les Vardes date back around 200 years. It was operated during World War II and abandoned afterwards. The quarry was reopened in 1961 and has been operated continuously ever since.

Chouet headland itself has been used for granite extraction in the past, with the remains of six quarries still there.

Please see below for a diagram of the headland's current features and uses.

Comment invited
The Development and Planning Authority is inviting comments on the draft framework, which can be submitted to [email protected], and should be received by Friday 7 June.




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