Campaign group's plan to broaden appeal

A LOCAL campaign group committed to saving woodland earmarked as a potential site for a mineral extraction pit is keen to broaden its battle ground. Fritton Action Rescue (FAR), the group fighting the quarry threat to Waveney Forest, is calling on people from around Norfolk and Suffolk to sign up to a petition to save the wildlife haven.

A LOCAL campaign group committed to saving woodland earmarked as a potential site for a mineral extraction pit is keen to broaden its battle ground.

Fritton Action Rescue (FAR), the group fighting the quarry threat to Waveney Forest, is calling on people from around Norfolk and Suffolk to sign up to a petition to save the wildlife haven.

Campaigner Caroline Butcher said the woods are not only used by locals but are visited regularly by people in Norwich, Sheringham, Worlingham and Diss. She added the woods were also used by holidaymakers who visited Yarmouth and the Broads - many of who had signed the petition.

“People come from far and wide to visit the woods and they are saying such lovely things about them,” she said.

Mrs Butcher said the woods were a wildlife haven and attracted not only dog walkers, but families, couples and groups of children on school visits.

The 326 acre woodland is one of more than 100 sites in Norfolk put forward as a potential site for pit development.

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Norfolk County Council has to find 3m tonnes of sand and minerals each year for road and building projects for the county and it has already received more than 40,000 comments on the proposed sites.

Mrs Butcher, 52, was this week delivering more leaflets and petitions to shops and pubs in the local area and said an important matter was the issue of local amenities in Yarmouth.

She said: “There is nothing like this in Yarmouth. The nearest place is Bacton, Dunwich or Thetford. These woods are important.”

Mrs Butcher added she had been encouraged by the response of local county councillors at a recent meeting of the Yarmouth area committee where, for the first time, they spoke of their contempt against the quarry threat.

A list of acceptable sites will be published next year and a final report would be carried out by a planning inspector, who will make the final decision on which sites are approved for mineral extraction some time in 2010.

w To sign the online petition visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/fritton-woods