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Health warning over quarry plans

PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:08 30 June 2010

A WORLD renowned expert on chronic illness delivered a stark warning this week of the health hazards to a vast swathe of the borough of siting a quarry in Fritton.

A WORLD renowned expert on chronic illness delivered a stark warning this week of the health hazards to a vast swathe of the borough of siting a quarry in Fritton.

Retired GP turned activist Dick Van Steenis outlined the shocking risks of chronic illness from proposed sand and gravel extraction at Waveney Forest during a packed public meeting and said it would affect thousands of households.

Speaking at St Olaves Village Hall to more than 100 residents Dr Van Steenis described the potentially fatal consequences of pollution from the quarry site.

The heavyweight researcher claimed that toxic fuel and dust particles would cause diseases including heart attacks, cancer and emphysema.

Asthma rates would also soar according to Dr Van Steenis with the omissions travelling as far as Reedham, Belton, Burgh Castle and Bradwell.

Unborn children would also be at risk of deformity as a result of exposure to heavy metals contained in diesel fuel, he warned.

“Particles from bulldozers, without filtration systems, rise 40ft in the air and cover a three mile radius,” said Dr Van Steenis.

“Dirty oils produce particles that are classified by the EU as hazardous waste and should be banned. Emissions from one bulldozer is equal to 900 Volvos

“Asthma rates could rise to 33pc within one mile and 22pc within two miles of the site. Reedham, Belton and Burgh Castle would be within range of the particles and Browston, Fritton and St Olaves affected all the time.

“The blood will be more sticky leading to strokes and diabetes, particle emissions can also cause depression and affect the thyroid gland.”

Dr Van Steenis added that his research showed that similar forms of pollution from incinerators in east London had caused an increase in juvenile delinquency and knife crime.

He labelled other research into the affects of particle pollution “fraudulent” and based on “Alice in Wonderland” evidence.

Earlier in the day Dr Van Steenis visited the site where Brett Aggregates wants to extract hundreds of thousand of tonnes of sand and gravel.

A GP in the UK for 28 years, he had been tracked down by members of the Fritton Action Rescue group which has been running a long running battle against quarrying in Waveney Forest.

People at the meeting listened in stunned silence to the case put forward by Dr Van Steenis, which is likely to strengthen the resolve of residents campaigning against the quarry.

Evidence from Dr Van Steenis will be presented to planners on the Norfolk County Council mineral planning committee which will rule on the application.

St Olaves parish council chairman Keith Nunn said: “There is nobody who can argue with the facts put forward by Dr Van Steenis. “He is the world's leading authority on deaths and chronic illnesses from pollution and devoted 13 years research to this since retiring.

“The quarry site would be just 175m from nearest houses it is totally unsuitable for this type of extraction.”

Yarmouth MP Tony Wright and deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Barry Stone also spoke against the plans.

The woodland site at Fritton was among more than 100 being considered by Norfolk County Council as a potential quarry site. However just as the battle at Fritton appeared to be won a new application was submitted for a smaller 195 acre site closer to homes with some access changes.

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