BREAKING: a public inquiry is due to get underway at Newton Abbot Town Hall today into the controversial proposal to reopen the Bullers Hill Quarry at Haldon, near Teignmouth. The site is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) as it contains outcrops of flint-bearing gravels. It is one of the few places where the Haldon Gravels dating from the early Paleogene period are exposed.
A spokesman for Michael Gove explained, “Reopening the quarry could spark a renaissance in the flint- sharpening industry which was once a major contributor to the economy of the region. As part of the levelling up agenda we believe that this development will be of major benefit for Teignmouth and surrounding communities.”
A spokesman for Tory-controlled Devon County Council said, “We welcome this inquiry. Reopening the quarry and a flint-sharpening facility in nearby Teignmouth will provide a boost for the local economy. Waste, largely in the form of gravel, will be used to mend potholes and reduce imports of foreign gravel.”
Opinion among local residents has been mixed. “If this stops us importing foreign flints, I am all for it”, said one. Another resident said he was worried that an influx of foreign flint sharpeners would disrupt things in the local town, saying, “Where are our kids going to be trained in flint sharpening? That industry died out a while back now. All this means is more foreign workers here.”
Local Lib Dem councillors were less enthusiastic, saying that the scheme’s environmental benefits were unclear and that further studies were needed. “We are planning to discuss this at our Spring 2023 conference and we are very clear that this is an important issue which needs to be addressed. Ed has already set out a clear direction for our industry strategy and this is part of that conversation which everyone in the Party is committed to having… .”
Speaking from a lay-by close to the quarry, a local Labour spokesperson and Extinction Rebellion member said, “We plan to continue our protest campaign just as soon as I unstick myself from my steering wheel”. A spokesperson for the Labour National Executive said, “Keir is firmly behind British Industry but will await the results of the inquiry before commenting.”
Another local resident and former newspaper columnist, said, “This makes as much sense as opening a coal mine in Cumbria in the third decade of the second millennium.” But then he always had some odd ideas…