CASE - campaign against silica extraction

February 2018.

With the news that the County Council has removed West Bilney Wood from the Development Plan - The Single Issue Silica Sand Review - and therefore any immediate threat has been removed, this page is no longer being updated.

It may be that links to other pages or websites may no longer work.

The page remains here solely for reference purposes.

Webmaster. 18 February 2018.

December 2017 Update. (Webmasters note)


The Single Issue Silica Sand Review of the Norfolk Minerals Site Specific Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) was adopted by Norfolk County Council on 11 December 2017.

The recommendation of the Planning Inspector that West Bilney Wood (AoS D) should be deleted from the Development Plan has been accepted by the County Council. West Bilney Wood is no longer included in the plan. The threat that a search for silica sand could be carried out, with potentially it being quarried for sand, has been removed.

See more information about this here

The Adoption Statement may be downloaded - Single Issue Silica Sand Review

Sibelco, Kings Lynn Quarry Community Liaison Committee.

Meeting held Thursday 15th December 2016 - see notes taken at this meeting

A group from CASE met with Henry Bellingham MP this morning

(3rd. January 2017), told him of our concerns and took him for a walk through the Bilney woods. He left saying he agreed that the site was unsuited for the extraction of silica sand and should not be considered by NCC. He saw no purpose in the searches going ahead, and felt we should be removed entirely from the list at this stage.

He agreed that we should not have to endure 10 years of waiting to see if anyone took up the option to extract sand if the search was allowed to go ahead. He left saying he would speak to NCC, and then give thought to the best way forward. We look forward to what he has to say. Please do come to the next Parish Council meeting on 9th January; we need to keep up the pressure.

Briefing notes prepared for the meeting with HB are here.


Making the case against silica extraction

A group of concerned residents from West Bilney and East Winch have come together to run a campaign that will actively contest the plans to extract silica sand from the woodlands of West Bilney


The sole aim of CASE is to oppose and stop silica extraction in the East Winch and West Bilney area.

Reasons for opposing

The reasons for opposing silica sand extraction in this area are:

1. Environmental issues

The loss of wildlife habitat

The destruction of mature forest

The loss of rare species through the destruction of their habitat

The knock on effect upon bees and other pollinating insects

The detrimental effects upon the environment of extensive quarrying in a restricted area

The impact of road widening on the area of SSSI that runs alongside Common Road

2. Societal issues

Health concerns about the impact of silica dust and particles both on those working in the quarry and those living in the surrounding area.

Loss of community - as people leave the area because of the quarrying work.

Quality of life of those living in proximity to the quarry - noise pollution, constant traffic flow, loss of countryside and recreational area.

The mental anxiety caused by concern/worry about the impact of the quarrying.

The safety of walkers and cyclists using Common Lane - which is very narrow and totally unsuitable for hundreds of heavy vehicles on a daily basis.

3. Infrastructure and economic issues

Impact upon the infrastructure, particularly the A47 and the A149

The additional traffic problems created at the turnings at Common Road and Church Lane

The impact upon businesses considering moving to the area

The impact upon house prices in the area

The impact of heavy traffic upon the villages that line the proposed route for transporting the material.

4. Additional issues of concern

  • Historical interest - the area of search may cover items of heritage value. There is a tradition that Cromwell bombarded Pentney Abbey from the forest area, and stone cannonballs have been found by the river Nar.

  • The arm running north from the forest has in it a Victorian pumping station, one of the last remnants of the old Bilney Hall where General Allenby of WW1 fame spent much of his childhood.

  • What is the impact of further quarrying upon the water levels in the area and also, how much more land is to be turned into lakes?

  • What are the assurances that the quarried land will be landscaped to a reasonable standard? It hasn’t happened in other areas that have been quarried for Carrstone.

  • What is likely to happen to the houses at the top of Common Road and East Winch Common (a site of special scientific interest) if the junction with the A47 is to be widened?

As a group, we are concerned that the Parish Council has chosen to not make the silica extraction proposal a matter of serious concern. Many residents that will be directly influenced by the quarrying received little or no notification about the proposals and mention of it in the Parish Council minutes are totally inadequate for the scale of the impact.

Please contact us at email address: to voice any further concerns or to raise any points.

There is also an active Facebook group, just go to West Bilney Wood where you can comment or suggest actions.

(Webmaster's note: Minutes of Parish Council meetings are here and a recent letter from the Parish Council to Norfolk County Council may be seen here)

The file above may be viewed/downloaded from here