Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the more common questions we’re asked about proposals for mineral extraction.

Two Brett staff stood by a digger

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the more common questions we’re asked about proposals for mineral extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will continue to add questions and answers to this page throughout the planning process. If you have a question which is not listed below please contact us and we will endeavour to respond or add additional questions below.

Why do we need a quarry here?

There’s a strong local demand for aggregates and concrete for homes and regeneration projects in the area and meeting this need locally is the ideal option. Our current mineral resources at East Hall Farm will be exhausted in the near future and Rainham Lodge Farm would be a continuation of our local supply to the market. Beneath the Rainham Lodge Farm site are deposits of sand and gravel which are ideal for use in building.

Where would all the sand and gravel be used?

Sand and gravel is required for all kinds of construction. Examples include concrete for foundations and structures, in building blocks, paving and kerbs, in mortar for brickwork, and landscaping for paths and driveways. The demand for materials comes from local developments, whether that’s housing and community facilities, shops, offices and places for leisure, or improvements to road and rail networks. A typical home requires around 200 tonnes of aggregates.

Why can’t recycled material be used?

The building industry already recycles virtually all of the available materials that arise for reuse in construction or land remediation. The UK recycles and reuses more construction waste than any other country in Europe. However, recycled materials only account for around a third of the overall demand for aggregates so there is still a need to quarry new materials to meet the need from construction – see Background.

How long will the site be worked?

The site will be worked in a number of phases (or areas of land) over a period of 15 to 20 years (including restoration). Each phase will be worked in sequence which minimises the amount of land that is open at any one time and allows for progressive restoration (phase by phase).

How much sand and gravel is there?

There is an estimated 2 million tonnes of sand and gravel within the planning application area. This has been proven through geological investigations and testing.

How deep will the quarry be?

Sand and gravel quarries are relatively shallow. According to our geological investigations cross the site the mineral deposits are anticipated to be between one metre thick in some places and up to six metres in others. The average depth of sand and gravel at this location is expected to be around three metres.

Where will the material be processed?

We will not be locating a processing plant or associated infrastructure at Rainham Lodge Farm. The sand and gravel would be excavated, loaded onto lorries and transferred and processed at our Rainham Quarry around 1.5 miles away, just off Launders Lane. Rainham Quarry has been operating for almost 60 years. Our entrance off of Warwick Lane would be reopened for this purpose.

Will there still be public access to the site?

We intend to maintain public access throughout the lifetime of the quarry at Rainham Lodge Farm. During ‘phase 3’ access would need to be restricted to ensure public safety but a path would be retained through a diversion route.  Once quarrying is complete there is potential to improve local access with a bridge across the River Ingrebourne in addition to enhanced links to the local network of paths – see Restoration.

Will there be a loss of local green spaces for the public?

The proposed development, as part of the Ingrebourne Valley, has been carefully designed so that there would not be a negative impact on local areas such as Hornchurch Country Park and Berwick Glades, and our commitment is that the proposal would make a net positive contribution towards public access, nature conservation and increased biodiversity.

The proposed development will not result in the loss of public access to green spaces and in our experience operations often have a much smaller impact in countryside settings than feared by prospective neighbours.

As work progresses temporary changes to current public access will be made by providing alternative access arrangements, however, there will be an overall improvement in access as the land is restored. Details of this are being discussed with the Thames Chase Trust and Essex Wildlife Trust, including how the restored site will integrate with nearby green amenities.

What will be the impact of lorries from the quarry?

We have received a great deal of feedback on traffic movements outlined in our current transport proposal (see Environmental Considerations) both in terms of Brett vehicles and other road users. Listening to the concerns, we are looking again at this area, and detailed consideration is being given to vehicle numbers, spread of vehicles throughout operational hours, routing and road improvements. Once a revised draft scheme has been prepared this will be shared with the Highways Authority for their input and then the updated scheme will be placed on our website ahead of our planning application is made.

What are the environmental impacts?

Detailed environmental assessments have been carried out as an essential part of the planning process. The potential for environmental impacts and our proposals to address them are included in our planning application. These cover noise, air quality, traffic, landscape, ecology, archaeology and water amongst others – see Environmental Considerations. Questions relating to specific environmental concerns are welcomed.

What about the impact on the nature reserve and wildlife?

The application area is not within Hornchurch Country Park or nearby Ingrebourne Marshes SSSI, but there is potential overlap with the edge of lands designated as a local nature reserve, and the site is adjacent to grassland and wetland habitats to the west. Extensive ecological studies have been carried out, and detailed information has been gathered in relation to the ecology on the site. Most of the site is used for arable crops but there are some field margins with wildflowers and areas of ecological value at the perimeter of the site.
We are proposing to maintain a significant distance between the quarry site and the nearby habitats and a new area of flower-rich meadow would be created in the land between the two. This buffer would also include a ‘bund’ using soils from the site that will act as a screen to help to reduce the visual impact for visitors to Ingrebourne Nature Discovery Centre.
The ecological assessment also takes into account the fact that the progressive restoration of the site following quarrying provides opportunities to enhance wildlife and deliver a net gain for biodiversity– see Restoration.

How will noise be controlled?

Noise levels resulting from proposed site activity have been assessed in the context of recognised standards and guidance. As a result no significant noise intrusion will arise from the development.
Nevertheless, our planning conditions and our commitment to being a good neighbour mean that appropriate measures will be taken to control noise where necessary, in accordance with industry best-working practices.
Modern equipment will be used on site with up to date noise suppression techniques. This, coupled with standoffs to keep activities as far away as possible from local communities, along with noise attenuation bunds (using on site soil) around the perimeter will keep noise to acceptable levels. Additional site health and safety measures will be put in place to control noise in accordance with industry best-working practices and planning conditions – see Environmental Considerations.

How will dust be controlled?

Studies to examine the potential for dust to become airborne indicate there will be no impact on local air quality around the site. The inherent moist nature of the sand and gravel as it is dug means it is damp when extracted. Nevertheless, our planning conditions and our commitment to being a good neighbour means that appropriate measures will be taken to control dust if necessary, in accordance with industry best-working practices – see Environmental Considerations.

What will be the effects on local water courses?

An analysis of hydrology and hydrogeology across the site confirms that the operation of the site will not adversely affect water and a water management plan is proposed. Separation distances between the development and the River Ingrebourne would be maintained to protect the river and a water management plan will be put in place to ensure there is no effect on local water courses – see Environmental Considerations.

How will any archaeology on the site be handled?

Quarrying is one of the few ways in which areas of land can be exposed to reveal possible archaeological and palaeontological finds. Over the years quarries have uncovered some incredible finds from woolly mammoths to roman relics to lost military aircraft. However, as a matter of course, during soil removal we pay close attention to identify anything of archaeological interest revealed by the work and this is collected, recorded, analysed and findings published in agreement with local authority archaeologists – see Environmental Considerations.

How will the site be restored?

Progressive restoration would follow closely behind each stage of excavation. Soils and clays arising from local construction would be brought in to restore and profile the level of the land, then covered with the top soils already on the site (that are removed to excavate the mineral). The site will be returned to agriculture with enhanced planting of some indigenous trees and hedgerows to increase biodiversity including the possibility of creating new areas of wetland and grassland on the west side of the site (adjacent to the River Ingrebourne).

The existing footpath that crosses the location would be reinstated along its alignment and additional links to the river embankment provided to enhance the network along with a proposed river crossing. A comprehensive restoration plan will be agreed with the local authority as part of the planning process. Brett has a long history of award-winning quarry restoration to enhance biodiversity and we are confident that the net long-term effect of the proposals will be positive for local ecology – see Restoration.

Will there be a public consultation?

As part of our planning application there are formal public consultations both before submission and once the application has been submitted. This website – along with a door-to-door maildrop, face-to-face public exhibition and ongoing dialogue with local representatives – forms part of our public consultation and we welcome comments and questions at any time during the process.

Who are Brett Aggregates?

Brett Aggregates is an independent business with a legacy of over 100 years’ operating experience and a reputation for acting responsibly. We operate sites across Southern England and have established close working relationships over the years with many local organisations supporting community activities. Long-term partnerships are fundamental to the way that Brett does business and we believe that by building trust with stakeholders, key partners, businesses and residents, we can work collaboratively and strike a balance to meet the needs of the construction industry and local communities.

When will a planning application be submitted?

A planning application is being prepared following feedback received so far during our consultation and we hope to submit the application to Havering London Borough Council in the first half on 2024.

Who owns the site at Rainham Lodge Farm?

Brett is the owner of Rainham Lodge Farm having purchased the site in 2006.

Why are there other planning applications relating to Rainham Quarry?

Running a quarry can often require changes in the way operations are carried out to ensure production can continue efficiently and an adequate supply of materials to the local market. Such changes – even relatively minor proposals – can require a variation in conditions associated with a previous planning permission or may require a whole new planning application. In the case of Rainham Quarry, planning applications and permissions relating to Rainham Quarry can be viewed on the Havering London Borough Council planning website.

Why is there a proposal to reopen the original entrance on Warwick Lane at Rainham Quarry?

This planning application is not related to our proposal at Rainham Lodge Farm. It follows a recent planning permission granted to another local operator to extract sand and gravel from an area known as Medina Farm on Dennises Lane, RM14 2XB. That company is not part of Brett Aggregates Ltd but the intention is for the sand and gravel extracted at Medina Farm to be transported for processing at our existing Rainham Quarry where there is already an established processing plant.

The shortest route to Rainham Quarry (along Dennises Lane/Bramble Lane/Warwick Lane/Launders Lane) is a journey of just over 2 miles – this involves the fewest vehicle miles, lowest emissions and smallest impact on local roads. It is also the route approved by the Medina Farm permission. However, as an improvement to the approved routing, we are proposing to reopen the old Warwick Lane entrance to Rainham Quarry. This will enable vehicles to return to Medina Farm by avoiding the Launders Lane/Berwick Pond Road junction. We are therefore making a planning application to allow the Warwick Lane entrance to be reopened specifically for this purpose, for a period of approximately two years. Details of this planning application can be viewed on the Havering London Borough Council planning website.

What are you planning at East Hall Farm?

We have made a planning application for a small extension to East Hall Farm quarry near Wennington. The planned extension area is a field of around 2 hectares that adjoins the existing site, close to the junction of New Road (A1306) and Launders Lane. It would be the final phase of quarrying at East Hall Farm.

The current planning permission for East Hall Farm (reference P0271.14) allows sand and gravel to be extracted in phases (typically field-by-field) with progressive restoration of the whole site back to agricultural use by 2026. The proposed extension and restoration would also be completed within this timescale.

The ‘as dug’ sand and gravel from East Hall Farm is currently transported to our existing Rainham Quarry for washing and grading. Rainham Quarry is about a mile away along Launders Lane and the same transport arrangement is proposed for the new extension.