Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Al Fayed campaigns against Surrey quarry plans

Mohammed Al Fayed
Mr Fayed says he was campaigning on behalf of other residents

Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed has begun a campaign to stop a sand quarry from being reopened near his home.

The proposed quarry is on land close to Mr Al Fayed's country estate in Oxted.

Mr Al Fayed said he was not campaigning for himself, but rather to help the "working class" people of the area who had no means to fight the plans.

Surrey County Council, which has included the site in its minerals plan, said the planning process would allow residents to make their views known.

The planned quarry in Barrow Green Road is one of several proposed sites.

'Legal action'

Speaking to BBC Surrey, Mr Al Fayed said: "I am objecting because we are not in the desert.

"You do this in special areas for mining - not heavily inhabited with locals who have children who [are] living in peace."

He added: "[You have] hundreds of trucks on a daily basis crossing small roads and those roads are not really built to have heavy traffic and trucks with fumes everywhere. It's just unbelievable."

Mr Al Fayed said: "I'm not worried about myself. I am just worried about the people who have no means to defend themselves.

"I am objecting [to] all of this planning permission and if it [is] not accepted, then I am taking them to court."

Surrey County Council leader Dr Andrew Povey said: "The government sets a target for the amount of minerals extraction that we have to have in the south east of England

"We have put forward a plan to say this is where we think this huge tonnage of material can be extracted from.

"When there is a planning application then obviously local residents are informed and that's the point when they need to make those views known, but the planning process is a very legally tied process and there are only so many things the county council can do."

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