Quarries are large, deep pits used to excavate stone and other minerals for building and construction. During the excavation process, dust and other toxic materials can spread from the site towards neighbouring areas – including homes, schools, shops, farms, businesses and parks. This dust can pollute the air, causing a range of potential health hazards.
Quarries like the proposed Fulton Hogan quarry in Templeton, have also been known to release crystalline silica into the atmosphere – an internationally listed lung carcinogen. If inhaled, particles of crystalline silica can cause silicosis – a disabling or even fatal form of lung fibrosis.
In addition, the Fulton Hogan quarry could be backfilled with up to 5 per cent asbestos. Asbestos is another known carcinogen that can cause potentially fatal diseases and cancers.
Quarries like the proposed Fulton Hogan quarry require the use of more than 1500 truck movements a day – more than one every minute – to transport materials to and from Christchurch. These trucks increase local traffic, heightening the risk of major road accidents for both drivers and local pedestrians.
The increased traffic noise, vibration and size and speed of the vehicles also impacts schools, homes and other areas with children and young families. It also affects the enjoyment of the areas by recreational walkers, cyclists and horse riders.Roads most likely to be affected by the proposed Templeton quarry include Main South Road, Kirk Road, Pound Road, Weedons Ross Road, Maddisons Road, Barters Road, Jones Road, Dawsons Road and Curraghs Road.
Quarries dig deep into the ground just above the water table. This creates a potentially serious risk of polluting the local drinking water. Drinking water could also be at risk if harmful backfill – such as asbestos – is used to fill the quarry. There is also the risk of spillages from machinery and water-flow contamination.
Due to the unpredictable nature of quarrying, there is no way of knowing the long-term outcome of digging so close to the water table near urban areas.
Due to noise, vibrations, truck movements and dust, property and pre-existing homes near quarries can lose their value. This can lead to a decline in the number of people and local businesses operating in semi-rural area – negatively impacting the entire community.