Action on plan to use HS2 rubble to fill Rugby quarry

A plan that won support just before lockdown to reopen a disused Rugby railway link for deliveries of HS2 spoil is back in the spotlight.

The view from Rugby's Western Relief Road of the quarry Cemex hopes to drain - and then fill with spoil from HS2. Photo: Google Street View.
The view from Rugby's Western Relief Road of the quarry Cemex hopes to drain - and then fill with spoil from HS2. Photo: Google Street View.

In February 2020, the county council backed the bid by Cemex to fill in the old Parkfield Road Quarry with material generated by the building of the HS2 rail link.

There was a flurry of headlines at the time as those living nearby voiced concern about the disruption caused by the stub of the old Rugby to Leamington line being brought back into use for trains to deliver the waste material to the site.

County councillors welcomed action on the potentially dangerous site but with three trains a day possibly using the sidings for four-and-a-half years, they were keen that the proposed liaison group and screening measures had a real impact.

The path that runs from the western end of Edward Street to Newbold crosses the currently disused railway line and runs close to the quarry - it would be diverted before trains return.

Little had been heard of the plan since then but it’s still on the books, with adverts having been published last month for another step in what is a complicated process.

These adverts announced Cemex had applied to the Environment Agency for a licence to increase the water it removes from the quarry, to empty it ahead of the effort to fill it in.

The request to vary its current licence asks to be able to increase the annual amount removed from 179,409 to 745,000 cubic metres, discharging it into Sow Brook.

An agency spokesperson told the Advertiser said: “Barring any unexpected delays a decision will be made regarding this application before November 6. The advertising of an application is one of the first steps in its determination.

“The reason for the variation is for the dewatering of the quarry void. Setting an end date to a licence is part of the determination process, it is often set on a catchment wide basis. The end date applied for is 31/12/2033.”

In terms of the effect this increase would have on the brook, the spokesperson added: “Cemex are needing to apply for a discharge consent that will investigate the impact of abstracted water being discharged into the Sow Brook. That is a separate application process.”

The Advertiser has approached Cemex on two occasions for its view on timescales and liaison but the company declined to comment on both occasions.