A local group called Aylesbury Chiltern Resistance to Inappropriate Development (ACRID) is spearheading a campaign to prevent Arla building its proposed £150m, billion-litre dairy at Aston Clinton, near Aylesbury. The group has form when it comes to opposing planning applications it played a key role in foiling plans to build an incinerator in the same area four years ago.
ACRID's main concern rests with the number of vehicles that will go into and out of the site, which it estimates could eventually reach 1,500 vehicles in a 24-hour period. It claims the development, as it stands, would choke local roads, causing problems for local businesses. "Why put it there, where there is no road or rail infrastructure to support it?" said ACRID chairman Nigel Hayward. "There's no way anything can work with that amount of vehicles." The group is also concerned the vehicles serving the site will increase the amount of air pollution in the area.
ACRID had a "massive media and awareness campaign ready to kick off", Hayward added, but would wait until Arla had submitted a formal planning application to Aylesbury Vale Dictrict Council before launching the campaign to ensure all of the campaign materials were accurate.
ACRID would seek to garner support not just from residents and businesses in Buckinghamshire but also Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire which would also be impacted by the traffic, Hayward added. ACRID had received confirmation that Secretary of State Eric Pickles would meet with the group once the application had been submitted.
The group will be commissioning an impact assessment once Arla has submitted its plans to the local council, currently expected sometime in March.
A Facebook group has also been set up entitled 'Campaign against Arla Foods' planned Aston Clinton factory' which acts as one of ACRID's lines of communication.
Arla said it had taken residents' views on board. "We now believe we have mitigation measures in place to address each concern raised to date, and our dialogue with key stakeholders is ongoing." The A41 which is adjacent to the site had capacity for 35,000 vehicles but was currently only used by 14,000, it added.