REBELLING residents in Salford Priors say their health and that of their children would be put seriously at risk if plans to extract sand and gravel nearby come to fruition.

They also claim proposals for the 18 hectare quarry - around the size of 18 international rugby pitches - will have a 'catastrophic' visual affect on the former Warwickshire Village of the Year winners and a nearby primary school.

The concerned residents have formed action group SPAGE, Salford Priors Against Gravel Extraction, to fight Warwickshire County Council's proposals to have Site 7 Salford Priors included in the county's Mineral Plan.

The group is also concerned the council is acting as judge and jury as it owns the land and would be seeking planning permission from its own internal department.

A petition against the plans currently stands at more than 1,000 signatures.

A spokesman for SPAGE said: "The troops have been galvanised. We are not an isolated group within the village as we have been blown away by the local support and already received two donations of £500 each from the Queen's Head pub and Cotswold Accountancy to help with the cause.

"In addition to the objections already lodged by individuals we aim to lobby the council and will develop a plan of strategy as the process for formalising the minerals plan unfolds. Additionally we’ll be raising the profile of the many issues and queries we have as a group that bring into question the inclusion of this site in the county plan through a new website and social media; part of which is to bring a human face to this plan. We genuinely believe that a quarry will have a devastating effect on the locality on so many levels.”

The campaigners state the principal area of concern are health issues caused by choking dust, increased industrial plant traffic, years of dirt and pollution, irrevocable loss of agriculture land, loss of local rural jobs and be fatal to ecology and wildlife.

They claim such a development would be in contravention of Warwickshire County Councils own declared Sustainable Community Strategy which includes safe environments for those who visit as well as live, play and work in the county.

They add: "In addition, the group is concerned about the role of Warwickshire as beneficial landowner and decision maker who are likely to ride roughshod over extensive local objections in order to realise income from sales of sand and gravel at the expense of the villagers."

A spokesman for the county council said: "Warwickshire County Council owns a number of smallholdings across the county and site submissions were made by non-planning staff to the Mineral Plan Consultation process along with other landowners. All sites submitted, both private and council owned, have been objectively assessed by planning officers in the Planning Policy Team looking at factors such as the availability and extent of mineral resource on the site, environmental factors and the growing need to supply the increasing housing and infrastructure growth in the county.

"Any planning application would have to be submitted to the elected councillors on the county council's Regulatory Committee and it will take the ultimate decisions in accordance with the council's normal policies and procedures.

"There has been a large response to the consultation. All letters and emails first have to be transferred to the consultation system electronically and then all the issues raised will be assessed by officers. All comments will be available to view electronically when this process has been completed. Until then the individual responses can be viewed in the council's offices in Shire Hall, Warwick.

"The consultation responses will be placed before elected councillors on the county council's cabinet prior to the next consultation."