Residents fighting mineral extraction plans look to have Oxfordshire County Council’s backing.

The council is set to oppose Government proposals to increase targets for sand and gravel extraction in Oxfordshire by more than 15 per cent.

Parishes across the county last month warned a heavy environmental price would be paid if the projected increase in sand and gravel extraction, from 1.82 million tonnes to 2.1 million tonnes a year, were approved.

But a report set to be considered by County Hall’s cabinet says the increase is unnecessary and would lead to vast quantities of sand and gravel being transported long distances by road.

The council’s cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, Ian Hudspeth, said: “We receive a report on this subject at cabinet next Tuesday and the recommendation from our officers is to object to the 15 per cent increase that Oxfordshire is being expected to bear.

“I know there are many communities across the county that feel strongly about this and we want to see a more realistic figure.”

The officers’ report said: “The proposed increase in the Oxfordshire sand and gravel apportionment to 2.1 million tonnes a year is unnecessary and unacceptable.”

The proposed rise would increase Oxfordshire’s share of total sand and gravel provision for the South East to 18.9 per cent.

This would take place when other counties were seeing their minerals quotas being decreased.

The county council supported a lower figure of 1.58 million tonnes a year for Oxfordshire which was proposed by the South-East England Regional Assembly last year.

Campaign group Parishes Against Gravel Extraction (Page), which represents eight south Oxfordshire parishes under threat from new sites, welcomed the report.

Spokesman Steve Thompson said: “Page is delighted to see the county council is standing up for the rural communities of Oxfordshire and is prepared to argue the case to regional Government that Oxfordshire is not an open quarrying solution to the minerals requirements of southern England.

“Regional government continues to make unreasonable demands on minerals-rich counties such as Oxfordshire.

“It all results in the potential destruction of rural communities, countryside and heritage.”

Sites said to be considered for extraction include areas of Radley, Dorchester, Benson, Culham, Warborough, Sutton Courtenay, Stanton Harcourt, Eynsham and Cassington.

No one from the Department for Communities and Local Government was available for comment.