Two Brett employees talking

Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry

Sand and gravel under the former Hatfield Aerodrome site will be needed for local development and regeneration.

Aerodrome Quarry

Sand and gravel under the former Hatfield Aerodrome site will be needed for local development and regeneration.

Our Proposal

The proposed application site of around 87 hectares is located north-west of Hatfield and east of St Albans on land that formed part of the former Hatfield Aerodrome (outlined in red below).

The planning application (PL/0232/21) and associated documentation can be viewed here.

The development will involve quarrying around 8 million tonnes of sand and gravel at a rate of approximately 250,000 tonnes per year which is typical for a sand and gravel quarry. The material will help to support local development plans in the surrounding towns which will create a demand for large amounts of aggregates.

The use of locally-sourced materials is the most efficient way to meet that demand. The previous planning application was supported by a detailed environmental assessment and was considered to be an acceptable development by all statutory consultees, and the planning officers for Hertfordshire County Council.

For an outline of the geology beneath the site visit Background. The proposed approach to quarrying the mineral deposits beneath the site is summarised below.

A yellow excavator moving soil

Site Preparation

Once a new site access has been established onto the A1057 Hatfield Road, the first work will be to create new habitats to allow the relocation of species such as great crested newts and badgers on the site. Soils will then be removed from the first operational areas to reveal the mineral beneath. Soil removal will be undertaken only during concentrated periods of a few months (as opposed to constantly throughout the year). Soils will only be moved when they are dry in order to ensure that soil structure is not compromised.

All soil removal, handling and storage operations will be carried out in the most appropriate season and in accordance with MAFF’s Good Practice Guide for Handling Soils . The soils will be moved to form landscaped ‘bunds’ around the edge of the site which, in addition to advance planting, will help to screen quarrying activities. These soils are then reused in the restoration of the worked land after each phase.

Because land on the former aerodrome site has been subject to disturbance over many years, studies indicate that there is not much of archaeological merit beneath the surface. However, during soil removal we will pay close attention to identify anything of archaeological interest revealed by the work. See Environmental Considerations .

Temporary footpaths will be created within the site to retain areas for public access, along with the creation of freshwater and silt lagoons, plus a recharge lagoon in the upper mineral horizon.

A JCB digger excavating material from a site


We propose to excavate material progressively in several phases, working from east to west (as shown on the plan below). This maximises public access and restoration of the site as the mineral is worked.

Download a plan showing the proposed phased working of the site.

The raw mineral will be excavated from both mineral horizons. For further details of the site geology visit Background. The Upper Mineral Horizon (UMH) will be ‘de-watered’ (pumped out) and worked dry whilst the Lower Mineral Horizon (LMH) will be worked ‘wet’ meaning that the material will be excavated from beneath  the lower aquifer water table. This means there will be no dewatering from the LMH. For further details see Environmental Considerations.

Aggregates on a conveyor as part of the processing process


The material excavated from each phase will be processed on site using a new aggregates production plant located in the northern part of the site.

An aggregates processing plant washes and ‘sieves’ the mineral into different sizes of aggregate, from fine sands through to coarse gravels and pebbles. A series of conveyors place the material into different stockpiles.

As you might expect from a new production facility, the proposed plant will include a range of effective environmental measures, ranging from dust control through to energy efficiency and water recycling and reuse.

A digger putting aggregates into a Brett lorry for distribution


Once processed, the stockpiled aggregate will be loaded onto lorries and carried across an on-site weighbridge to be weighed and checked-out. It will then leave the site via a new entrance onto the A1057 and delivered to where it was needed in construction. The access road to the site has been moved five metres to the east (compared to the previous application) to allow additional acoustic and visual screening.

The entire Brett truck fleet is fitted with ‘Euro 6’ engines which meet strict European emissions requirements (and, at the time of writing, are the only ones approved for use in Ultra Low Emission Zones). We also comply with the standards of FORS (Freight Operators’ Recognition Scheme) and CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) to maintain the highest standards of safety for all road users.

A person recieving paperwork from a Brett lorry driver

Operating Hours

We are applying to operate the site during the following operating hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 0700 hours to 1800 hours
  • Saturday – 0700 hours to 1300 hours
  • No operations on Sundays or bank holidays

These are the maximum operating hours we are proposing but it does not necessarily mean that quarrying activities will always take place to the full extent of these times.

A previously completed quarry restoration project


For further details of our award-winning approach to restoration as well as more detailed proposals for restoration of the quarry click here.