ANGER has erupted over a plan to dig for 1.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel on land adjoining a peaceful riverside island at Old Windsor.

The site on the edge of Ham Island has been put forward as a potential extraction site by owners Jayflex.

But the reaction has been immediate.

Chairman of Old Windsor parish council Jane Dawson said: "We want this taken off the list of possible areas for gravel extraction right now before any consultation starts."

Residents on the picturesque river island site are devastated.

Sheila Cooksey, who has lived there 44 years said: "I felt absolute horror when I saw this site was being considered. I could not believe it."

Kate Kidd said: "It will destroy the habitat of so much wildlife - birds, deer, sparrow hawks, kingfishers."

The site also includes the horse rescue centre.

Cllr Lynne Jones, who represents Old Windsor on the Royal Borough, said: "This site was not even on the radar until Jayflex put it forward."

Residents in nearby Wraysbury village are also blazing.

Wraysbury parish chairman Cllr Margaret Lenton, said: "This is an ill conceived scheme that has not been thought through, given the flooding issues in our area."

Residents of Wraysbury believe the reason part of their village escaped the devastating floods that hit so many homes in 2014 was because the water was absorbed by the threatened site.

But this week Cllr David Coppinger, who is the Royal Borough's cabinet leader for planning said he welcomed the strong reaction and emphasised that no final decisions would be made about any site, until a full consultation had taken place that would last until 2020.

He said: "This is very much a residents' led process. It is not a done deal, it is the start of that process. If it becomes clear a site is not suitable we will say it is unsuitable."

Gravel is a badly needed resource to keep the country's infrastructure going, which is why the Royal Borough teamed with three neighbouring councils to find potential sites.

Unfortunately seven of those currently available for consideration are all in the Royal Borough.