Sunday, 24 June 2012

NPPF says climate change must be taken into account

Quarrying the land at Straitgate Farm would remove groundwater storage above Ottery St Mary permanently, ad infinitum, for ever. It would disrupt the two streams that originate from the site and sustain the wetland habitats of the Ancient Woodland in Cadhay Bog and Cadhay Wood. The Environment Agency has stated that this would be "unacceptable". Removal of groundwater storage is likely to lead to more rapid run-off in times of excess rainfall, higher groundwater levels in winter and lower levels in summer.

Climate change is likely to compound these effects, and the new National Planning Policy Framework stipulates that climate change must be taken into account when preparing Local Plans. It may seem unlikely at the moment but Government predictions for the South West, assuming "medium" greenhouse gas emissions, give central estimates of 23% more rain in winter and 24% less in summer. With "high" emissions the government predicts as much as 73% more rain in winter and 58% less rain in summer. If Aggregate Industries think they can design attenuation and recharge ponds to mitigate for the effects of quarrying on flooding and Ancient Woodland respectively, despite this going against the advice of Exeter Airport whose flightpath crosses the site, then they would need to prove that these would function not only in perpetuity, but also for a range of climate change scenarios.