Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What makes building fixed plant at Rockbeare economic now?

In Aggregate Industries' 2010 planning application to process sand and gravel from Venn Ottery and Marshbroadmoor at Blackhill, it claimed that to provide fixed plant at Rockbeare for the combined 1.8 million tonnes "would be uneconomical in terms of the investment required".

It now seems unlikely that AI would be able to use Blackhill to process material from any future quarry at Straitgate. And since fixed plant cannot be sited at Straitgate, this now only leaves Rockbeare. But with the recoverable resource no greater than 2.3Mt, and much less allowing for realistic constraints, how can it be economic for AI to build plant at Rockbeare now, when it wasn't in 2010 for 1.8Mt?

Is it because Ottery St Mary is to have the privilege of becoming AI's centre for sand and gravel production for decades to come? Or is it that AI was not being entirely straight with DCC in 2010, when it obviously suited them to haul material across Woodbury Common? If the former, then local people deserve to be informed by AI of its long-term ambitions for their environment. If the latter, then how can people be expected to trust what AI says next time in any application to quarry Straitgate Farm?