Monday, 12 August 2013

Not fracking, but a precursor to something potentially as harmful to local water users

No, not fracking or hunting for shale gas in East Devon. But it is exploration of a sort. Aggregate Industries today started drilling additional boreholes at Straitgate Farm, to set up further groundwater monitoring points in an attempt to understand the area's hydrogeology to support its mitigation plans.

The requirement to drill these extra boreholes is an indication of how important the area is in terms of groundwater. AI's proposal - excavating a huge pit right in the middle of this area, removing millions of tonnes of groundwater-bearing sand and gravel both above and below the water table - could result in irreparable damage to the local water regime, causing loss to the people, the agricultural land and the ancient woodland that rely upon it. AI's mitigation proposal is based on limited information at this stage - in other words, it's a hypothesis, or conjecture. Such a proposal is in any case, as we have outlined before, contrary to airport safeguarding requirements.