Friday, 13 September 2013

"Protect it from further quarrying" says Aggregate Industries

A new tactic from Aggregate Industries - the tacit threat of a further 30 years of quarrying on one hand or a 7MW solar park on the other. Who could refuse AI's solar proposals near Penryn in Cornwall when faced with that 'choice'?
As part of the solar park application, Aggregate Industries is willing to relinquish the mineral extraction permission at the site and therefore protect it from further quarrying. Subject to securing planning permission for the solar farm, the company is willing to make this commitment to the Council and local community in the form of a binding legal agreement. There are significant permitted mineral reserves at the quarry which could last up to 30 years and the current planning permissions run until 2042.
What else does this reveal? Beyond the fact that AI has more quarrying permissions than it needs, in Cornwall at least, is the admission - "protect it from further quarrying" - of the inherent destructiveness of quarrying, by an aggregates company of all people. For all the song and dance mineral companies make about restoration and biodiversity improvements, even this land - which AI claims is "low-quality agricultural land" - would still, in AI's opinion, benefit if it was  "protect[ed] from further quarrying".

And if low quality agricultural land should be protected, what of high quality agricultural land? And if that high quality land was responsible for supplying drinking water to 100 people and water for wetland habitats in ancient woodland thousands of years old, wouldn't that land need protecting even more?