Tuesday, 7 January 2014

"Gravel extraction application rejected by Three Rivers” reads the headline

Here’s a story that appeared over the Christmas period. It's about what happened in Hertfordshire when the Environment Agency objected to a sand and gravel quarry:
...the Environment Agency said: "We believe that the proposed development would pose an unacceptable risk to groundwater quality and potable water supplies, and we recommend that planning permission should be refused on this basis."
District councillors unanimously agreed that the application to amend these conditions of extraction... should be rejected by Hertfordshire County Council. 
The officer's report made clear "In determining applications for mineral extraction, the NPPF confirms that local planning authorities should ensure that any permitted operations do not have unacceptable adverse impacts on... the flow and quantity of surface and groundwater”.

So why, when the Environment Agency has already made its views on Straitgate Farm so clear - even imposing SPZs to protect peoples' water supplies, is the site still in the frame?

What is different between this and Straitgate is that at least the applicant above "concedes that the seven year supply is already exceeded in Hertfordshire and recognises that, in these circumstances, there is a policy presumption against the granting of new planning permissions”. Let's remember that, at the end of 2012, Devon still had 16 years' worth of permitted sand and gravel reserves.