Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What isn’t in AI's glossy brochure?

What didn't Aggregate Industries tell residents of Ottery and West Hill in its recently delivered glossy brochure? That the 1.2 million tonnes and 5 years is just the start. Don’t take our word, take DCC’s:
The way that the applicant has presented this scoping document makes it very clear that this is only the first phase of an intended project for which Phase 2 would have much greater potential impacts on the environment in terms of landscape, groundwater and biodiversity.
Maybe local people would like to ask AI or SLR representatives at next week's drop-in events to clarify this omission, and how the site would be restored after Phase 1 if the company wants to dig below the water table in Phase 2. People could also ask them why transporting sand and gravel a million miles to Woodbury Common over the next 5 years, a site of European importance to nature, in times of concern about air pollution and climate change, is morally acceptable. And when it has finished with Straitgate Farm, people could ask AI where next? What other local fields and farms will be quarried and spat out?

AI claims to have undertaken many assessments, so someone please ask why the company conveniently forgets Grade II listed 16th century Straitgate Farmhouse, when it claims "the proposed development will have no impact upon the setting of listed buildings".

Experts on groundwater will be present at the drop-in events. Ask them why the removal of 1.2 million tonnes of sand and gravel "would not result in any significant effects on the water environment”, when the Environment Agency is "concerned about the loss of aquifer storage that would occur even through dry working... [that] could adversely impact the numerous groundwater and spring abstractions down-gradient of the proposed quarry".

Ask AI how many jobs would be created? How a quarry would benefit Ottery St Mary? What AI would do to compensate local communities for the impacts it will make? Ask them lots of questions, because DCC wants SLR to report on the results of any public consultation they may carry out and how the proposal has been amended as a consequence.