Monday, 23 March 2015

Claims and more claims, but who stands to gain the most?

Safeguarding jobs is the old chestnut Aggregate Industries is wheeling out to support its plans to dig up an East Devon farm and haul the spoils across Woodbury Common; last week’s Express & Echo article - East Devon quarry block ‘will put jobs at risk’ - is just the latest example:
THE livelihoods of East Devon quarry employees will be at risk if proposals for a 100-acre quarry on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary do not go ahead.
Officials from Aggregate Industries, which runs quarries at Blackhill on Woodbury Common, and Venn Ottery, have confirmed that this is the reality if they cannot proceed with their plans to quarry Straitgate Farm near Daisymount roundabout.
It is not clear exactly how many jobs could be affected but it is thought to be less than 10.
This argument - and we have written about this before - may have washed in the past, when hundreds of jobs were at stake, but not any more; any local jobs secured by AI's plans should be offset against the farming jobs at risk and the negative impact on other local businesses. In any case, AI has other local reserves and resources. The jobs argument is a red herring; trucking as-dug aggregate across the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths, risking drinking water supplies, and airport safeguarding issues are not.

And whilst AI claims livelihoods are at risk, its Swiss-parent Holcim claims:

Sustainable. That's us.
Being part of the solutions to the challenges of our time.
Holcim has a long history of sustainable development. Our continuous commitment to mitigate CO2 emissions, provide waste management solutions, use alternative resources, and improve quality of life in our communities, started many years ago. Our sustainability efforts today concentrate on climate, resources, and communities...
Which all seems very admirable, but its plans for East Devon, with its polluting 1,000,000 mile haulage scheme to a site of European importance to nature conservation, are the antithesis of such claims.

What is true is that the parties that stand to gain the most from all this are a long way from East Devon.