Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Air pollution impacting integrity of East Devon Pebblebed Heaths

Natural England has identified that air pollution is adversely impacting the integrity of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths. Pollution from extensive HGV traffic to, from and within Aggregate Industries' processing plant at Blackhill will be exacerbating this problem.

The Heaths are an internationally important site, and NE has produced a Site Improvement Plan:
Air Pollution: impact of atmospheric nitrogen deposition - Nitrogen deposition exceeds site relevant critical loads. Exceedance of threshold levels may affect heathland features by the transition of heather to grass dominance and the southern damselfly through changes to the vegetation mosaics. Action - Control, reduce and ameliorate atmospheric nitrogen impacts. Timescale 2014-20.

The Heaths are also protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010:
The Regulations require competent authorities to consider or review planning permission, applied for or granted, affecting a European site, and, subject to certain exceptions, restrict or revoke permission where the integrity of the site would be adversely affected.
In which case, how can a competent authority seriously entertain a million-mile HGV planning proposal for such an area - with the 5 years of significant nitrogen dioxide pollution it would bring?