Thursday, 16 April 2015

HGVs thundering to and from Straitgate would be less than half the problem

Obviously, the sand and gravel from Venn Ottery currently going in to Blackhill to be processed has to come out again. The trucks taking the processed material out are on average smaller, meaning more movements out than in, many travelling on the B3179 through the middle of Woodbury.

It’s not quite clear after Aggregate Industries' exhibitions how many HGV movements would be generated specifically by Straitgate, before onward distribution to the wider market. Some people were left with the impression of 85 a day, others were left thinking it would be closer to 200. Enquires to AI have gone unanswered. In the past we have gone by AI’s Haulage Statement for Venn Ottery, which claims 110 movements a day for a 5-day working week, or 138 movements a day for a 4-day working week, 50 weeks a year, 400,000 tonnes pa, using 6-axle HGVs carrying up to 29 tonnes.

Whatever the claims, on 14 April for 4.5 hours the actual vehicle movements recorded going in and out of Blackhill were as follows:

Over the space of half a day, 97 truck movements were recorded going to and from Venn Ottery (equivalent to 194 for the day), with 230 vehicle movements recorded in total. This equates to approximately 115,000 annually.

This is a truly staggering figure. All the more so because the isolated factory that is generating all these HGV movements on our B-roads is sitting in the middle of an AONB, SSSI, SAC and SPA. All the more so because as recently as 2010 this arrangement received the blessing of DCC.

And AI will shortly be asking DCC again to rubber stamp a continuation of this situation - not to bring in material from a site 5 miles away this time, but to bring in material from Straitgate 8 miles away over a period of 4-5 years. When there’s an industrial site 2 miles away from Straitgate that could do the job, continuing to use Woodbury Common like this shouldn’t even be a question, let alone an answer.