Friday, 12 June 2015

DCC Minerals Plan - Straitgate Farm update for Town and Parish Councils

DCC has released an update on Straitgate Farm:
This note is intended to provide an explanation to representatives of the local communities of the work undertaken by Devon County Council to address the issues raised through the 2012 consultation on preferred sites, and to outline how those proposals are being taken forward through the emerging Minerals Plan.
On Transport, DCC says:
Given the availability of an alternative location for processing at Rockbeare Hill Quarry (3.5km from Straitgate Farm) with the opportunity to also consider a range of alternative processing locations, it may be difficult for the site promoter to demonstrate the ‘exceptional circumstances’ required for development in the AONB. While this represents a risk to the deliverability of Straitgate Farm, this is a matter that can be tested through a future planning application and should not preclude allocation of the site in the Devon Minerals Plan.
On Landscape impact on AONB:
The Devon Minerals Plan is not making provision for the processing of material from Straitgate at Blackhill.
On Land and Soil:
...sites can often be reclaimed to their original agricultural land quality if appropriate techniques are used throughout the life of the site. This is a factor in determining the acceptability of temporary mineral extraction at this site.
[AI's planning application: "For areas of the site that are to be developed as species rich grassland, then topsoil will not be used in the restoration soil profile and the subsoil would be placed more thinly on the overburden to create the less fertile growing conditions required for establishing this type of plant community." 3.42 "The long term after-use would be light intensity agricultural grazing." 3.47.]

On Water and Biodiversity:
The Devon Minerals Plan therefore will contain a limitation on this site allocation to only allow dry working on site, above the maximum winter (wet) level of groundwater with an unsaturated zone of at least 1m maintained across the site.
[AI's planning application: "The quarry would be excavated no deeper than the maximum groundwater level..." 3.24 "The side batters and floor of the quarry would be progressively restored with materials..." 3.25 "The base of the extraction area will be restored by placement of 1m combined thickness of topsoil and subsoil over the quarry floor to replicate current ground conditions." 3.42 "Mineral extraction to the high groundwater level surface contoured from maximum groundwater levels from all data would be dry for the vast majority of time..." 7.89]