Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Homes 70m away, retirement homes 100m away... and AI says 'trust us on dust'

A dust assessment forms part of Aggregate Industries’ planning application for Straitgate. It claims:
The potential for fugitive dust emissions from the proposed excavation of sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm is minimal due to the inherently high moisture content of the ‘as dug’ material. 1.2 Notwithstanding this and in order to ensure that the mitigation measures are appropriately adhered to, it is recommended that a detailed scheme of dust management and monitoring be prepared pursuant to a condition for approval by the local planning authority. This will be prepared by the applicant… 1.4
Furthermore, for properties (including "high sensitivity" retirement homes) where "there is the potential for an intermediate dust impact… the operator will ensure the diligent application of appropriate mitigation measures as outlined in section 8.0. This will ensure an insignificant impact from fugitive dust." 6.4

But AI employs the same mitigation measures at Blackhill - and this is what it can look like:

Would this be AI's idea of insignificant

Some homes are as close as 70m to the edge of the proposed workings at Straitgate. The company has reneged on an assurance made by AI’s Head of Geological Services in 2013, that future plans would "incorporate a 100m standoff from properties along [Rhubarb] lane (... at some points our extraction boundary came to within 65m...)".

We have written about the health impacts of dust before. Even a 100m standoff from excavators and dumper trucks would not be enough with dust emissions like the ones above. We all know AI is desperate to maximise its recovery of Straitgate's ever shrinking resource, but any permission must have appropriate standoffs to protect the health and amenity of local people; 70m is absurd.