Monday, 27 July 2015


1. In case people have forgotten what Aggregate Industries said about Venn Ottery Quarry back in 2010:
We shall be putting back a lot more than we're taking away.

Local people will watch with interest to see how AI might manage that. In the meantime, when a sand and gravel quarry extension was recently recommended for approval in Gloucestershire:
Officers acknowledged that there appeared to be a lack of progressive restoration in the existing site and a condition was recommended to prevent the commencement of a new phase of extraction until the preceding one was infilled.
No guesses for which company was responsible for this 'lack of progressive restoration'.

2. In case there's any doubt, AI's Blackhill application is not to process some unique material of national significance; the sand and gravel could be processed at any industrial setting, not one located in an AONB and next to an SAC/SPA/SSSI. The NPPF says:
Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest.
A number of recent planning cases have been identified that exemplify this: here, here, here and here. Here are two more:

The use of land within the New Forest national park in Hampshire for the processing of up to 20,000 tonnes of waste would be inconsistent with the cultural heritage of the area, an inspector concluded.
Given the uniqueness of the product, the authority concluded that there were exceptional circumstances to allow the quarry in the national park.
3. In case the significance of higher quality agricultural land, and the proper investigation of alternatives, has been overlooked, a recent appeal for a solar farm found that:
an inspector placed significant weight on the loss of up to 15ha of grade 3a agricultural land... In the absence of a rigorous and convincing process to demonstrate that the use of higher-quality land was necessary, he concluded that the scheme's benefits did not outweigh this loss, even for a temporary period.
4. In case the matter of birdstrike has slipped from the radar, here's some recent news from Twitter; we have referred to RAF Fairford before:
Thomas Cook flight headed for Egypt diverted back to Manchester after 'bird strike'