Friday, 7 August 2015

It’s a good thing AI's Venn Ottery Quarry isn’t directly below Exeter Airport’s landing approach…

… judging by the number of birds photographed there this week - and this, at the highest point of the quarry, where there was no water. Straitgate, on the other hand, is directly below Exeter Airport’s landing approach. Aggregate Industries' plan here is to leave - in perpetuity - areas of "seasonally wet grassland", which, as the CAA warns, would be attractive to birds. AI says that, following cessation of operations:
To ensure that excess runoff is mitigated, it is recommended that some low lying areas are maintained for further attenuation and also to encourage infiltration to the aquifer, protecting the nearby springs and private water supplies. 7.102

But having had years to prepare, years to come up with some sort of detailed scheme that would address one of the central problems of the whole proposal - the seemingly intractable issue of how to reduce surface and groundwater impacts without introducing wetland features and increasing the risk of birdstrike - the best that AI can come up with is:
A detailed drainage scheme would be developed and submitted for approval prior to the commencement of operations. 3.39 The arrangements for the collection and disposal of surface water arising from the restored site would be designed in conjunction with the appointed hydrologist. 3.57
It's no surprise, therefore, that DCC is not satisfied with this and has made it clear to AI that:
The surface water management is inextricably connected to Flood Risk Management/Airport safeguarding and the need to maintain and recharge watercourses. This issue is so important in terms of the likely significant impacts of the proposal the MPA would wish to ensure that a SWM scheme can be designed to meet all of the requirements identified in advance of the determination of this application. 17
And here's another photograph that indicates why these matters are so important - a giant RAF Boeing C17 Globemaster flying low over Straitgate last week.