Monday, 25 January 2016

EDDC Officer Reports

East Devon District Council raised objections last year to both of Aggregate Industries’ planning applications: to quarry Straitgate Farm, and to process the material 8 miles away at Blackhill Quarry.

Both planning applications have already generated so many documents and responses that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of them all. For those following matters closely, and further to EDDC objects again, here are links to the EDDC Officer Reports, and an excerpt from the Council's Blackhill objection last month. Who, but AI, could argue with its conclusions?
East Devon District Council responded to the original submission of this proposal on 22nd July 2015 raising objections on the following issues:
Blackhill Quarry is in a sensitive location in the AONB and SSSI and after earlier extensions to its life cycle, East Devon District Council consider the adverse impacts of its retention outweigh any benefits of re-using its processing plant. The quarry should be closed and restored in quick order to prevent further harm to habitats and landscape.
Aggregate Industries have not demonstrated that alternative solutions cannot be utilised.
The road impact of taking materials first from Straitgate to Blackhill, then from Blackhill to the marketplace, is severely adverse.
Under Reg 22 of the EIA Regulations, the applicant has submitted revisions. Of particular interest to East Devon District Council has been Chapter 5 that has tackled need and alternatives to processing at Blackhill.
East Devon District Council understands and accepts there is need for crushed aggregate, sand and gravel and that these quarries are of regional importance in providing materials for development growth.
Straitgate Quarry [sic] has been discounted as a location by the applicant due to noise, traffic and visual impact. Rockbeare Quarry has been discounted for various reasons including silt lagoon capacity, newts and other technical issues. Further afield, Hillhead Quarry at Uffculme has been discounted due to distance and cost.
East Devon District Council are not persuaded that any of the aforementioned processing options are less worthy or less sustainable in planning terms than transporting the 1.5 million cubic metres of material to Blackhill Quarry over 5 years and then shipping it out again to market. Like Blackhill Quarry, all of the alternatives listed have constraints that ultimately have a financial burden on the mineral processor. That burden is a fact of life in mineral production.
It is considered that all of the alternative sites are better than processing at Blackhill Quarry due to the impact on the AONB and sensitive habitats around. The impact on the AONB is wide-ranging, from the visual impact of HGVs traversing the middle of the Common on the exposed B3180, the noise and congestion they cause, the visual impact of stockpiles and the noise and disturbance of processing, particularly when witnessed on nearby public rights of way. Secondary delivery trips by aggregate HGVs spread out through local low-grade roads and residents in villages such as Woodbury are familiar with the lorry movements and the impact they have.
For these reasons, East Devon District Council consider the proposals to be at odds with both the adopted and emerging East Devon Local Plan and unsustainable development.
Objection raised.