Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Devon Minerals Plan submitted for examination

DCC advised today that:
Following its pre-submission consultation which ended on 16th November 2015, the Devon Minerals Plan has been submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for the purpose of examination.
The submitted Minerals Plan, together with consultation responses and supporting documents, can be viewed on the Council’s website here. The Devon Minerals Plan can also be viewed at County and District Council offices as explained in the attached Statement of Submission.
An inspector will shortly be appointed to conduct the examination of the Minerals Plan. To assist the inspector and act as the point of contact for examination participants, Mr Robert Young has been appointed as the programme officer and his contact details, together with information on the examination, will be published shortly here.
If you have any immediate questions on the Devon Minerals Plan, please contact the County Council’s Minerals Planning team by emailing mineralsplanning@devon.gov.uk or calling 01392 383510.
According to DCC's website, an inspector has already been appointed:
Mr Andrew Freeman BSc(Hons) DipTP DipEM FRTPI FCIHT MIEnvSc has been appointed as inspector to undertake examination of the Plan.
During the course of the examination, a number of further documents will be produced by the County Council, the inspector and other examination participants. These will be added to the Examination Library as they are published.
One of the documents of interest to those following the farce being played out at Straitgate will be:
This series of documents shows how, because of statements such as these from Amec:
The removal of the unsaturated zone down to a level 1m above that defined by the maximum winter water level will mean that any change in the recharge/runoff split...
By maintaining an unsaturated zone thickness of at least 1m...
... a 1 m unsaturated zone should be enough to accommodate this intense rainfall event.
DCC was able to secure the following assurance from the Environment Agency:
Thank you for your email of 05 June 2015 forwarding the additional information submitted by AMEC in respect of the above. We are satisfied that the impacts on the hydrograph and ecology of the 4 springs, headwater streams and Cadhay Bog County Wildlife Site from dry working will not be significant. We are now satisfied with the information submitted with regard to the allocation of this site and have no objections to the inclusion of the Straitgate site from the minerals plan.
A couple of weeks later the EA confirmed:
Aggregate Industries have proposed to stop quarrying a metre above the water-table. We expect DCC to make this a condition of any permission that is granted.
Of course, it now transpires that AI has absolutely no intention "to stop quarrying a metre above the water-table". DCC put its new Minerals Plan on hold for three years while it waited for this assurance from the EA - an assurance that now turns out to be based on a completely false premise. What the Inspector will make of all this is anybody's guess.