Tuesday, 12 April 2016

AI says whatever it takes

It's hardly surprising that local people can't trust what Aggregate Industries says; inconsistencies abound.

Another document has appeared in support of AI's application to process Hillhead material at Blackhill:

Only last month, AI was talking about 100,000 tonnes:

Which is it? Who knows?

In October last year, AI told DCC that it was unsustainable to haul Straitgate's material to Hillhead:
Hillhead Quarry does, however, present an option for processing of the Straitgate deposit, but the consequential impact of additional CO2 emissions from greater haulage distances are considered to be unsustainable. 8.38
Fair enough you might think. But in the very same month, AI lodged the application to haul 100,000 (or is it now 40,000?) tonnes of Hillhead's material to Blackhill, and claimed this was sustainable:
Consequently, in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable development... it is submitted that this application warrants a positive determination. 7.3
An odd conclusion, when the distance from Straitgate to Hillhead is 22.8 miles and from Blackhill to Hillhead 26.4 miles. The NPPF has a different idea of what's sustainable:
Plans and decisions should ensure developments that generate significant movement are located where the need to travel will be minimised... 34
For its application to quarry Straitgate Farm, AI had claimed for Blackhill:
In the absence of the silts from processing the Straitgate mineral... In order to fill [lagoon 3] and achieve the approved contours it would be necessary to import inert materials from elsewhere. This could give rise to quality control considerations to ensure no nutrient-rich or other deleterious materials were brought to site. 2.36
Now AI says it's fine to import material from Hillhead with phosphorous levels of 63-173mg/kg and pH levels of 5.89-7.13, despite the approved restoration scheme for Blackhill:
...all soils will be tested for pH and nutrient content to ensure that they are suitable for heathland restoration i.e. phosphorous is less than 10mg/kg and that the pH is between 3 and 5 3.6.1
Whether buried in lagoons or not, caution should prevail before importing thousands of tonnes of material with nutrient levels up to 17 times the limit for soils; particularly when using them for restoration in an area of European importance to nature conservation; particularly when nutrients "cause deterioration of the heathland communities of heather and its allies, and help to drive a conversion from heather to grass domination"particularly when these nutrients can leach into groundwater for decades.

The idea of processing Hillhead's material 26 miles away on Woodbury Common must surely be as farcical as you can get in minerals planning terms, and shows exactly what AI thinks of sustainability, nature conservation and the East Devon AONB.