Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Deep in the files

Aggregate Industries claims it's short of 218,000m3 of material to achieve it's approved restoration at Blackhill, but guess what, there's not a single word about any shortfall in recent Monitoring Reports.

Funny that, given that these DCC reports deal with the state of restoration for each of the Areas at Blackhill, indicated on the map below.

AI makes out that this 'shortfall' is a big deal, using it in an attempt to justify exceptional circumstances for processing Hillhead and Straitgate material in the East Devon AONB:
In the absence of this development the existing lagoon will remain as a deep, steep sided, angular lagoon, which is incongruous within the wider landscape setting of the AONB and Pebblebed Heaths. 4.1
Of course, it wasn't flagged up as a problem in the Monitoring Reports because it wasn't one. It's an invention. There's already an approved plan for Area 6, drawn up in 2013:
The final height of the silt is not yet known but may be higher than originally thought. 4.8.2
But who would be surprised to learn that it's an invention that AI has used before... back in 2007. No doubt, given half a chance, AI would do the same in 2021. And so on. And so on.

Whilst there was nothing about a '218,000m3 shortfall' in the Monitoring Reports, there was plenty about failures to comply with planning conditions.

Reports that were meant to be with the Minerals Planning Authority in 2013 still seem to be outstanding - despite annual reminders and the threat of enforcement action.

AI makes a big play on the benefits it brings to the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.
The ongoing restoration, aftercare and long term management of Blackhill Quarry is extending the existing area of heathland for which the East Devon Pebble Beds are given European and national designations. 2.40
But let’s keep that in context:
It has been estimated that some 640ha of the Pebblebed Heaths have been lost since 1906, with post-1947 losses amounting to 380ha... of which 166 ha was lost to conifer plantation, 79ha to grassland, 15ha to arable and 120ha to mineral development... at Blackhill, if the quarried area is returned to heath when the quarry finally closes, perhaps another 40ha will be restored to heath.