Thursday, 14 July 2016

DCC puts a line through the 1m - another round of consultation begins next month

DCC has tabled a modification to the draft Minerals Plan in an effort to make the allocated resource at Straitgate consistent with the depth of any future quarrying:
reference in Table C.4 to the depth of unsaturated zone above the water table to be maintained at Straitgate Farm has been altered to enable consideration of the appropriate depth through further investigation and discussion with the Environment Agency... 3.3
As referred to in the previous post, the Environment Agency recently commented that:
the applicant appears to be basing the present resource assessments on the basis of a hydrogeological model (highest water level) that has not been formally agreed.
We are... still waiting for a robust assessment of the risks that would result from this modification to the operation.
DCC has not, however, revised the resource down from 1.2 million to 900,000 tonnes to accommodate this, as the Council stated it would in April:
Given that Aggregate Industries has stated the quantity by which their original resource figure would be reduced by compliance with the requirements of Table C.4 of the Plan, I consider that it would improve clarity of the Plan if the currently-modified reference to “Up to 1.2 million tonnes” be replaced by “Approximately 0.9 million tonnes”. 
DCC has instead, surprise, surprise, sided with the mineral operator again, and put a line through the 1m standoff from the maximum water table level intended to protect water supplies:
The development of this site will only involve dry working, above the maximum winter (wet) level of groundwater with an unsaturated zone of at least 1m maintained across the site. The depth of working above this level will be determined through monitoring and analysis of historic data, in agreement with the Environment Agency. MM58 Table C.4
This change has been made despite the 1m being stipulated by the EA:
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.
Anyone with water supplies around Straitgate Farm must be getting increasingly nervous at the way DCC continually backtracks. It is standard to leave at least 1 metre where private water supplies are at risk - for very good reason; even more so when over 100 people rely on the area for their drinking water.

DCC propose holding a consultation on the main and additional modifications for the draft Minerals Plan for a period of eight weeks from Monday 1 August 2016:
Following close of the consultation, all representations received will be forwarded to the inspector for his consideration prior to publication of his report. 5.2