Thursday, 21 July 2016

DCC approves scheme to haul sand & gravel 74,000 miles to be processed in AONB

In terms of minerals applications, you could hardly come across a more ludicrous, unsustainable proposition with Aggregate Industries' Houndaller / Blackhill planning application - hauling 1400 loads of as-dug sand and gravel 26 miles to be processed in an AONB; 74,000 HGV miles in total.

How Planning Officers came to recommend this application - can be found here.

How six Conservative Councillors on the DMC came to approve this application (three Councillors voted against, four Councillors abstained) - can be found here.

Cllr Christine Channon was one who spoke passionately against it, and asked the the Committee "Are you really convinced that there are exceptional circumstances" to allow major development in an AONB?

Of course, there are no exceptional circumstances, but curiously, despite government guidance to the contrary, the officer’s report questions whether 40,000 tonnes is indeed major development:
Although Government guidance categorises all mineral development as “major”, it is questionable whether the temporary continuation of the status quo is truly a major development in terms of its impact.
Let’s remind ourselves that there are just 5 months left before processing is due to cease at Blackhill on Woodbury Common; operations should be scaling down. Let’s also remind ourselves exactly how many times DCC has now permitted extensions to operations at the plant, since modification orders were served in 1999 to restrict workings at Blackhill and millions were paid to AI in compensation:
2002 Permission granted to quarry Thorn Tree Plantation at Blackhill
2008 Permission granted to process Marshbroadmoor material at Blackhill
2011 Permission granted to process Venn Ottery material at Blackhill
2016 Permission granted to process Hillhead material at Blackhill
So, 17 years on, with DCC’s track record, when exactly will operations at Blackhill cease? When will the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths be restored for the benefit of nature and people? When will DCC finally make a stand against a multinational cement conglomerate?