Friday, 11 November 2016

AI's had second thoughts about processing Hillhead material at Blackhill

Remember that planning application to haul Hillhead material to Blackhill on Woodbury Common? The planning application that would see sand and gravel trucked 74,000 miles in total to be processed in an AONB? The planning application recommended and approved by DCC? At the time we said:
In terms of minerals applications, you could hardly come across a more ludicrous, unsustainable proposition...
Well, it appears that Aggregate Industries has come to its senses. DCC has apparently been informed that 'AI will not implement the Hillhead permission'. Make of that as you will.

With AI’s processing operations due to cease at Blackhill on 31 December, when permission expires, it's our understanding that the company will now be installing mobile plant at Hillhead in the new year.

If AI has come to it senses to avoid a 74,000 mile haulage scheme, then perhaps we can hope that it would do the same for a 2.5 million mile scheme - the scheme to haul Straitgate Farm material to Hillhead 23 miles away, the scheme mooted by company representatives back in July.

So, with Blackhill out of the picture, with Rockbeare now permitted for new purposes and with Hillhead effectively 2.5 million miles away, how can AI possibly work Straitgate, or at least process any of the material from it in a viable, sustainable manner without the emission of thousands of tonnes of CO2?

DCC’s Minerals Planning Officer, the one who has championed the quarrying of Straitgate Farm for at least the last 5 years, the one who will be recommending that Councillors adopt the new Devon Minerals Plan with Straitgate as a Preferred Area, should perhaps reflect on that, and all the voices he ignored.