Thursday, 16 March 2017

Amazing. Processing Straitgate material at Hillhead is now ‘logical’ and ‘appropriate’

Or that’s what we're being told - in Aggregate Industries' Supporting Statement for its revised planning application to carve up another chunk of East Devon. AI claims:
The choice of Hillhead Quarry to process the Straitgate Farm minerals has been the subject of great debate... 5.5.8
In fact, Chapter 4 of the ES bizarrely claims:
Hillhead Quarry is considered to be the most appropriate and, indeed, only site available in the County for the processing of the Straitgate mineral deposit. 4.6
Not only that; AI even says that this scheme "would seem to be logical". 5.4.7

But it wasn't so very long ago that AI was fighting tooth and nail to stay at Blackhill, trying to persuade us:
It is considered that processing the Straitgate deposit at Blackhill Quarry is the only practical solution which is also the most sustainable solution. 8.40
even telling DCC that:
without the Blackhill option the Phase 1 working [at Straitgate] is unlikely to be viable
Critics will, no doubt, point to the distance which the Straitgate Farm minerals will need to travel to Hillhead 5.4.8
And AI’s right, critics will point at the distance, but they won’t find that distance:
2,500,000 miles - equivalent to 100 times around the Earth
in any of AI’s documentation. It’s conspicuous by its absence. As are other numbers. Critics won’t find the total number of HGV movements, which for a 28 tonne load is a staggering:
Critics will find that "there will be 9 inbound and 9 outbound vehicle movements per hour" 8.5 but won’t find that that means:
one movement every 3 minutes 20 seconds, for a 10 hour day
Which makes a mockery of the statement:
The increase in traffic flows on the B3174 from the Straitgate Farm proposals is not deemed material. 4.5.7
And again, it wasn't very long ago that AI was making the case for using the B3180, ruling out longer alternative round-trips of 29.4 miles and 34.6 miles using the A30/M5, by saying:
A balance has to be struck between the perceived impact of road traffic on local communities in terms of noise and general disturbance, air quality and road safety, and the effects of increased transport distance on climate change factors. 5.46
AI's now wanting to do a round-trip of 46 miles, but has gone quiet on the subject of climate change.

Critics won’t find any information on the NOX pollution that AI's HGVs would belch out; nor any information on the CO2 emissions. So, let’s remind ourselves of AI’s last application again:

Critics will find that AI claims "the existing processing plant at Hillhead Quarry is... ideally located to supply these markets [in Devon, Dorset and Hampshire]"3.9.5, forgetting that the new Transport Assessment tells us that "approximately 90% of material will be sold into the Exeter market"7.5, and forgetting this from the last application:

Does AI really think it can hide all this? Does it really think people have such short memories?