Friday, 31 March 2017

Responses to AI’s planning application

Group responses, including those from Planning and Environmental Consultant Charlie Hopkins, and Hydrogeology Expert Dr Helen Rutter, can be found here.

Considerable concerns have been raised by members of the public, whose comments can be found here. Strong objections have also been lodged by Ottery Town Council, West Hill Residents' Association, Devon Wildlife Trust, PTES and CPRE Devon. Natural England's response can be found here.

The Environment Agency's response has been deferred. Unsurprisingly, the EA has been unable to rubber-stamp Aggregate Industries' unorthodox seasonal working scheme. After 4 years of groundwater monitoring and countless reports, yet more information will be requested from water consultants Amec; indication, if any more were needed, of the sensitivity of the water environment at Straitgate, and the recklessness of AI's scheme.

As Dr Rutter says, in response to AI's application:
The only way to maintain the 1m freeboard would be to have continuous monitoring where the excavation is taking place...
The steep hydraulic gradient combined with limited monitoring, in my opinion, is likely to result in errors in the actual depth to maximum groundwater across the site.
This surface is only a model of reality, and may not represent actual groundwater levels across the site (other than where they have been measured).
Variations in the shape of the water table cannot be contoured based on the number of piezometers used in the application.
... the restored soil (and possibly overburden) will not have the same structure as the original, and will have less capacity to attenuate any contaminants infiltrating from the surface. If the soil has been stored for a prolonged length of time it may also be sterile and less able to attenuate contaminants. If intensive agriculture is re-established, then I consider that nutrients and microbes would be more likely to be transported to the water table.