Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bovine movements

Aggregate Industries’ application to quarry Straitgate Farm may contain liberal amounts of bulls**t, but it says nothing about bovine movements.

In AI’s rush to get its hands on the sand and gravel, it has forgotten about the cows - the 180 dairy cows that would need to cross the B3174 Exeter Road four times each day to access replacement pasture if the company's plans went ahead. It’s something that should have been addressed in AI’s Transport Assessment; it’s no surprise - after this, this and this - that this document has been found inadequate again. As we said in our submission:
24. The applicant makes no allowance for continuation of farming at Straitgate, specifically how the dairy herd will continue to access pasture from fields either unworked, not in the applicant’s ownership, or south of the B3174. [211]
211. The applicant proposes restoration to BMV farmland.
212. In order that a viable and working farm at Straitgate is maintained to resume farming in a timely manner post extraction, and that valuable agricultural land is not lost from production, a number of issues need addressing:
213. How would the dairy herd continue to access pasture in fields either unworked or not in the applicant’s ownership on the north and east of the site? What new gateways and breaks in hedgerows would be needed?
214. With less pasture, the dairy herd would need access to more fields, available on the south side of the B3174. What safe provision would be provided for the dairy herd to cross this road four times a day?

AI has already had experience of cattle movements across this road. Here’s a scene from a few years ago when drilling equipment was moved off site. Obviously, 180 cows crossing four times a day and up to 200 HGVs extra a day would seriously impact the functioning of the main road into and out of Ottery.

The issue was raised with the company at the Public Exhibition in November. AI chose to ignore it. The matter has now been referred to DCC Highways.