Why shouldn’t Straitgate Farm be quarried? Here's a summary:
  1. The proposal from Aggregate Industries is unsustainable.
  2. The proposal would necessitate the haulage of each as-dug load of sand and gravel a 46-mile round trip to be processed at Hillhead, near Uffculme – a location that already has more than 10 million tonnes of the same material available.
  3. The proposal would require HGVs to haul material a total of some 2.5 million miles, with the entailed CO2 emissions and air pollution. This would be contrary to the objectives of the Devon Minerals Plan to reduce transportation distances. Devon County Council has declared a climate emergency. The UK Government has legislated to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  4. The proposal risks harming the surrounding water environment. Professor Brassington says ‘any quarrying at Straitgate would cause problems’.
  5. According to Professor Brassington, the proposal would harm drinking water supplies to over 100 people, to three livestock farms, and businesses – including the functions, weddings, and busy tea room at Cadhay.
  6. According to Professor Brassington, the proposal would harm water supplies to wetland habitats in the ancient woodlands of Cadhay Bog and Cadhay Wood. Cadhay Bog is rich in biodiversity and is thought to have been continuously wooded since the last Ice Age.
  7. According to Professor Brassington, the proposal would harm water supplying the listed mediaeval fishponds at Grade I Cadhay, that are reliant on springs from Straitgate to maintain uninterrupted water flow.
  8. The proposal would risk water supplies to 380 acres of grazing farmland – where livestock are reliant solely on the groundwater from Straitgate via streams and troughs.
  9. Proposals for alternative water supplies have not been detailed. The draft Section 106 has been found "unfit for purpose".
  10. The proposal would require the introduction of a cattle crossing over the busy B3174 Exeter Road, close to the brow of a hill. This would be needed up to 4x daily for around 150 cows to access replacement pasture. The resulting traffic queues have potential to cause a severe impact, as yet unassessed.
  11. The proposal would introduce bodies of water directly below the flight path for Exeter Airport, thereby increasing the risk of birdstrike.
  12. The proposal would impact biodiversity, removing extensive amounts of ancient hedgerows and veteran trees, habitat for dormice and at least 11 species of bats.
  13. The proposal would increase the risk of flooding to Ottery St Mary and downstream communities from the four streams running from the site – to Thorne Farm Way, Cadhay, Coombelake and Salston – through increased surface run-off and permanent loss of groundwater storage. The infiltration areas proposed to mitigate for this are unlikely to work given the high groundwater levels in these locations.
  14. The proposal would increase the risk to users of the B3174 Exeter Road – the main road from Ottery St Mary to the A30 Daisymount junction – from slow-moving HGVs – up to 200 movements a day – turning onto and off this fast road. This stretch of road is narrow at points and already suffers from a high number of accidents.
  15. The proposal would increase the risk to children waiting for the school bus at the Birdcage Lane junction.
  16. The proposal would increase the risk to pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, dog-walkers, horse-riders who currently enjoy the amenity provided by the quiet rural Birdcage Lane.
  17. The proposed location for the site access would increase the loss of veteran oak trees and ancient hedgerows.
  18. The proposal would impact the view from East Hill AONB and other parts of Ottery and surrounding area. Straitgate Farm is a prominent hill top site also visible from Grade I Ottery St Mary Church and Grade II* Chanter’s House.
  19. The proposal would risk the loss of a productive dairy farm, the loss of 'best and most versatile' agricultural land, and the loss of dependent jobs.
  20. The proposal would impact the setting of Grade II Straitgate Farmhouse built c.1580.
  21. The proposal would impact Ottery St Mary's tourist economy.
  22. The proposal would impact the archaeological remains of Iron Age and Roman settlements at Straitgate.
Last revised 5 March 2020.