Thursday, 16 October 2014


Part of AI's undoing, according to The Secretary of State, was:
There is little evidence that thought has gone into alternative layouts and arrangements of structures to take account of the site’s environmental constraints or wider context. Indeed, there is little identification of these, or opportunities, unlike the analysis carried out for the Objectors... [12.36]
A warning that environmental constraints for any application must be properly addressed, even by AI.

In an article in Mineral Planning, on the effects of the NPPF, the director of planning for the Mineral Products Association admits:
Operators have been eking out reserves they already have. The last thing they have wanted is to go anywhere near a planning authority... [as a result] MPA survey figures suggest both producers and consumers have adapted by switching from sand and gravel to crushed rock.
On the subject of planning, he bemoans that:
Concern over vulnerability to legal challenge is leading to an ever more precautionary approach by regulators. This results in delay and unnecessary costs in providing superfluous information to support plan allocations and planning applications.
Superfluous information? Is that really the industry's thinking when responding to its impact on people, groundwater, ecology, history, endangered species, dust, noise, traffic, etc?

An article by Environmental Working Group claims that thousands in the US are exposed to potential health risks from silica sand mining:
Research has shown that these particles can degrade air quality as far as 750 meters away, leading to a variety of serious health problems, particularly in children and other vulnerable populations.
Dust, and its effects upon health, is a continuing concern around quarry sites in the UK; we have written a number of times in the past about Respirable Crystalline Silica.

4. Business and society: defining the 'social licence'

An article by John Morrison in The Guardian argues that:
Social licence can never be self-awarded, it requires that an activity enjoys sufficient trust and legitimacy, and has the consent of those affected. Business cannot determine how much prevention or mitigation it should engage in to meet environmental or social risk – stakeholders and rights-holders have to be involved for thresholds of due diligence to be legitimate (sometimes even if these are clearly determined in law).

A blog on the impacts of mining across the world, by a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, tackles the subject of corporate social responsibility or CSR:
Often, CSR in the mining industry is little more than a public relations exercise, with no tangible reality to support its elaborate rhetoric.
6. Prehistoric boundary

For anybody interested in learning about Prehistoric Boundaries - like the one thought to run through Straitgate Farm - this English Heritage document explains more.