Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How far??

Forty times around the Earth - that’s how far Aggregate Industries plans to transport the sand and gravel it digs out of Straitgate Farm - and that's just to process it.

When the world is shouting for polluters to reduce greenhouse gases, AI's track record on CO2 reduction - or lack of it, and its latest million-mile proposal for Devon, suggests it carries on regardless; regardless of warnings from eminent scientists that "climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery":
The situation we're creating for young people and future generations is that we're handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control.
Are we surprised? After all, CEOs don’t take climate change seriously:
Only 6% of respondents listed reducing the risk of climate change as a priority, putting it at the bottom of the list… [but] unless we see a sea change in the global business community’s involvement in fighting climate change, corporations will continue to be seen as part of the problem rather than the solution – and consumers’ trust that companies will do the right thing will fade even further.
However, when it comes to planning applications, it’s not up to CEOs, it’s up to councils and councillors, working within the guidance of the NPPF. And on this point, the NPPF is clear:
In locations and ways which reduce greenhouse gas emissions - a point we made in one of our earliest submissions. AI's proposal to process Straitgate material at Blackhill is not sustainable development. Every one of the 1.2 million tonnes at Straitgate would incur a 16 mile round trip - just to be processed into something saleable; curtailing the material’s viable supply radius, damaging roads, polluting the air we breathe with NOX and other diesel emission carcinogens, all because a multinational won’t expense processing in an appropriate location, a location that's not in the middle of a site of "national importance for its heathland, grasslands, mires and fens, breeding birds, and dragonflies and damselflies".

In Lancashire, Cuadrilla is going to have to fork out a few more million pounds, to address planning officer concerns over noise and the “severe” impact of 50 daily lorry movements for two of their fracking sites. At the end of the day, AI would also have to spend some money and move plant closer to the point of extraction - to a nearby industrial estate for example, not Woodbury Common - if it wants any chance of winning permission to quarry Straitgate Farm.