Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Summary of responses

Devon County Council has released the agenda for the 6 June Development Management Committee meeting, 2pm at County Hall, and the report "Outline of responses to local consultation on Future Quarrying in East and Mid Devon", which will be presented at that meeting. DCC has summarised the responses to the consultation and outlined the work that now needs to be done before publishing the Minerals Plan later in the year. 

Straitgate Quarry mock-up

click to enlarge
We have made various unsuccessful requests to Devon County Council and Aggregate Industries to make public the concept drawings of how AI propose to quarry and restore Straitgate Farm. The drawings have been produced by AI's consultants SLR, and, although at early stages, they have been made available to a number of statutory consultees. In the absense of these drawings, and in response to an idea from a local resident, we have produced an aerial mock-up to show the devastating impact a quarry at Straitgate Farm would have. If AI feel this mock-up fails to portray an accurate picture then we would of course be happy to publish their drawings.

click to enlarge

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Could Straitgate be quarried without water?

Whilst the Environment Agency has left no-one in any doubt about the "significant harm to biodiversity and water" from quarrying Straitgate Farm, Exeter Airport's request that, to ensure aircraft safety from bird strikes, "no ponds or body of water be allowed as part of this development" is an equally critical impediment. The Google Earth pictures of Blackhill and Hillhead quarries reveal several bodies of water in each and it is inconceivable that Straitgate, particularly with all its water related issues, could ever be quarried without the formation of ponds or lagoons of some kind. Indeed, DCC acknowledges this as Exeter Airport wrote "According to your letter it would appear that there will be at least one body of water and possibly more created as a result of the quarrying taking place and on restoration of the site." We set all this out in an email to Cllr. John Hart, Leader of DCC, on 3 May. This and his reply are contained under the Quotes and correspondence tab.

Blackhill Quarry - click to enlarge
Hillhead Quarry - click to enlarge

Monday, 21 May 2012

Statutory consultees' responses

Copies of the statutory consultees' responses to the recent consultation can be found under Links. No responses were lodged by East Devon District Council or English Heritage. 

Aggregate Industries will now be asked by DCC to prove that they are able to overcome the serious problems raised by the Environment Agency, Exeter Airport, and Natural England, before Straitgate can be considered for inclusion in the Minerals Plan.

Since the last update we have added some further Links, sand and gravel production figures under Detailand a Timeline of connected events under Dates.

Monday, 14 May 2012

384 objections to Straitgate

As of 10 May DCC's Consultation Portal was showing 476 respondents, of which 384 or 80.7% objected to the inclusion of Straitgate as a Preferred Site in the Minerals Plan. A summary of results will be provided by DCC at their Development Management Committee meeting on 6 June, and we expect this to include the responses from the statutory consultees.

In the meantime, this site now includes further correspondence from the County Solicitor and DCC in the Quotes and correspondence page. There are also a couple of new maps, including Aggregate Industries' borehole data from Straitgate. Contact details have been included for local newspapers.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Environment Agency warn of significant harm

The Environment Agency has responded to DCC's consultation on Straitgate, and has said: "We consider there is likely to be significant harm to biodiversity and water by exploiting this site." There are a couple of other passages we have included from their response under the Quotes tab.

We have received a letter from Cllr John Hart, Leader of DCC, in response to an email we sent to him. We have also received another letter from Hugo Swire MP enclosing the reply from Cllr John Hart to his earlier letter. Both letters can be viewed under the Quotes and correspondence tab.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A blog for Straitgate

This is our first entry on this new blog. We have set it up with the aim of keeping Straitgate Farm and its threat from quarrying in the public eye. The consultation is about to close and DCC will consider the responses before voting in the autumn on whether to include Straitgate Farm as a Preferred Site for sand and gravel quarrying in its Minerals Plan. We are grateful to Claire Wright and her blog for doing such a good job at publicising the issues and letting people know what's been going on. This site should enable us to flesh out some of the detail, allow us to feed back any news, answer any questions the best we can, and facilitate a 'forum' on Straitgate issues within the comments section. More information will be added in due course. If anyone has any suggestions we'd be pleased to hear them. In the meantime, many thanks to all our contributors and other group members.