Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Quarrying in East Devon: Aggregate Industries' latest proposals for Straitgate Farm site

Aggregate Industries is one of the ‘big five’ construction material suppliers in the UK:
Aggregate Industries - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A leading player in the construction industry, we are committed to creating a better built environment through sustainable approaches.
We produce and supply a range of construction materials including aggregates, asphalt, ready-mixed concrete and blocks. We also import and supply cement materials and offer national road surfacing/contracting services.

Construction materials | Building materials | Aggregate Industries

Here is AI's published commitment to biodiversity - for example, at its site on Woodbury Common:

Where our land is adjacent to other areas of conservation value, opportunities will be explored to add value to existing landscape scale conservation. Two examples of this which have been developed over the past years are at Bardon Hill, where we have created areas of lowland acid heath habitat to form part of the Charnwood Forest; and at Blackhill Quarry in Devon, where progressive restoration is expanding the heathland habitats on Woodbury Common

Biodiversity plan 2008-2012

The County Council is looking to update its Minerals Plan, to provide the policy framework and site proposals to maintain the supply of minerals and limit the impacts of their working

The National Planning Policy Framework introduced a new requirement for the preparation of an annual Local Aggregate Assessment. In discussion with the other Devon mineral planning authorities, Devon County Council has prepared the second Local Aggregate Assessment for Devon. To view the document please see Local Aggregate Assessment

Devon Minerals Plan

Aggregate Industries have indicated their intention to go ahead with plans for a quarry in East Devon, as reported in the local media:

Plans for 2.8m tonne quarry on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: February 04, 2015

A MAJOR buildings materials company is seeking the opinion of local authority officials over its plans for a 2.8m tonne quarry on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary. Aggregate Industries has not yet filed a formal planning application for the site at Straitgate Farm, near Daisymount junction on the A30, but has launched what is known as a scoping exercise.

Ottery St Mary Town Council considered the proposals at its meeting this month and is due to submit a response to the county council to assist with the formulation of a report on its likely environmental impact.

Initially, the company is proposing to process the excavated material at Blackhill Quarry on Woodbury Common. Aggregate Industries plans to extract sand and gravel as part of a two stage project. The first stage would involve the excavation of around 1.2m tonnes above the water table, followed by a 1.6m tonne removal of material below the water line.

In 2012, Straitgate Farm was identified as a preferred location for a potential quarry site as part of Devon County Council’s emerging Minerals Plan consultation, which explored potential sites for sand and gravel quarrying.

At the time residents and councillors in Ottery expressed concerns, including the potential for flooding and disruption to the town’s water supply, increased traffic, damage to the surrounding environment, as well as whether it is necessary when there are decades of reserves left at existing sites.

Firm reveals plans for 2,8 million tonne sand and gravel quarry

16:55 28 January 2015 Harvey Gavin

Plans to turn nearly 100 acres of farmland on the edge of Ottery into a sand and gravel quarry moved a step closer to reality this week.

Civic leaders have been asked for feedback on the environmental impact of the planned 2.8million tonne excavation at Straitgate Farm, just off the A30’s Daisymount junction.

And although no plans have been filed by building materials firm Aggregate Industries (AI), this ‘scoping opinion’ exercise is required before a proposal can be formally put forward. Paperwork submitted by AI says that the company is initially proposing to process the excavated material at Blackhill Quarry on Woodbury Common. Trucks carrying sand and gravel would be directed out of a new access to the north east of the farm, before heading south along the B3180 through West Hill.

The construction materials firm hopes to extract sand and gravel from the farm in two stages. The first would see a ‘dry’ excavation of some 1.2 million tonnes above the water table, followed by a 1.6 million tonne removal of material below the water line.

At this stage, Ottery Town Council is being asked for feedback on just the first phase, which Councillor Martin Thurgood criticised at a meeting this week. He said: “I find it difficult to see how they can deal with the long-term issues - they should be addressing both, not just the initial stage. I want to know what they are going to engage with the community to find out what they propose to do to mitigate the negative effects. We should be pressuring them as to what they propose to do as to enhance the local area and ensure the adverse effects on the local environment are blocked.”

Cllr Roger Giles raised concerns about an increased risk of flooding, saying that three streams running through the proposed quarry area flow down towards Ottery. He added that Cadhay Bog, an area of ancient woodland, could be threatened by the creation of a quarry. “It is really important,” he said. “There is very little in this country and it’s more than 1,000 years old.”

Firm reveals plans for 2,8million tonne sand and gravel quarry - News - Sidmouth Herald

OTTERY: Quarry plans on the way?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 by Jack Dixon 
Email: jack@pemedia.co.uk

A MAJOR construction company has finally indicated its intention to quarry a site near Ottery St Mary, despite warnings that the move could pose a series of environmental risks to the town. 
Aggregate Industries, which currently owns land at Straitgate Farm on the edge of Ottery, has requested details from Devon County Council and other authorities about the information it would need to submit as part of any future planning application. 

Critics, who have fought against the possible quarrying of Straitgate Farm for more than a decade, say the request effectively represents a declaration of the company's intent to press ahead with the plans. 
Documentation submitted to the council also suggests AI will ask for permission to process sand and gravel at the Blackhill Quarry site near Woodbury – more than eight miles away – until 2021. 

Despite the latest developments in the saga, campaigners remain confident that the plans will be thrown out. 
A spokesperson for the Straitgate Action Group described the proposals as “folly” and “outrageously unsustainable and polluting”. They say it would be “inconceivable” for AI to secure permission to continue quarrying at Blackhill, due to the distance between the site and Straitgate Farm. The group has long campaigned against any action at the site because of the potential flood risk, impact on nearby woodland and wetlands, and the increased pollution created by transporting the material back and forth along the B3180. 

County councillor Claire Wright, another long-term critic of AI’s plans, said: “They have revealed that, at this stage, they are only able to dig out sand and gravel above the water table, which will only give them 1.2 million tonnes, which will only last four to five years. It would appear that quarrying Straitgate may not be viable if they had to build a new processing plant elsewhere. Any quarrying at Straitgate could compromise ancient wildwood at Cadhay Bog – a nearby woodland which relies on an underground watercourse to feed its large range of rare plants and habitat. Both the Environment Agency and Natural England have objected to these plans previously because of the damage that disturbing the aquifer would cause.”

SEATON TODAY | NEWS | OTTERY: Quarry plans on the way? | 2015

The Straightgate Action Group has substantial amounts of information for the case against:

A quarry is proposed at Straitgate Farm near Ottery St Mary and West Hill in Devon - this blog highlights the issues
Straitgate Action Group

The CPRE has made its case clear:

Straitgate Farm Quarry

LAST UPDATED 7 April, 2014

Devon County Council is conducting a consultation on future sand & gravel quarries. Straitgate Farm is the preferred site for the Southern group of sites under consideration.

Straitgate Farm is a greenfield site, with a historic Grade II listed farmhouse at its centre. There are groundwater issues, with the potential to affect water supplies to around 100 local residents and farmers, and also to adversely affect the flood risk for Ottery St Mary. Processing is proposed to be at Blackhill Quarry on Woodbury Common, in East Devon AONB, which is an SSSI, SPA & SAC. Material will be transported for processing along the B3180, which is a minor road unsuitable for large lorries.

DCC have not satisfatorily established the Need for new quarries. There are large reserves at Hillhead Quarry, near Uffculme. There are issues over title to the land at Straitgate Farm, and restrictive covenants concerning water. East Devon CPRE have made representation to DCC on this matter.

Straitgate Farm Quarry | Protecting Devon & Planning Appplications

The case has a long history, as some entries on the blog of Cllr Claire Wright show:

Result(s) for Straitgate

Aggregate Industries move one step closer to applying for planning consent to quarry at Straitgate

Aggregate Industries has finally revealed its plans for Straitgate, on the edge of Ottery St Mary, through a request for a scoping opinion to DCC and statutory bodies.

Aggregate Industries meets with Devon County Council officers over plans to quarry near Ottery

A meeting between Devon County Council and Aggregate Industries took place on Tuesday (1 July) to discuss quarrying at Straitgate Farm. Aggregate Industries asked for the details of this meeting to remain “commercially confidential”.
The blog-post below is based on an article on Straitgate Action Group’s website here -http://www.straitgateactiongroup.blogspot.co.uk/

Ottery quarry campaigners urge residents to lobby government over waste aggregates

Stalwart quarry campaigners, Straitgate Action Group, are urging residents to write to the prime minister requesting that waste aggregates are used for quarrying, instead of being landfilled.

Another delay looks likely on decision over quarry at Straitgate Farm

Straitgate Action Group have just issued this update to residents about the progress of Aggregate Industries proposals for a large quarry at Straitgate Farm, between West Hill and Ottery, off Barrack Road.
Natural England and the Environment Agency have asked a series of questions about Aggregate Industries proposals, particularly relating to the disturbance of an underground watercourse and its impact on ancient woodland (perhaps even wildwood dating back to the ice age) at Cadhay Bog.

Aggregate Industries to quarry out Marshbroadmoor

Aggregate Industries will start to quarry the last remaining reserves of sand and gravel at Marshbroadmoor, from 2 January, it has been confirmed.

What can happen when people meddle with watercourses

The watercourse under Straitgate Farm flows to three streams, and supplies 100 people with fresh drinking water.
Aggregate Industries wants to create an 80 acre quarry on this farmland and there are many concerns, including one relating to the dangers of disturbing 100 people’s springwater supplies.

Mitigating devastating environmental damage?

Aggregate Industries has submitted plans to deal with major objections from Natural England and the Environment Agency, to proposals for a large quarry on the edge of Ottery St Mary.

Govt gives green light to destroy ancient woodland for quarry

Communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has given the green light for the destruction of 80 acres of ancient woodland in Kent, for the purposes of quarrying.

An update on proposals to quarry at Straitgate Farm

A five point update has been posted on the Straitgate Action website, on where we are with the proposal to allocate Straitgate Farm, on the edge of Ottery St Mary, in Devon County Council’s minerals plan.

Aggregate Industries prepares for Straitgate quarry bid

Neighbours living near Straitgate Farm have reported increased activity by Aggregate Industries, which wants to turn the area into a large sand and gravel quarry.

Aggregate Industries test work goes ahead, despite floods

Aggregate Industries (AI) has carried out its work to test the quality of the gravel at Straitgate Farm this week, despite an objection to the work from a local councillor.

Councillor moves to prevent quarry testing over flood fears

Ottery St Mary Rural’s county councillor, Roger Giles, has urged Devon County Council officers not to allow a quarry company to carry out testing at Straitgate Farm next week.

Aggregate Industries are major Tory party donors

Aggregate Industries are listed as among the biggest Conservative party donors in the country.

Search Results for Straitgate - Claire Wright

1 comment:

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