Sent to Friends of Pebblebed Heaths
Many of you will have seen the recent coverage in local newspapers and on social media concerning a planning application lodged by Clinton Devon Estates for the former quarry plant area adjacent to Blackhill Quarry, enabling a nearby engineering firm to expand.
Unfortunately lots of inaccurate rumours were also circulating.
As you know the primary aim of the Pebblebed Heath Conversation Trust is to ensure threatened heathland ecosystems are protected, to ensure all wildlife associated with this habitat flourishes, to protect public access and encourage responsible public enjoyment of the heaths.
The most important conservation partner of the Trust is the public and we strive to keep our Friends of the Commons well-informed, so the Trust continues to develop with public support.
Our staff live in nearby villages and understand the issues local people have. Our neighbours are concerned about development, volume and types of traffic, change of use in rural areas and we recognise these topics can bring about many questions as well as strong feelings and differences of opinion.
We hope by providing the facts of this complex issue, especially given the amount of misinformation and speculation there has already been, you will have more of the information needed to make up your own mind.
Please take time to view the maps, statements and explanations we have included here, plus links to the EDDC planning application, where you can read and see what others think.
Blackhill Quarry has no statutory conservation designations, although it is registered as a County Wildlife Site. Attempting to restore heathland on industrial sites can be extremely problematic due to the raised nutrient enrichment of the land due to lime. Similar issues are already the case on East Budleigh common, where the remains of buildings from Dalditch Camp, make management of this site, extremely difficult. To mitigate the loss of 1.09 ha heathland (from total area of 63 ha for the quarry) not restored from hard-standing, we would be looking to create significantly more heathland and of a better quality. This is likely to be through the conversion of existing coniferous plantations to heathland. Our goal is certainly for there to be a biodiversity uplift above and beyond that proposed under the existing restoration scheme.
Later in the year we will organise a visit to Blackhill so you can see the restoration work in progress and ask any questions. In the meantime please contact any one of the team if you have any further queries.
The Pebblebeds Team”
The communication continues with some extraordinary reasons why CEE thinks the engineering works are a special case including:
* Specialising in steel fabrication and design, Blackhill Engineering has recently been involved in many prestigious projects including the design of flood defence gates for New York City Hospital, work for the European Space Agency and the pier at Hinkley Point for which Blackhill has been recognised with two awards from EDF Energy.
[aahhhh!!! now Owl understands!]
* The site proposed is currently covered in concrete and any restoration to high quality habitat will be problematic …”
Who knew that concrete couldn’t be so difficult to remove! If it’s THAT difficult perhaps we shouldn’t allow any development at all at this site since more and more concrete will be needed to expand it!