As you may have seen in the local press, Grundon have sent in a “scoping request” to Oxfordshire County Council for an environmental impact assessment (EIA). This is in respect of potential mineral extraction on the land they have acquired near the bypass south of Wallingford (New Barn Farm).
The following is a summary of the CAGE response to the request:
By law, an EIA must be carried out before a planning application can be made for any major development. In the scoping request, a developer proposes a list of topics be covered in the EIA. On receipt of the scoping request, the relevant Planning Authority is obliged to respond to the developer, setting out any additional requirements for the EIA above and beyond those already proposed by the developer. This does not infer that the Planning Authority in any way approves or disapproves of the application.
OCC has put the Grundon scoping request out to consultation and CAGE has responded by sending OCC a detailed list of additional points that it believes should be addressed in the EIA. In essence our additional points reflect a lot of the reasons why CAGE considers the land would not be suitable for mineral extraction. We want to ensure that these points are properly addressed in the EIA and not simply ignored or glossed over.
The points include detailed arguments under the following headings:
Hydrology, fauna and flora (water table, aquifer, impact of extraction and infill)Traffic (roundabouts already at capacity) Archaeology (research into Great Burh implications, Roman finds, Saxon and medieval archaeology) Air quality (nearby nursery, maternity hospital, residential housing)Noise and vibrations (nearby properties); Heritage, tourism, recreation and landscape (Agatha Christie trail, heritage railway, Mill Brook walk, listed buildings) Socioeconomic impacts (house-building nearby, wider Cholsey-Wallingford developments) Utilities (nearby sewer and gas main).
Although not strictly relevant to the scoping request, we presaged our response by once again pointing out that any application on this site would be “premature” because
there are already enough extraction sites in the county to last nearly 25 years, well over the 10 years required by the government (based on the last 5 years of sales of sharp sand and gravel) the county has not yet had its Core Mineral Strategy adopted.