THE PROCESS DRAGS ON
We have received a statement by email from Bryn Hopkinson of Provectus which he also published today (29 November 2012) on their website. [see the bottom of this article for the text]
It has now been 7 months since we received the first Provectus newsletter telling us about their opencast proposals. At their Public Exhibition they said that they intended to submit a planning application this autumn with a view to starting work in spring 2013. Now they say they won’t be ready to submit an application until spring/summer 2013. It would appear this company embarked on the project with little understanding of the scale of work involved in preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment.
If a planning application is not submitted before summer 2013, it is unlikely that a planning decision would be made until early 2014. Given that topsoil stripping and hedgerow removal cannot take place between March and September the earliest work on the site could start would be October 2014 with completion 3 years later in October 2017.
As they actually kicked-off this project with unauthorised exploratory drilling in October 2011, even if there are no further delays, we will have this blight hanging over us for at least 6 years.
It is intolerable that local communities can be subjected the distress and worry caused by this scheme dragging on over such a long period.
We have always made it clear that we would not proceed with an application for planning consent for this project unless and until we were satisfied that the works could be conducted in an environmentally acceptable manner.
To demonstrate our commitment to that principle and notwithstanding the costs involved, we have opted to cooperate to the fullest extent with the pre application engagement procedures operated by the Mineral Planning Authority [MPA ] of Derbyshire County Council. To this end we shall, in the course of the next few days, be contacting the MPA with a pre application submission which will outline the proposal and provide them with an update on the findings of the environmental assessment work conducted to date.
This is a sensitive matter and before making the final decision on an application it is appropriate to take account of the views of the MPA whose response will, we hope, highlight whether the principle of the development is supported by the prevailing planning policy context and comment upon the key issues on environmental acceptability.
It is in the interests of all concerned that were an application to be submitted that it is based upon evidence which is sound, comprehensive and produced on the basis of best practice.
The response of the MPA to our submission will obviously be considered with great care . We would anticipate receipt early in the New Year and will let you know when it arrives.
I would say at this point that it is likely that a planning application will be submitted at the conclusion of the environmental evaluation excercise provided that we do not identify any significant constraints over the final few months of that process. Subject to this we anticipate that an application will proceed Spring /early Summer 2013. Again we will keep you informed.
To the extent that delay has occurred in any part of the process to date it is correct that the exceptionally wet Summer has made it difficult to obtain a representative picture of the baseline air quality of the site. I know that air quality is a matter of particular concern to you. To achieve a proper result one needs a monitoring period of at least three months duration that includes periods of dry and windy weather when dust generation can be expected to be greatest.. Any dust/air quality assessment which does not have sound baseline monitoring data will be flawed and we cannot countenance this. This is important to you and we take it seriously.
Please let me know if we can assist you further at this stage.