Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Forest

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Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Forest

Postby Don » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:17 am

Face book petition group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=21398205811
Norfolk County Council proposal;

http://norfolk.jdi-consult.net/ldf/read ... 2402#d2402

Landscape: The site lies within a relatively tranquil area of countryside, although the presence of overhead power lines and pylons does detract slightly from the landscape. The northern and western part of the site falls within the Broads area, which has a status equivalent to that of a National Park. Of the four potential phases of working proposed, the first three fall within the Broads area in whole or part. However, the submitted (revised) plans show that a ‘screen’ of existing trees would be retained around the boundary of the site. It is considered unlikely that the working of the site would impact adversely on long views into the site from the River Waveney and the marshes. The proposal to restore the worked areas to a mix of wet (deciduous) woodland and heathland (with some reed ponds) would be a more ‘natural’ and appropriate Broads landscape than the current coniferous woodland.

The higher areas of the site within the forest – generally land to the south and east – would also be screened by the retention of a block of perimeter woodland.

The bunding and screening of the haul road to the A143 would need to be designed carefully to ensure that the impact on the setting of Waveney Forest was acceptable, and the tarmacking of the road (necessary for dust suppression) would add an urbanising element to the landscape. However, with the removal of the tarmacked road and the bunding on restoration of the site, the impacts are likely to be satisfactory. Some additional boundary planting at the back of New Road properties would also be necessary.

It is felt that the considerable reduction in site area proposed by Brett Aggregates, along with further reductions that the County Council believes are necessary to protect amenity (see Amenity below), and the retention of the ‘screen’ of trees on the site boundary, allied with the high-quality restoration plan, means that the landscape impacts of the proposal are likely, on balance, to be acceptable. However, it is acknowledged that it is a finely-balanced case

Ecology: The site is about 2km from Breydon Water SPA and the Broadland SPA, which are designated for their wetland bird interest. Although a more detailed Appropriate Assessment would need to be carried out as part of an ecological study supporting any planning application, Natural England’s view is that working the site would be unlikely to have an adverse impact on the two SPAs. Given the distance to the SPAs, and the fact that a reasonable screen of deciduous trees would be left between the site and the marshes/River Waveney, this view is supported by the Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment for the site, which concludes that there would be no likely significant effect (NLSE) on the SPAs so long as appropriate mitigation measures are followed (e.g. an adequate ‘stand-off’ zone)

A small part of Waveney Forest itself is classified as a County Wildlife Site (this is a ‘V’ shape in the eastern part of the site) and Fritton Warren South CWS adjoins the south-east part of MIN 38. Fauna known to be present in Waveney Forest include various woodland birds, amphibians, reptiles (especially adders), mammals and the European protected snail Vertigo angustior. Because of the significant areas of the forest which would be unworked, and progressive working and restoration elsewhere, the birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals are unlikely to be ‘crowded out’ or subject to excessive disturbance, although some trapping and relocation of adders and other reptiles might be needed. Vertigo angustior requires unshaded, damp habitats, typically grassland on the edge of wetlands; because it does not occur in areas of coniferous woodland, and the only areas to be worked are coniferous woodland, it is considered unlikely that there would be any adverse impact on the population.

Restoration to wet woodland and heathland, with reed lakes, would be ecologically beneficial, particularly if (as proposed) no deciduous woodland would be lost as a result of working

Highways: The proposed haul route from the plant site to the A143 would be across an area of grazing land. Satisfactory access to the A143 will require a dedicated right-turn lane; it seems likely that adequate visibility splays can be achieved, but this may require the loss of a group of oak trees with Tree Protection Orders. The A143 is a Principal Road, the highest tier on the County Council’s official route hierarchy, and is thus acceptable in principal to accommodate HGV traffic. With the likely scale of HGV movements as submitted by Brett Aggregates being 30 per day (15 in and 15 out), the Highway Authority is satisfied that there are unlikely to be unacceptable impacts on highway safety on the A143. The Highways Agency does not consider that the site HGV movements would have a significant effect on the A143/A12 (trunk road) junction in Gorleston/Great Yarmouth. As HGV movements would be spread throughout the working day, the impact on peak-time congestion into and out of Great Yarmouth is likely to be very small

Amenity: Although there are only two public rights-of-way in Waveney Forest, informal public access across much of the rest of the area is tolerated by the landowners (although the forest is closed on a few occasions each year). There are likely to be some impacts on those who use the rights-of-way for quiet enjoyment of the countryside, and further modification of the plans to introduce wider ‘buffer’ zones for the users of footpaths is appropriate (see site plan). With these changes, and appropriate design and methods of working, and with greater footpath availability on restoration, there would be longer-term benefits. Because the site will be screened by the retention of the deciduous trees on the edge of the forest, there should not be any adverse impacts on boaters using the River Waveney, save for some limited noise during some of the phases of working.

The working and processing of minerals and the production of concrete, and their transport via the haul road to the A143, will inevitably generate some noise and dust. Those who would be most affected by this are the residents of two dwellings within the forest itself (Forest Lodge, to the north-west, and Round House, to the south-east), Fritton Warren (a property to the west of the haul road) and the residents of New Road (to the east of the haul road and the forest). Given that most of the conifers in the forest have very little foliage below crown height, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the screening provided by the coniferous woodland to mitigate noise and dust, so some advanced planting of new trees surrounding the areas to be worked would be appropriate. The plant site would also need to be ‘sunk’ into the ground as far as is practicable, and fully bunded. ‘White noise’ reversing alarms would help reduce any noise impacts compared to standard reversing alarms. In comments on the site, Great Yarmouth’s Environmental Health Officer has expressed his “particular concerns” as to the likely effects of dust on Forest Lodge and Round House, so an additional stand-off zone between Forest Lodge and Round House and areas of working would be necessary to protect amenity.

The proposer has submitted details of the suggested screening and bunding of the haul road, and although there is insufficient information to be certain, it seems likely that noise impact on nearby residents would be satisfactory when judged against the current background levels (the A143 is a fairly busy road). In order to limit dust production, the proposer has volunteered that the haul road would be fully tarmacked, with the normal wheel-washing and mud-removal processes for HGVs.

Potential adverse impacts on air quality have been expressed as a health concern by many local residents, particularly particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) from combustion engines on site. However, plant vehicles burn standard diesel and the additional impacts above background levels are not likely to breach current national PM10 thresholds (as expressed in the National Air Quality Standards). A target level for PM2.5 concentration of 25µg/m3 is likely to be required to met by 2015 (after being introduced in 2010), with a reduction to 20µg/m3 by 2020. Although some studies have shown that charged particles have a greater chance of remaining within the lungs, the impact of ‘ionised’ particles (caused by the power lines crossing the site) is not thought to be a significant concern at Fritton. The Health Protection Agency has been consulted on MIN 38, and it concludes that: ”From the information provided, it seems unlikely that there will be significant adverse health effects associated with a quarry at this site”. Although the HPA’s conclusion has been criticised by some local residents as being based on outdated science, it is clear that, irrespective of this, it would need to be demonstrated (though further investigation) that the operation of the site could be meet the impending PM2.5­ targets

Water resources/quality: Various concerns have been raised about potential impacts on groundwater, the River Waveney, Fritton Lake and an Essex & Suffolk Water abstraction point near Fritton Lake. However, the hydrogeological and hydrological study supplied by Brett Aggregates states that with standard operating procedures (e.g. bunding fuel stores with 110% capacity, sealed drainage systems for the wheel-wash area etc), no dewatering of the site (‘wet’ working will be needed in some areas) and the installation of a groundwater monitoring network around the site to monitor groundwater levels, there would be no significant risks to groundwater or surface water; the County Council Hydrogeologist concurs with these conclusions. The Environment Agency has not raised any objections in principle to this site on water quality grounds, although it is clear that standard measures to mitigate risk (e.g. those listed above and more) would be needed

Geodiversity: This site could reveal nationally important remains for early and middle Pleistocene early human settlements in NW Europe, perhaps linking to finds at Norton Subcourse and Pakefield (in Suffolk). Preservation of a section of former cliff-line of Holocene age on the site would be desirable and a ‘watching brief’ during the extraction phase when features of potential geodiversity interest are discovered would be vital should this site be worked

Other comments: English Heritage previously raised concerns about the impact of the site on a number of listed buildings in St Olaves and along the River Waveney. However, now that the site would be ‘enclosed’ within the forest, it is felt that there would not be any visual harm to the setting of these listed buildings.

The Fritton area has been the site of various military activities ranging from the Civil War to World War II, and there are a number of archaeological remains. A gun emplacement at Bell Hill is thought to date from the Civil War, but because it is approximately 250m from the site boundary, it is not believed that its setting would be impacted adversely. A series of World War II defensive structures within the site boundary, including trenches and dugouts, have recently been investigated by English Heritage. Although these structures are not scheduled or listed, they are of value and further investigative work would be necessary (paragraph HE9.6 of PPS5). There should be a presumption in favour of retaining these structures, and so further work would need to be undertaken to provide better information on their value and any conservation strategy

Conclusion: Following the conclusion in the previous Further Issues & Options DPD that the site was unacceptable, the proposer (Brett Aggregates) has significantly reduced the site area and submitted a series of reports considering hydrology/hydrogeology, landscape, cultural heritage, noise, air quality and highways. In particular, the shrinking of the site into the forest, leaving a ‘screen’ of trees surrounding it, reduces the impacts on landscape, ecology and on local listed buildings. Further reductions to the site area would, however, be necessary to ensure acceptable amenity impacts on local residents and those using the forest for recreation purposes, and further detailed work on the military archaeology would also be necessary to inform a scheme of working.

It is clear that a number of areas would need more detailed investigations to support a planning application, including (but not limited to) noise, dust, ecology, military archaeology and groundwater, and the proposed high-quality restoration scheme for the site would need some further refinement.

There are advantages of working the site – in particular the proximity to Great Yarmouth, direct connection to the A143, a high quality biodiversity- and landscape-led restoration, and the opportunity to potentially reveal rare and valuable archaeological remains (of early human settlements) and Ice-Age geomorphological features. However, there are some disadvantages – there would be some loss of woodland habitats and potential disturbance to wildlife, extraction within the Broads area, impact on military archaeology and there could be potential impacts (noise and dust) on local residents, particularly on dwellings within the forest itself.

MIN 38 remains a finely-balanced case and whilst it may be possible for an acceptable scheme to be developed, with a reduced need for sand and gravel across the county, an assessment of all potential sites concludes that there are sites elsewhere in the county with fewer disadvantages.

Site not allocated.



:twisted:
I'm off to make some noise, any help or ideas much appreciated
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Re: Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Fore

Postby Don » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:05 am

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Re: Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Fore

Postby Don » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:28 pm

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Re: Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Fore

Postby Lynda » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:01 am

Brett Aggregates are probably going to give a good rake-off to the Council so I doubt any objections would be listened to.
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Re: Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Fore

Postby Don » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:30 am

Lynda wrote:Brett Aggregates are probably going to give a good rake-off to the Council so I doubt any objections would be listened to.

Yes, I get that feeling :(

*sigh* I can see me starting my mid-life crisis tied to a tree :roll: :lol:
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Re: Help! It looks like we've got 24 hours to save the Fore

Postby Lynda » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:02 am

Over 25 years ago I spent more than a year trying to keep the boys high school from closing down. All in vain of course. Once a council has decided on an action there's no stopping them.

They closed down three schools and built an extension to another one. One school was on green belt land so had to be sold as a school the other two were sold to developers who built two new housing estates.

So many new children came in to the area to live on those two housing estates and the birth rate went up so the council ended up having to build another new school. All things that could and should have been foreseen.
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