It also announces the postponement of the Determination Date
THE MINORCA OPENCAST MINE EXPERIENCE IS LIKELY TO BE A LONGER TERM 'BLOT ON THE LANDSCAPE' SAYS MOPG'
The Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG) in their fifth response to Wardle Armstrong’s supplementary set of documents in support of UK Coal’s Minorca Surface Mine Application object to the effect that working this site will have on the views that people and visitors currently enjoy. In their Visual Impact Assessment MOPG point out that:
“Public highways or footpaths bound the entire site, and as the site is comparatively small for the size of the operation there can be little luxury of pushing soil mounds and bunds back away from the roadside to make them less intrusive. It is proposed that along 4000m of the perimeter of the site, immediately adjacent to the road, there would be either 5 or 8 meter high soil mounds immediately inside any existing field hedges. Only along 750 m would the mounds be positioned 30m back from the hedges. This would result in the general experience of travelling along these roads being severely changed for the worse, with the open aspect being completely destroyed”.
In addition either by design or omission, Wardle Armstrong has provided misinformation on the number of properties affected. After the July 2009 submission the Landscape Officer for LCC wanted a list of
“…… those properties that have been assessed as having blocked views. Photographs taken from the southern site boundary show a clear site line to the upper windows of Measham House Farm, and the upper windows of some properties on Shackland Drive are visible from the western boundary of the site.”
In response, Wardell Armstrong have prepared a table (section 2.32) to provide an assessment of all properties within 500m of the site. This table implies that there are 19 dwellings within 500m. Because they have failed to notice the existence of many properties, and have also counted groups of properties as one (for example Bosworth Grange is counted as one, rather than four individual houses), this figure is misleading. There is in fact a minimum of 93 properties within 500m.”
MOPG detail comments on a number of the photographs submitted by Wardle Armstrong and why we disagree
Whereas Wardle Armstrong’s comments referred to only 19 properties views being temporarily affected and none of the experiences being severe, MOPG state for the 93 properties within 500 meters:
“The conclusion to be drawn from this is that some occupiers would have their views completely obscured should the proposal be permitted, some would have them severely curtailed and all the occupiers of the 93 properties within 500m of the site would be effected when approaching and leaving their homes.
LCC Landscape Officer (in paragraph 2.36) correctly commented that WA‘s photoviews only focus on the existing views rather than the changes that would be brought about by the proposals. The clear reason for this (and the lack of photomontages to demonstrate the case) is that the changes would be so severe that all one would see on a photomontage would be a soil mound in an unrecognisable position - all the local characteristics would be obscured.
As far as restoration is concerned MOPG does not consider that UK Coal or their Agents have in any way allayed fears that restoration would be guaranteed. Our comments about the lack of restoration at Lounge Site have not been addressed. The situation there is still unresolved.”
Steve Leary, speaking for MOPG said
“The argument of Wardle Armstrong is that these earth banks are a necessary evil to hide an even greater evil – the actual working of an opencast mine. However this is only part of their role. They will be as high and intrusive as necessary to deaden sound as well.
And when will we get our views back if planning permission is granted? The simple answer is that we do not know. We know more coal lies adjacent to the site and that it much more likely that UK Coal will be granted permission to extend the site rather than have to go to a new site if they subsequently applied for an extension. UK Coal have not, in this case given any assurance that they will not seek such permission.
Then the argument will be put that not enough people objected the first time round and that they have put up with it for now that a few more years loss of seeing the local landscape will not matter at all.
This would mean that for part of the site, especially the part nearest to Measham where the Coal Processing Facility will be sited, that this area could wait years before restoration begins. Even then, if UK Coal has designs on applying to develop all or part the site once the coal is out because of its close proximity to the A42 we are potentially looking at another Lounge issue. There because of a disagreement over UK Coal’s plans for the site and Leicestershire County Council’s requirement that this site, close to Ashby, should be restored, the site has been in a derelict state for the last four years.
Even if this did not happen it would take years for the landscape to be restored and look mature – well beyond the life time of some of those currently protesting whose last memory looking across from Measham to Swepstone may be of a high earthen bank blotting out the view”
MOPG’s information is that with the demand for coal for power generation purposes likely soon to be in steep decline, that ripping up this agriculturally productive land in order to get out what is, in the great scheme of things, a relatively small amount of coal is asking our countryside to pay far too high a cost and for us as witnesses to this destruction, too much to pay as well in denying us the right to enjoy our own little bit of England in peace.”
MOPG have so far published four other sets of objections which cover the following:
Economic Viability and Salability Assessment
Air Quality and Dust Assessment
Socio – Economic Assessment.
These four objections and the one just published are available to download from this web site:
This application for an opencast mine was due to be heard on Friday October 15th but the Determination Date has now been postponed. No new date for the meeting has yet been set
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PRESS RELEASE CONTACT:
STEVE LEARY, SPOKESPERSON, MOPG
tel 05601 767981, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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