What follows is a document which has been drawn up by a group of residents of Ley Hill & Botley, who are concerned about the anticipated management of the landfill site at Meadhams Farm (the former brickworks).
Why is the local Parish Council so keen to discredit a valid petition set up by local residents?
Every point on the information leaflet and the letter available on the Facebook page (referenced on the petition information leaflet) has been thoroughly checked and is accurate.
The petition is about giving the public involvement in decision making related to the control and safety of the site, which is our right. It is also about making sure that what will be Hazardous Waste landfill is properly and thoroughly controlled.
Having thoroughly researched Planning Documents, assumptions that many people, and apparently the Parish Council, have made regarding the role of the Planning Department have been found to be wrong. Hopefully, the answers below (many of them covered in the Facebook page referenced on the petition leaflet) will show the Parish Council’s points to be misleading and in some cases simply inaccurate.
1) Why has the Parish Council brought up the subject of waste types in their article?
Firstly, the petition is not about the waste type (asbestos), it is clearly about getting the Planning Department to do its job; to properly assess the site as suitable or not for a full scale landfill, and then to put proper controls in place to make the site safe if it is decided that it is an appropriate site for a full scale landfill.
Secondly, the site did not have and does not have, planning consent for putrescible waste. It could probably never be the type of site that has black bin bags and seagulls etc because it is positioned above an aquifer used for drinking water.
2) An HGV movement every 12 minutes is a conservative and accurate estimate.
By a movement we mean a journey. It is misleading of the Parish council to refer to a movement as one vehicle’s journey to and from the site. Most people would understand movements in the following way (in line with petition): if 25 vehicles visit the site daily, there will be 50 road movements on local roads. Each vehicle will make one movement to get to the site, and one movement to leave the site.
50 movements over 10.5 hours daily, during summer months, works out to about one movement every 12.6 minutes on average. The intensity of movements increases though in winter months. 50 vehicles during daylight hours only during winter months, will mean around 1 movement every 10 minutes on average.
The fact that we put 1 HGV movement every 12 minutes was not in any way an exaggeration and certainly not inaccurate.
Only HGVs are limited by the planning consent. This means that Duntons can have up to 25 HGV visits daily PLUS any number of transits and other vehicles. If transits are carrying asbestos they will have to make an appointment before visiting the site, but there is no limit on the numbers that can visit daily. So that means, up to 50 HGV movements plus other site vehicle movements.
3) With regard to traffic movements, Parish Council members have agreed in meetings with residents present, that Michelmersh have no control over the roads and routes that HGVs and other site traffic will use. Despite this, their website post suggests that Michelmersh will have control over how carriers use local roads.
The roads are public roads and if carriers have road tax, currently they will be allowed to use any local roads at any time. Michelmersh might say that they will provide carriers with preferred routes but there will be no onus on the carriers to use them. With the current site consents, carriers will be legally entitled to use routes that will be most convenient for them and that could mean any local road.
Road traffic and road safety are part of the remit of Bucks Planning. Bucks Planning could put controls in place as part of a new planning consent. With the current planning consent, there will be no traffic controls in place.
The petition is reasonably arguing that roads be assessed and vehicle movements on certain roads are controlled through the Planning authority if this is needed to keep them safe. The petition is reasonably asking Bucks Planning to do their job with respect to appropriate road usage and road safety.
4) It is clearly inaccurate of the Parish Council to suggest that Ley Hill will be avoided by HGVs.
Since HGVs are not allowed to use Blackwell Hall, there is no way that Ley Hill could be avoided when travelling to access the site. Blackwell Hall Lane will not be used, but that is just one local country lane. There are many other country lanes around here that HGVs will be permitted to travel along.
5) It is completely inaccurate of the Parish Council to suggest that the site’s planning consent has been checked in any way by the EA.
During the recent EA consultation, the EA pointed out (and this is a quote from the EA Permit consultation document and it is in the letter linked to the petition which the Parish Council could have read),
“The existence or not of planning permission is not a matter for the Environment Agency. It is a matter for the Planning Authority.”
The EA did not check the validity of the site’s planning consent.
The site has a consent related to mixed use with ‘gradual restoration’ ie backfilling. It does not have consent for a full scale landfill. One of the current conditions of the site’s current planning consent is that the site is strictly limited to 8 weeks per year of intensive site activity, largely, apparently, to limit the impact of site traffic on roads. The new EA Permit though, allows intensive activity and associated traffic daily, year round. The current planning consent is not appropriate for the new operation. The current planning consent does not match the new operation described in the EA permit at all. Since the EA also stated in the consultation that Planning and the EA will jointly regulate the site, with separate responsibilities, the fact that the Planning consent is for a completely operation to the one that will take place is unacceptable.
The site planning consent will be the basis of the Planning Department’s control of the site (the blueprint for how they will keep it safe from a planning perspective). The planning consent must at least describe the right operation. It needs to be rewritten.
At the end of the day, the petition is very much about getting Bucks County Council to do their job well to keep our area safe. We’re not staging some sort of outrageous revolution. Hopefully, the Parish Council will support our efforts because the majority of residents are behind this and surely the Parish Council want to make sure that the site is properly regulated and as safe as possible as much as we do? A large portion of the site will be a Hazardous Waste landfill. It must be properly controlled.
If the Parish Council cannot support this completely justifiable petition, for whatever reason, they should be very careful not to make inaccurate statements in relation to it.