Verwood Town Council response to Grundon Environment Scoping Document Consultation for the Purple Haze site
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to accompany a planning application for the extraction of gravel and sand at the site known as ‘Purple Haze’ on the border of Verwood, Dorset.
Verwood Town Council endorses the detailed submissions by Dorset Council (DC), Friends of Ringwood Forest (FoRF) and the East Dorset Environment Partnership (EDEP). These thorough and thoughtful submissions set out clearly the environmental considerations that need to be considered in full as part of any future planning application.
The Council requires that further and more detailed consideration be given to any potential impact on the acid mire and Ebblake bog. This site is noted as an SSSI but it is also a Ramsar site of international significance and is part of the Dorset Heaths SPA and Dorset Heaths SAC.
Any EIA that accompanies a planning application must be able to demonstrate beyond doubt that this important site is protected, preserved and enhanced, including its hydrology, biodiversity and wildlife. This needs to be demonstrated at both the extraction and restoration stages and any mitigation measures which should be based on the Precautionary Principle.
Further and more explicit information is required to demonstrate how noise and dust from work on the site would be mitigated including how monitoring and compliance will be managed. This is required for both the residents of Verwood and also the impact of works on wildlife within and near to the site.
The Council requests more detailed information about how the water table level has been determined. The EIA must ensure that all hydrological assessments have been undertaken throughout the year to ensure that the water level is fully understood. This is especially important given the intentions for the majority of extraction to take place above the water table.
The EIA needs to set out clearly the impact of any proposed extraction under water level, especially on the southern section of the site.
Strong consideration is needed to the impact of any water used on site as part of the extraction process. This is required to ensure that no onsite activity upsets the PH level of the soil or groundwater of the acid mire.
The EIA needs to include the impact of increased traffic movements during construction and operation of the site. Particular consideration should be given to the junction known as ‘Bakers Hanging’ with a clear mitigation plan to ensure that any application improves this junction. The Bakers Hanging junction is a known accident black spot with a long history of RTC, some resulting in fatalities. Verwood Town Council notes and agrees with the comments from Dorset Council that the vehicle movement figures seem low and requires further explanation.
It is important that specific consideration is given to the impact of traffic movements on the town of Verwood. The current road network is limited and further information about how HGV movements will be managed is necessary.
Concerns have been raised about archaeological sites identified on the Hampshire HER. Verwood Town Council suggests that local archaeology societies be given
permission to carry out excavations on the two sites. Further information about these concerns are included as Appendix 1.
Verwood Town Council would wish to join any management or community liaison group that is formed and suggest that this should be a required condition on any permission. The town of Verwood, whilst in Dorset rather than Hampshire, is sure to bear the brunt of construction and development of this site. As a result, it is fair that the Council is fully represented in any discussions about the ongoing management of the site.
The Council seeks further representation from Dorset based community and environmental groups including EDEP and FoRF.
Verwood Town Council is grateful for the opportunity to participate at this stage.
Further consideration will be given to any future application.
Cllr Pat Morrow
Mayor of Verwood