Lobbying points to Councillors & MPs – Ellenbrook Park & Quarry

Briefing note for​​ objections to​​ Hatfield Aerodrome quarry application

Cumulative Impact

All three specific sites in the mineral plan are in​​ one small part of Hatfield. We believe that this is an unfair concentration of mineral works in one small area of the county.​​ 

We do not believe that cumulative impact of having three quarry sites in one area has been fairly assessed.

We also believe that the council has not taken into account the economic and delivery risk if for any reason extraction has to stop on one or more of the proposed quarries.

  • Cemex quarries​​ ​​ Operational​​ Timelines

    • Not 2020 as stated in SLR report to committee in Jan 2017

      • Furze Field​​ and then Stanboroughbury​​ operational between​​ 2020 – 2030+

      • Cutfield Landfill​​ ongoing until​​ @2025

    • HGV movements​​ is​​ increasing over next year or so to reach their maximum permitted of 250 per day

This area is also being targeted for a huge number of residential and commercial developments including:

  • Stanboroughbury,​​ Sandpit Lane​​ phase 1 and 2,​​ Smallford Works and Radio Nursery housing developments,​​ Symondshyde,​​ Northern Fields​​ and​​ numerous smaller housing developments

  • Expansion of​​ commercial businesses -​​ Pearce recycling, Glinwells, farm shop and cafe

  • Further commercial developments (part of permission already granted) on Hatfield Business park​​ 

All of these​​ will increase traffic in and around the A1057

All of the above will impact on the environmental conditions for example air quality which is not monitored in this area​​ and will increase traffic in and around the A1057/Oaklands lane/Smallford area.

Sec 106 / Save Country Park

Ellenbrook Fields as a country park was promised to residents under a Section 106 agreement, which despite nearly 20 years passing since it was agreed has still not been set up. ​​ We believe that the planning permission for this site​​ MUST NOT​​ granted and should not even​​ be​​ considered​​ until the original Section 106 is in place and Trust is set up.

As a​​ resident’s​​ association we have little faith that the council will not renege on this agreement as despite our constant pressure the agreement is still not in place.​​ 

  • Granted in 2000

    • Financial contribution from​​ Arlingtons​​ of originally​​ £1.1​​ million to manage the land

      • Remains unpaid Aug 2019 now @£2.3 Million

    • ECPPT trust to be formed

      • Not yet formed

    • Land to be leased to trust

      • Not yet occurred

  • Arlingtons applied for variations which have not nor should be agreed​​ in our opinion

  • To date​​ the councils concerned have not secured this agreement

  • Planners now wish to remove the condition that this Sec 106 be varied and effectively set aside until a later date​​ this runs a high risk:-​​ 

    • Never having the Sec 106 implemented and the Country park, trust and funding not being set up

    • The only beneficiary of this will be the developers Arlingtons

Bromate pollution/ Risk to source water

We do not believe that the potential serious consequences of disturbing the bromate plume have been weighted sufficiently in the decisions taken by the appropriate governing / regulatory bodies namely the Environment Agency, Hertfordshire County Council, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Affinity Water.

  • Bromate is a known carcinogen

    • Very little research is available to understand the long-term health implications for the local population.​​ 

    • Potential exposure to this deadly product is an unacceptable risk for residents.​​ 

  • Worst case of Bromate pollution in Europe

  • Pollution has closed Bishops Rise, Hatfield, Water Pumping Station

  • Initial​​ 10-year​​ remediation plan did not reduce Bromate concentration

  • 2nd​​ 10-year​​ remediation plan is currently being prepared, no one even the experts know if this will work or how long it will take to stop the spread of the plume and reduce the levels to within safe limits

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a limit of 10 micrograms​​ bromate​​ in one litre of drinking water

    • Known readings​​ within 100 m of the​​ quarry perimeter show levels 9 times greater than the WHO levels

    • Known readings​​ within 500 m of the​​ quarry​​ perimeter​​ show readings 56​​ times greater than the WHO levels

The bromate pollution is a Hertfordshire wide issue not just a Hatfield problem, the plume has spread from Sandridge, St Albans to​​ East of Broxbourne.

  • Other water pumping stations​​ are currently​​ at risk – Essendon

  • SLR water Management Plan concentrates on cross contamination between upper and lower mineral horizons (vertical contamination) but does not sufficiently reduce​​ the high​​ risk of spreading the bromate in the same levels (lateral contamination) from draw down effect

    • Lateral spread could cause the Bromate plume to migrate further into the quarried area and contaminate the source water used for the two remaining local pumping stations south of the quarry site

    • Monitoring may detect the presence of bromate during quarrying but once it has​​ contaminated​​ our​​ aquifer​​ it will alert everyone when​​ the​​ damage has already been done. This potential risk is too serious to ignore.

  • We firmly believe that no risk should be taken with the water source used to supply our drinking water​​ 

    • Once contaminated​​ the bromate​​ will take many​​ decades​​ to rectify and at a huge financial cost, left alone the Bromate in the water would take centuries to dissipate

    • Ciara Marie Fitzpatrick of U.C.L predicts bromate concentrations to remain above regulatory limits for around 200 years.​​ 

  • Latest borehole readings on the quarry are from Feb 2019, these are already 6 months out​​ of date at a time when climatic conditions reduce the level of contamination. Figures need to reflect​​ the varying weather conditions throughout the year.

  • EA reporting on the quarry do not have their own expertise or resources to properly and independently investigate the possible outcome on the Bromate plume by digging this land relying solely on the mitigation proposed by those with a financial interest on this going ahead

  • We, as a​​ resident’s​​ association, would like to see evidence of a proper risk assessment being carried out by qualified experts in this field.

  • It is unclear to us as residents why Hertfordshire County Council is so keen to go ahead with such a high risk venture when there are other viable alternatives elsewhere in the county with lower risk​​ and the quarry at Bengeo was dismissed due to possible contamination, that was less of a risk than this application.

  • Herts County Council appear to be making the target of providing gravel the most important factor in their decision making rather than the other factors involved​​ despite the devastating impact bromate has on the environment.

  • Both Affinity Water and the Environment Agency have both recently made media statements regarding the scarcity of water in the future. We find it difficult to believe that the Environment Agency and Affinity Water can make such statements whilst still looking to give their permission to this quarry which could contaminate huge quantities of source water, the slightest risk to this valuable commodity should not be taken.

 

Summary

  • Stop the quarry and reject the planning application

  • Implement the Sec 106 and create the Ellenbrook Country Park