Residents Update

Dear residents

Update on quarry appeal

We are halfway through the quarry appeal and we thought that it would be useful to give residents an update on the proceedings.

The update is quite long but please note the particular sections in red near the end of the email.

By way of​​ background, there are a number of​​ parties​​ taking part​​ in​​ the quarry appeal process

  • The Planning Inspector

  • Brett Aggregates

  • Herts County Council

  • Affinity Water (Rule 6 status)

  • Environment Agency​​ (EA)​​ ​​ (Rule 6 status)

  • Ellenbrook Area and Smallford Resident Associations (Rule 6 status)​​ with Dr Rivett as our hydrogeology expert witness​​ 

  • Colney Heath Parish Council (CHPC) (Rule 6 status)

  • Interested parties including local councillors

 

For the purposes of the appeal the Inspector had asked us and CHPC not​​ to​​ duplicate our evidence, so we split the topics between us and have focused on our areas of expertise.

  • EARA / SRA – hydrogeology (bromate, groundwater water management plan,​​ public water resources, EA bromate remediation plan), flooding, quarrying timescales (32 years)

  • CHPC – green belt, cumulative impact on the area, air quality, dust, noise, traffic and planning policy

As Rule 6 parties we​​ are​​ taking​​ a full part in the inquiry both giving evidence and asking questions​​ on any topic.​​ We have also​​ reviewed​​ dozens of​​ documents​​ prepared by the other​​ parties in preparation for questioning. So to say that this has been an enormous undertaking for us is an​​ understatement.

The quarry appeal started on Tuesday​​ and is scheduled to last for 8 days.​​ 

Day 1​​ started with​​ a request​​ from​​ Bretts to​​ hear​​ the appeal based on the new​​ 2021​​ quarry​​ application that is currently out​​ for consultation.​​ ​​ We objected to​​ the 2021 application being included in the inquiry on the grounds that residents have not had a fair opportunity to challenge the new application​​ through the normal democratic planning process. The​​ Inspector will not rule on​​ whether the 2021 or 2016 application is the one considered in the inquiry​​ until he makes a decision about the​​ overall​​ inquiry, so the second application is still running. As we understand it the second​​ 2021​​ application will​​ not be heard at Herts County Council committee until at the earliest Feb 2022. It is unclear how this​​ timeline​​ overlaps with the inquiry decision.

The second session covered​​ opening statements​​ from all parties including Rule 6 parties.​​ We took the opportunity to express our overall concerns about the quarry.

Day 2​​ was​​ conducted in a hearing style (round table) discussion and was​​ entirely devoted to hydrogeology. We​​ robustly​​ challenged the​​ evidence from the other parties regarding the bromate. Our expert witness Dr Mike Rivett presented a strong case about the bromate plume and contested the evidence from Bretts, EA and Affinity Water.

Day3,​​ also​​ conducted​​ through a round table discussion,​​ covered traffic,​​ air quality, dust, noise and flooding and again we robustly challenged the evidence identifying the current traffic problems that we face and our fears regarding the potential environmental issues such as air quality,​​ dust​​ and flooding.

Day 4​​ returned to the normal inquiry process with witnessed being questioned in the witness box. It​​ covered questions for Herts County Council witness on​​ planning policy and green belt implications.​​ 

Next week​​ will hear evidence from Brett Aggregates​​ for the first two days with questions from the other parties.

This​​ will be​​ followed by an all-day​​ site visit on Thursday by the Inspector where he will walk around the entire site accompanied by all parties.​​ 

On Friday all parties will deliver closing statements and the inquiry will close.

We expect to hear the ruling from the Inspector​​ in the New Year.​​ 

The Inspector has also asked if any residents would like to submit a statement to the inquiry. This can be done in person​​ by reading out a​​ written​​ statement​​ or by submitting an email to the inspector,​​ and can cover an objection to the quarry and / or an objection to the new 2021 quarry application being included in this inquiry.​​ If you would like to take the opportunity to do this please email​​ info@ellenbrookresidents.org​​ by Sunday evening and we will pass the details to the Inspector.​​ ​​ If you wish to make a statement to the inquiry a slot is being reserved for residents for first thing Tuesday morning, however the Inspector is flexible and another slot on Tuesday or Wednesday could be made available if is this Tuesday AM slot is not convenient.

There is a dedicated website where you can view all the documents​​ from all parties, with a link to watch the proceedings live if you would like to.

https://gateleyhamer-pi.com/en-gb/hatfield-aerodrome/

EARA also​​ videoed​​ the proceedings on the first two days and​​ captured the audio on the second two days. These will be available from a link on Ellenbrook Residents​​ website​​ soon.

https://ellenbrookresidents.org/

There has also been some coverage in the local​​ press.

https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/local-council/planning-inquiry-for-hatifeld-aerodrome-quarry-starts-8497954

https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/local-council/brett-aggregates-asks-to-substitute-new-planning-application-8498012

https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/local-council/hatfield-aerodrome-quarry-public-inquiry-could-be-extended-8498152

https://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/local-council/daisy-cooper-objects-to-quarry-8500124

I hope that this is a helpful update and​​ we​​ will endeavour to do the same at the end of the Inquiry.

Thank you to all those residents who have submitted their objections to the second quarry application.

 

Sue Meehan​​ and Mike Hartung​​ -​​ EARA committee

Craig Tallents – Chair of SRA