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Background to Planning Application
Buxton Civic Association (BCA) is a registered charity established to preserve Buxton’s natural and formal landscape. The Association has a large active membership from the local community.
BCA is commenting on the planning application for the installation of a water pipeline from Rockhead Spring to the Nestle Plant, Buxton, HPK 2019/0097. It is understood that a trench 600mm wide and 1200mm deep will be excavated to install two 65mm stainless steel pipes and two 150mm ducts for power and data lines.
BCA notes that there is a current licence in place for water abstraction from Rockhead Spring. The licence, which is valid until 2030, allows for up to 175,000 m3 per year to be abstracted in accordance with the requirements of the abstraction license issued by the Environment Agency.
Bowland Ecology Ltd has undertaken an arboriculture and ecological appraisal, along the line of the route from the spring to the plant. This has involved an evaluation and assessment of the route identifying potential areas of impact and mitigation measures to be adopted. At this stage it is not known whether the assessment meets the requirements of Natural England.
The majority of the route follows existing paths/tracks, verges and semi-improved grassland. However the pipeline route passes through 125m section of the Peak Dales SAC following the route of a footpath that may also be an old vehicular route with a field gate. The woodland, Pigtor Wood, is a designated SSSI and forms part of the SAC. It is noted that a section also passes through a small section of Cunning Dale South LWS and two HPIs.
BCA has visited the site, reviewed the geology of the proposed route (this summary report can be provided on request) and considered some potential aspects relating the pipeline.
BCA has the following comments to make:
1. None of the documents supporting the planning application state whether any alternative, less environmentally sensitive routes have been considered for the pipeline;
2. Natural England and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are both consultees to the planning application. BCA will rely on the statutory consultees to comment on the ecological aspects of the proposed route and whether planning permission should be granted and any mitigation measures to be adopted;
3. Method Statement – a detailed method statement for any ecologically sensitive areas and for protecting small mammals from becoming trapped in the trench should be prepared prior to any works commencing;
4. Japanese Knotweed/invasive species – to minimise any potential issues arising from the presence of such species it would be appropriate for the landowner or contractor to identify, treat and destroy prior to works commencing to minimise the potential for spread following construction works;
5. A qualified ecologist and wildlife expert (e.g. badgers) should be present on site during any works being undertaken in areas designated as being environmentally sensitive to oversee and ensure any ecological/wildlife impacts are minimised;
6. No excess excavation materials from trenching should be disposed of on site in any designated sensitive areas and in accordance with the requirements of Natural England;
7. Consideration should be given to establish depth to bedrock and whether it will be possible to construct a trench along the line of the path in Pigtor Wood and other areas given the shallow soils with bedrock. Where the pipeline installation occurs in areas of no exposure, it would be helpful to sample the rock (including orientation data) at intervals to confirm the geological mapping of the area. Samples might be sent to the British Geological Survey;
8. At the top of Ashwood Dale, the line of the pipeline follows a path to the A6. On the east side of the path there are outcrops of the Woo Dale Limestone and at the lower part of the path the Woo Dale Dolomite. One outcrop shows a clear contact between massive bedded (dolomitic?) limestone and a finely bedded calcilutite, typical of the Woo Dale Limestone Formation. This contact and its structural information should be preserved.
Proposed route of pipeline near Pigtor woods
Professor Richard Pattrick on Fairfield Road's Carboniferous Corals
An outcrop of limestone on the east side of Farfield Road, Buxton (Fig 1) displays an excellent example of Carboniferous corals. The outcrop at [53°15'40.56"N 1°54'19.55"W] is a 3m vertical section, 25m long, set back 20m from the road.
The rock is the Eyam Limestone, of the Late Brigantian sub-stage (CX)(P2) of the Visean, Mississippinian stage of the Carboniferous. It is a dark grey limestone with distinctive chert bands (BGS Lexicon, 2019).
The coral is Siphonodendron junceum (Aretz and Nudds, 2005) – Order: Rugosa; Family: Lithostrotionidae. It is a reef build up, colonial rugose coral. This coral is displayed in transverse and cross sections of large (40cm) colonial masses (Fig. 2).
The importance of the site is that it is an excellent example of a colonial coral, easily seen over a long stretch of outcrop.
M. Aretz and J. Nudds. 2005. The coral fauna of the Holkerian/Asbian boundary stratotype section (Carboniferous) at Little Asby Scar (Cumbria, England) and implications for
boundary. Stratigraphy 2(2):167-190. https://www.bgs.ac.uk/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?pub=EYL
Fig 1 Outcrop of coralliferous, Carboniferous Limestone on the east side of Fairfield Road, Buxton
FIG 2 A & B) Colonial masses of S. junceum C) Oblique section of S. junceum D) Cross section of S. junceum. All Farfield Road site.
A Vision for the Uplands with Dr Tim Birch Director and head of Living Landscapes at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
‘A Picture is worth a thousand words’ so says the well know English idiom. And this was amply illustrated by Dr Tim Birch, a Director and Head of Living Landscapes at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, at his recent talk titled ‘A Vision for the Uplands’ where he spoke to 60 members of Buxton Civic Association at their September Members meeting.
Tim put a picture on the screen of a chunk of Welsh hillside. The hillside was divided by a fence that ran from the road up to the rocky cliff top. To the left was the usual sheep grazed scene, shorn of all but the shortest grasses, bare, and barren.
But on the right hand side, protected as it had been from the sheep, the picture was staggeringly different. The hillside was a riot of small trees, birch, rowan and juniper and blackthorn bushes.
Who built the fence? Tim had yet to find out, but the message was clear. Give nature a chance and she will restore and recover damaged landscapes. And once the landscape is restored wildlife will find it and move in.
Knepp Estate a 3,500 acre ex arable farm in Sussex is proof of this. Tim had led a team from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in the early summer to see the pioneering and inspiring work that Charlie Burrell and his wife Isabella Tree have done in wilding their farm.
Just two examples illustrate their success, Nightingales have declined by 90% since the 1970’s across Southern England but have found Knepp and are making it a stronghold, the Emperor butterfly is flourishing there and the early morning air is full of bird song. Tim and his team were astonished and moved by the dawn chorus.
The vision for the uplands is to achieve something similar on a landscape scale for the Peak District.
To enable the landscape to recover and heal itself, to encourage once common species such as Pine Marten and red squirrels to return and thrive. And to provide a wonderful place for us, our children and grandchildren to learn about and appreciate the natural world all around us.
But to do this, to achieve this vision, will require a landscape scale solution.
Tim talked about the isolation of the Derbyshire Wildlife reserves, surrounded as they often are by grouse moors and shooting estates with their traps and snares. The reserves become little refuges for nature but on too small and too fragmented a scale.
A good example of this is the Lady Bower Woods Reserve. The picture below illustrates the point. To the left of the stone wall is the Moscar Grouse Moor, to the right the DWT reserve.
But create a landscape wide approach and then these reserves become isolated no more, but become vital hot spots of wildlife that can then spread out into the wider landscape.
Of course it will all take time. There are a multitude of landowners and stakeholders to consult with and bring on board. But things are changing. Almost daily there is news of new initiatives and schemes, the recent ‘Summit to Shore’ rewilding project in Wales and the plans to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland to name but two.
And with the drive and vision of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and all the other wildlife groups including the work that Buxton Civic Association is doing to create woodland habitats that encourage greater biodiversity, then a grand plan for the Peak District will not be far behind.
One day soon perhaps there will no need for a fence and we can learn how to let nature survive and thrive alongside us.
A Peak District teeming with wildlife, with wildflowers and trees and scrub, where bird song and the hum of insects is taken for granted again, and who knows what might be lurking in the undergrowth or surprise you round the next corner in the forest.
That is some vision, and some picture. It is something worth working for.
Links to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Website and others below
Our latest walking guide is now available from Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, price £2.50. Written by Lyn Noble it takes you on a journey to uncover the story behind 300 years of lime burning around Buxton. Ideal for individuals, groups or families.
Buxton awarded a Silver-Gilt in the RHS East Midlands in Bloom
Another excellent result for the town in the East Midlands in Bloom. Achieving a silver gilt for the second year running. Claire Millard from the Buxton in Bloom team thanked all the individuals and organisations that had been involved. Commenting on the achievement she said;
" Again the town did really well thanks to your support, sponsorship, enthusiasm and hard work! We increased our marks in each of the three categories of horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation and were awarded 160 points out of 200."
Poole's Cavern and Country Park was mentioned in the judges report. They were particularly impressed with the wildflower glades and the sculptures.
What is rewilding? Helen Meech (Director of Rewilding Britain) talks to BBC Breakfast
It’s not about abandoning land or reducing biodiversity... Rewilding Britain director, Helen Meech, appeared on the famous BBC Breakfast red sofa to discuss 'Wild Britain' with Ross Murray, Country Land & Business Association, and Robin Milton, NFU.
Exhibition at the Green Man Gallery 30th September to 26th October 2016
Corbar Hill, topped by its iconic cross, is one of Buxton’s most imposing landmarks. In 2015, keen photographer Terry Richardson, facing a family tragedy, made the short ascent to its 1,433ft summit virtually every day. His images capture the austere grandeur of this unique location in all weathers and seasons.
A fundraising exhibition in aid of Blythe House Hospice, Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Launch event on Friday 30th September from 7pm to 9pm. All welcome.
The Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Square South
Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6PY