Portland study nears completion
HANSON Bath & Portland Stone are close to completing the most comprehensive environmental survey ever undertaken on the Isle of Portland. The survey has taken nearly two years to compile and will form part of a wide-ranging review of Hanson’s mineral planning permission on the island.
Hanson’s Tim Clotworthy, who has co-ordinated much of the survey work, said: ‘This is undoubtedly one of the most complicated environmental impact assessments ever undertaken as part of a quarrying permission review. It has proved to be even more complex and diverse than we thought.’
All the baseline surveys for the study have now been completed, in line with a brief agreed with Dorset planners. This has entailed over 18 months of careful monitoring and research of a range of issues from highways, public safety, recreation and employment through to blast vibration, noise and dust. Surveys have also been undertaken in areas such as landscape and visual impact, hydrology, geology, archaeology, ecology and soil quality and resource.
‘The painstaking data-collection process is now finished,’ said Mr Clotworthy. ‘We are now well advanced in correlating this information, identifying problem areas and formulating mitigation measures to improve performance. These will be written into our working and restoration proposals to allow constant review and improvement of our operations and to set the standards for future quarrying.’
Some improvements have already been introduced. Hanson have offered to give up significant stone reserves to increase the buffer zones between their quarries and neighbouring properties. The company is also trialling an £80,000 Italian saw to remove stone in areas where blasting is not viable.
‘The study will have enormous value in the long term and place on record a huge amount of environmental information,’ said Mr Clotworthy. ‘We understand the importance of these issues to both local residents and the planners. That’s why we have not cut any corners and will be producing a comprehensive and inclusive report.’