In this weeks edition of the Maidenhead Advertiser 16th January 2020 read about residents anger at Grundon's proposals to extend the restoration period of the landfill to 2023. Public Consultation is now open until 6th February. HERE
Why you should oppose these proposals, by Maureen Hunt (RBWM councillor):
There has already been an extension of time for this project of landfill and restoration and Wokingham Council have adhered with policies to ensure the landfill and restoration is completed. However, the cost of bringing material onto the site is not one of the reasons for delay in the Berkshire Minerals Plan – the lack of material either none inert or inert material is, which concurs with your officer’s recommendation in Application 153172. Requesting an extension of time due to cost manifests a lack of commitment to the restoration – underlined in Policy 18 - 7.21A below.
This is a former Green Belt site and adjacent to a much used and enjoyed public footpath. The public footpath going through the site has been temporarily diverted until restoration.
In policy 18 there are actions Wokingham Council can now take to ensure this site is completed within the extended time-frame already given.
Policy 18 (i) (ii) When considering other applications relating to the restoration of present or former mineral workings, the local planning authorities will be guided by the aim of ensuring the completion without undue delay of site restoration to an appropriate standard and an acceptable landform, landscape character and ecological character which are appropriate to its location and its intended after-use • The local planning authorities will impose conditions to secure these ends on any planning permissions granted, and may request the completion of legal agreements to secure matters which cannot be secured by planning conditions •
7.16 ENSURING APPROPRIATE AND TIMELY RESTORATION This policy seeks to ensure that restoration is undertaken without undue delay, and that the restored landscape is designed to harmonise with its surroundings and to maintain the character of the area, and is designed for and compatible with its intended after-use . It therefore reflects the advice in MPG7 that an important element of the national framework for sustainable development is to ensure that land taken for minerals is reclaimed at the earliest opportunity, and to a standard suitable for the intended use.
7.21A) the level of commitment shown by the applicant towards achieving the proposed restoration and securing the proposed after-use; • the operator's past record of achieving successful restoration and complying with planning conditions, bearing in mind any known improvements in restoration techniques.
7.21A In recent years, an apparent shortage of inert filling materials has led to delays in the restoration of some sites, which in turn has led to the submission of applications to extend the time-period allowed for restoration. In considering any future applications of this type, or other applications which incorporate a lengthening of the approved period for restoration, the local planning authorities will have regard to the provisions of Policy I 8(ii), and will consider case-by-case whether some variation to the form of restoration would be a preferable means of securing the prompt and acceptable restoration of the site. If the site concerned is subject to Contingency Restoration conditions a further option would be for the authority to invoke the requirements of those conditions pending the assured availability of suitable materials to allow the completion of the original restoration scheme.
Consideration of planning applications PolicyM5 Within the framework of Policy M4 mineral extraction will normally be permitted only if the County Council is satisfied that (iii) the land will be promptly restored to a high standard
See Below information re: lack of materials for restoration as stated by Grundon from 2009.
In Grundon’s letter to residents 2009 re: Options,- it was stated ‘it has always been acknowledged there is a significant shortage of restoration materials on site….’
In Grundon’s letter to residents 2010 - As stated in the December 2009 Newsletter, these variations are needed because of the shortage of on-site restoration/engineering materials. The alternative source of restoration materials is the inert component of construction and demolition wastes. However, the current economic downturn means that many sites earmarked for development are not being pursued so inert waste materials are in short supply.
In Grundon’s newsletter 2011 - During the first week of September the capping layer which comprises of a Geocomposite liner (bentonite mat) and a Geomembrane (thick plastic) with a Geotextile above to protect it was placed. Following the completion of this, sand was placed on top to protect the liner and then soils are placed. A thin layer of soil has been placed over the whole area to ensure that the sand is not washed away if heavy rain is experienced. However, all the soil has to be brought onto the site as there are no suitable materials available on site, so these activities will continue for a number of months. In addition to this permanent capping we have taken the opportunity to place temporary capping over a large exposed slope. This means that a vast majority of the site is now covered by either permanent or temporary capping. The only exposed area is now the current filling area which is comparatively very small.
In Grundon’s newsletter 2015 - What still needs to be done? Grundon still needs to fill Cell 7 to bring the waste up to the levels that were agreed in the initial planning proposals. This then needs to be ‘capped’, which is where we place a geosynthetic clay liner on top of the waste and then this is overlain by a geomembrane (1mm thick plastic) and protected by a geotextile (similar to carpet underlay).
During the drier months it also accepts soil material that is used to restore the site.
In 2015 Grundon were permitted to extend the time for the deposit of engineering/restoration materials from 17 years to 21 years and for the completion of restoration from 19 years to 22 years in APPLICATION NO. 153172
Grundon letter to residents August 2018 4.13 An infill scheme has been compiled, based on recent input rates and on the amount of non-inert and engineering/restoration materials that is required in order to achieve the approved final landfill contours and restoration scheme. This is shown in the table below:
Year Engineering/Restoration Inputs (tonnes)
2020 TOTAL 135,000
4.14 As indicated in the above table, infilling would need to continue until 2018 (possibly mid-2018) for non-inert material and until 2019 (possibly mid-2019) for engineering/ restoration materials (inert waste) in order to achieve the required levels and complete the site restoration, as per the approved scheme.
Grundon 2nd letter to residents August 2018 On landfill we have been very busy capping the final area of the site as part of the restoration process. We stopped taking waste materials in April 2018.