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Concreting countryside is not logical
Sir - In response to Deborah Pritchard’s letter, can a consultant be ‘independent’, when paid to promote a vast housing estate?
She states that the Environment Agency ‘welcomes and supports’ the proposed development at Carterton West but is this spin? The EA actually comments that it supports certain design principles.
However, it highlights that while the mechanism for dealing with overland rainwater run-off has been identified, the volume remains unknown and not included in mitigation calculations. The EA also states that the Shill Brook requires a buffer to protect wildlife (so it can’t be ‘opened up’) and notes that the cemetery may lead to burials in standing water, due to the proximity of Kencot Brook.
Furthermore, the EA’s preference is connection of the foul drainage to a mains sewer, where there isn’t one. Finally, it says its response is only to a pre-application enquiry and so it’s not its final position.
In my view, the engineer’s permeability calculation is incorrect and relies heavily on a single, surprisingly high trial-pit result, from an area that will be concreted over. The run-off has therefore been underestimated, yet the shallow ponds cover an impractically vast area of between eight and ten acres, which is dangerous and expensive to maintain. Existing ground saturation water hasn’t been considered.
The MoD has advised WODC that open water near the runway must be deep, with vertical, reinforced concrete banks and include safety netting. Deep excavations in rock would be expensive and impractical.
It’s illogical to suggest that concreting over open countryside is the only way to mitigate existing flood risk. Development will vastly increase run-off and it’s risky to assume that mitigation will compensate, as there are so many variables.
The public expects that WODC and the EA will not take everything developers say at face value. Certainly, as a chartered civil engineer myself, I do not consider the developer’s proposals to be viable.
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Carterton