Covers Farm: a net loss of biodiversity and habitats

The application documents discussing ecology and biodiversity are the Main Report, the Technical Annex 5 Ecology, and the Draft Ecological Mitigation Plan, below here.

Technical Annex 5 Ecology

Appendix 3 – Draft Outline Ecological Mitigation & Management Plan

The claim that the proposal will restore or enhance biodiversity on the site is simply at odds with the evidence of the surveys conducted in the quarry and with what the application actually says. There will be an irreparable loss of habitats that support many important and rare species. (Ecological Impact Assessment Report (EIA) Sep. 2018)

The proposal confines its mitigation of habitat loss to the quarry site itself. But many of the species, including rare or protected species inhabiting the area are supported by the connectivity of hedgerows, water bodies and woodland that surround or radiate out from the quarry.

The relevant paragraph in the National Planning Policy Framework

Para 174

Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by:

a) protecting an enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils (in a manner commensurate with their statutory status or identified quality in the development plan); …

d) minimising impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity, including by establishing coherent ecological networks that are more reliant to current and future pressures.’

The following letters of objection explain clearly the overall potential ecological harm of the proposal:

Objection to the proposed Planning Application No KCCSE04952018 – Stabilisation and restoration of Covers Farm Quarry, WES Ammend ResponseApplication no KCCSE04952018 – Copy (2) 

Taking the various bat species as an example, the EIA reports on the wide range of bats observable right across the site. However the proposed mitigation is confined just to the extreme northern section, ignoring the flyways that pass north-south .

The following redacted letter was written in objection to WWW, but it raises points petinent to the potential for the Covers Farm infill proposal to disrupt Westerham’s bat populations:

Letter_concerning_bat_populations_Westerham

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