The claim in the Covers Farm proposal that it 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.
The proposal confines its mitigation of habitat loss to the quarry site itself. But many species are supported by the connectivity of hedgerows, water bodies and woodland that surround or radiate out from the quarry, some of which would be threatened or destroyed.
The application documents discussing ecology and biodiversity are the Main Report, the Technical Annex 5 Ecology, and the Draft Ecological Mitigation Plan.
A huge range of species
The applicant commissioned the consultant Ecological Survey Assessment (ECOSA) to carry out an Ecological Impact Assessment. During their fieldwork they identified the presence of 409 invertebrate species on the site.
Habitats gone forever
ECOSA observed that the loss of ephemeral areas and zones of sparse vegetation will result in the irreparable loss of habitats that support many rare species. They will be lost to the site forever.
The following letters of objection set this out clearly:
Bat species – the application ignores wider impact on habitat
The ECOSA report records the wide range of bats observable at the site. However the application ignores the wider potential impact of habitat loss brought about by hedgerow removal for the construction of the haul road.
The following redacted letter was written in objection to WWW, but it raises pertinent points regarding potential disruption to Westerham’s bat populations that would pertain to the Covers Farm proposal: