Tuesday, 29 April 2008


"The aquifer underlying the site is considered to be a major aquifer providing potable water to a large population." (CGP Application)

"There is potential for significant pollution of the aquifer to occur". (CGP Application)

'Thanet Treehuggers' kindly sent this picture across of Southern Water's pumping station at Sparrow Castle on The Manston Road. The proposed development is not only huge, with countless HGV movements and almost 4000 cars parked on site and industrial processes going on but most importantly for all of us in Thanet, it sits on a WATER CATCHMENT AREA FOR OUR DRINKING WATER! This area has 'Source Protection Zones' to ensure that what drips down through the soil and chalk into the natural underground reservoir is pumped out at Sparrow Castle in a drinkable condition. The proposed site affects Source Protection Zones 1, 2 and 3 for Sparrow Castle and a bore hole in The Alland Grange area.

I am not qualified to comment on how the project will affect the amount of water collecting in our aquifers but building on water catchment areas, inevitably reduces the water that reaches the aquifer. In dry years it is not inconceivable that water reserves will run out. If that wasn't bad enough, the threat to our water supply is greatest during construction which will take 4 whole years and read what CGPs Hydrologist has to say:

" should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE" (my capitals). In other words if there is a spillage and contamination of the wrong kind, NO MORE DRINKING WATER FROM THIS AQUIFER FOR YOU AND ME!

The picture shows a sky-lark of which there are many on and around this proposed development. CGP's Ecologists have been, are and will be snooping around the site and its surounds to look for bats, badgers and newts because we can upset human residents in the area with dust, noise and light pollution but we can't upset these species! So far, GCPs Ecologists have come to the view that ecologically speaking, the site is pretty poor and there is nothing to worry about in building on it. They would wouldn't they? In may not be up to much but at least its 'ours' at the moment and in Thanet.

What I find utterly nonsensical is how they think that building the development will improve, yes, IMPROVE the wildlife in the area. Let me give you some quotes from CGP for you to savour:

" there will be landscape and biodiversity enhancement around the boundary edge"

"The strategy for the design scheme provides SIGNIFICANT enhancements to the ecology and biodiversity of the site" (my capitals).

This one has to be the best about the grass areas (lawns) around the site:

" Dry grassland areas will be sown with a diverse mixture of native grasses and wild flowers ....which qualifies as areas of CHALK GRASSLAND " (my capitals). So the lawns (sorry, grass areas) around the site and boundary are compared to that rare and threatened habitat, 'Chalk Grassland'.

So go and tell the sky-larks that CGP's plans will not ruin thir habitat but quite the reverse; the whole project will provide all wild-life with a better habitat than they have now!

Will they believe it? Do you?


Michael Child said...

Bertie my understanding of the situation is that this aquifer, (the Manston borehole) not only acts as one of our water sources but water is pumped from our two other waters sources and the entire water supply for Thanet is stored in it. I understand that there have been pollution problems caused by inadequate drainage for the runway and other surfaced parts of the airport, which can be contaminated with fuel and oil.

The environment agency rates Thanet’s surface water quality as poor one of the problems being high nitrates caused by intensive agriculture. Because of all this the environment agency has increased its regulation of activities here that may have an effect on groundwater quality.

These aquifers use the porous quality of chalk of a large area to collect and store large quantities of water.

Personally I would want to know exactly what is to be manufactured in this area and would have some reservations of any company controlling manufacturing, that didn’t have a cast iron safety record. How this could proven by a Chinese company would be outside of my area of understanding.

It does all look as though this project hasn’t been thought out that well, however as always here with large local projects the council doesn’t seem to manage public information properly, so it’s hard to tell how bad the situation is and past experience makes one expect the worst.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bertie. It's amkiky again. I must say I'm very impressed with the reports and cannot thank you enough for your continued interest in China Gateway - any publicity is greatly appreciated. I have been contacting residents who will be affected by this development all day and was not at all surprised with the vast majority who had not been informed and had no idea just how much land, or how near them, this project would be situated. Not to mention the small amount of time they had to object to it. I have been in contact with Meridian and the local media who are meeting with me tomorrow to help make the general public aware of just how huge China Gateway's intentions are. Only wish all of you who are showing concerns could join me. If anyone's interested e.mail me on amkiky@aol.com for more details. On a sadder note - it was distressing to see so many residents upset at the thought of a huge industrial estate being built (upon what was, I have been told, once Greenland!) on their doorsteps. Some of their views are breathtaking (as seen in your photos) with the rape seed in full bloom - to think that that will be turned into high rise industrial units is just criminal. This is one resident who is not going to sit back and watch developers, or the local council, use agricultural land as an easy way of making money. WE MUST FIGHT FOR THANET LAND!!!!

Bertie Biggles said...

Michael, you quite rightly have serious concerns as we all should. I have been told that dung spreading in the old fashioned way is banned in this water catchment area becuase more nitrates leach into the aquifer than nitogren fertilisers. River systems tend to accumulate nitrates from nitrogen fertilisers through run off. I think there have been occasions when Thanet water has been 'mixed' with other sources to reduce nitrate concentrations to permitted levels.

I wonder how happy Southern Water is with the situation? Could it insist on a complete foul sewerage system with settling tanks for the whole site to be linked to in order to minimise risk? A costly business.

Bertie Biggles said...

Amkiky, good for you.Our comments crossed. I will e-mail you as I am working on Report 4 - Objections?