Saturday, 4 July 2009


I think Michael Child ( picked up first on TDC and KCC's contractor down at Margate Harbour, dumping tons of chalk from the Turner Contemporary building work on the cliff face above the promenade, where the public have access. The story was followed by Your Thanet this week with concerns expressed about damage to the ecology of the cliff face, particularly on the north-side where rare plant species make Thanet's cliff chalk faces a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSIs) and are thus protected in law from dumping and damage to them.
Birchington Geologist, Kim Bruce has described the action as 'scientific and environmental vandalism' and it would appear that Natural England are looking into the matter. It would seem that KCC and TDC have completely ignored the law in regard to dumping material on SSIs. Cllr Mike Hill, KCC's Cabinet Member for Communities excused the dumping and said " The chalk is being temporarily stored on the site as part of the building work".
Now, I am not an expert in these matters but a pile of loose chalk up against a solid face with heavy rain falling on it, doesn't seem very safe on a promenade let alone the SSI aspects.
More interestingly though is the story, regular reader Walter, has reminded me about! (The link is )

The picture above shows builder's chalk dumped against the cliff face in Pegwell in June of 2003. It would seem that a builder, Mr Bernard Baldwin had tipped an estimated 100 tons of chalk on a cliff face, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI). What will surprise readers is the attitude taken by TDC and KCC in 2003 compared to their present environmental vandalism and casual approach to the law in 2009!

In 2003 TDC issued an Enforcement Notice for removal of the chalk from the cliff despite Mr Baldwin arguing (as Cllr Mike Hill argues in 2009) that this was chalk from a cliff and put back on a cliff.

Now TDC and KCC in 2003, when it wasn't 'their' chalk from 'their' building project, took a much sterner line. Cllr John Kirby, at the time KCC's Cabinet member for Planning said:

"the Council was likely to take legal action to make sure Mr Baldwin complied with the enforcement notice."

It seems to me that we should expect consistency and upholding of the law in regard to dumping and SSIs by KCC and TDC. The arrogance implied in the present stance by KCC and TDC is quite unbelievable and I hope Cllrs will take this matter up with their various Councils urgently. This is an unmitigated PR disaster and further illustrates the degree of incompetence and mismanagement that seems to have infected TDC at the moment.


Anonymous said...

TDC and KCC ignoring the law???


Matt B (Thanet Star) said...

Sadly I am not in the least bit surprised.

Anonymous said...

As usual Bertie a good story spolit by inaccurate statements. Mrs Kim Bruce to my understanding lives in Cliftonville, so is not a Birchington environmentalist, however her husband, the "Rock doc" is a Birchington Councillor, so who should the statement truly be attributed to???

Anonymous said...

If it is a temporary solution then no big deal, if they intend to leave it then yes its a bit daft.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the do!!!


Bertie Biggles said...

23:53, the point is that it should not have been dumped there, even as a temporary measure. Expediency and flouting of the law in regard to SSIs by Local Authorities who have a duty to protect them is just utterly unacceptable.

17:44, thanks for that correction; IOTG will need to note. As far as Cllr Bruce is concerned, I should imagine he is as equally concerned as his wife regarding this matter.

Anonymous said...

Someone should prosecute the Council for illegal dumping and bring those reponsible to justise.