The planning permissions for the Cornelly Group of Quarries were subject to review under the provisions of the Environment Act 1995 (ROMP). They were called in by the National Assembly for Wales (NAW) due to the potential impacts of further working of the quarries; the regulators had particular concern about the potential for dewatering to affect Kenfig Pool and Dunes SSSI (a Special Area of Conservation under the Habitats Directive).
In 2000 the NAW requested Environmental Statements to assist in the determination of the ROMP submissions. Tarmac appointed ESI to carry out a hydrogeological investigation and impact assessment for the quarries. The work involved field investigations (construction of 20 new monitoring boreholes and borehole and surface geophysics), monitoring (level, flow and quality), tracer tests, data review and analysis, development of a conceptual model and preparation of the Environmental Statement.
Negotiation and technical discussion with the regulators (CCW, the Environment Agency, the Borough Council and the NAW) is a central part of the assessment due to the complexity of the local hydrogeology and the potential degree of uncertainty in any predictions that can be made. The work has been carried out in a phased manner to allow results from the early stages to be circulated to all parties and the scope for later phases to be adjusted in the light of these findings. Work has progressed through the EIA stage and is now focussed around future water management at the site.
ESI works regularly for clients in the extractive industry to assess the potential impacts of quarry operations and to design appropriate mitigation.