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Planning inquiry proposed for Longue Hougue extension

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Friday 28 February 2020

The States is being asked for the go ahead to begin the planning process that could pave the way for an extension to the Longue Hougue land reclamation site.

The current site is used to manage 'inert' waste material from construction and demolition projects, such as rubble, stone and earth. It is expected to be full in around three years. 

The search for a follow-on site looked at 50 potential solutions, and identified further development at Longue Hougue as the best option. It would involve constructing a new breakwater, extending the reclamation site southward by around 500 metres. It would link to the shore at Spur Point, enclosing an area that could be infilled with inert waste. This could be available for use in 2024, and have estimated capacity for 15 years' infilling.

A comprehensive study of the potential environmental impacts has been carried out, and the findings were published last November. Where significant adverse effects were identified, mitigation measures have also been proposed to remove or lessen the impact.

A joint policy letter from the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure and States' Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) is now seeking approval to begin the planning process.  That will include a planning inquiry, headed by an independent inspector, which is required before any proposed development can be considered.  That would provide an opportunity for all parties to put forward representations or raise any objections. 

However the new site, known as 'Longue Hougue South', would only be one element of an overall strategy for managing construction waste, which States Members are also being asked to approve.  That will encourage measures to reduce and recycle of materials. 

Guernsey Waste has already awarded a contract to a local company to recover and recycle inert material at Longue Hougue, for reuse in other projects. The Development & Planning Authority is also working with the construction industry on implementing waste management plans for major developments.  These encourage material to be recycled within a building project.

These measures would extend the life of the current site and any future inert waste facility. However there will still be a long term requirement to dispose of some material from the local construction industry, as a large proportion is unsuitable for reuse. 

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Longue Hougue South comprised more than a dozen in-depth studies, carried out over 18 months. They included coastal and marine processes; traffic; air quality; noise and vibration; archaeology; human health; landscape and visual effects; and marine and terrestrial ecology.

The EIA concluded that the most significant effects would be the negative visual impact in the immediate vicinity of the development, due to the loss of the current coastal area. Further away, there would be a moderate adverse impact on the visual landscape, but suitable planting would alleviate this. 

With appropriate mitigation, any impacts on traffic, noise, population, water quality, archaeology and cultural heritage, and ecology and wildlife would, at worst, be minor.

The shingle foreshore adjacent to Spur Point, which would be lost in any development, has been identified as a habitat for a rare insect known as the scaly cricket. However surveys found similar populations in at least 11 other sites around Guernsey.

An unusual rock formation, termed as the 'layered' St Peter Port Gabbro, would also be buried by any new inert waste facility. The study proposes sections could be excavated and placed along the boundary of the site, so it can continue to be studied. 

The development would also have some positive impacts, such as reduced flood risk and improved coastal defence.

Members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions at a public drop-in at Beau Sejour on Friday 6 March (12.30pm to 7pm) and Saturday 7 March (9am to 4pm).

The full EIA report and non-technical summary can be accessed at www.gov.gg/inertwaste

STSB is also now carrying out an EIA on a potential land reclamation project to the east of the QE2 Marina at St Peter Port Harbour. That is part of a separate programme, looking at long term harbour requirements and possible port development. 

Some inert waste material might be suitable for use in such a project, but it is not considered a long term solution.

That programme is also considering whether freight operations could be relocated away from St Peter Port Harbour, to free up space in the centre of Town for other uses.

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