Hampshire in the top 10 for Renewable Enegy

green-alliance

Green Alliance has placed Hampshire among the top 10 English counties for producing renewable energy which is mostly solar as wind turbines were discouraged by Hampshire County Council some years ago.

Read the Green Alliance renewables league table

Dibden Bay

Older members will remember this as one of the most famous wins against a major company in Hampshire. In 2004 Associated British Ports (ABP) lost a planning appeal against a refusal to use 500 acres of the New Forest around Dibden Bay near Southampton to expand the docks. It followed an intensive campaign from a coalition of groups, including Friends of the Earth.

Associated British Ports spent almost £4m on the case and the opposition raised £100k from voluntary donations. Now the company looks set to return with a new application and the support of Philip Hammond MP, the new Chancellor. More info on the BBC News website

Markwells Wood

deep-forest

This is an area of rural woodland which is part of the South Downs National Park (SDNP) situated between East Marden and Rowlands Castle. Some years ago, Northern Petroleum operated an exploratory oil rig. It was decided to close the rig and make good the site.

It has since been acquired by UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) who lodged a planning application to reopen and expand the site over the next 20 years. Friends of the Earth has stepped in and helped to set up a campaign group called Markwells Wood Watch which oppose the application for a number of sound reasons familiar to Friends of the Earth activists and environmentalist everywhere.

Portsmouth Water is very concerned over the security of their aquifers and the potential exposure of accidental spillages of waste water laced with potentially toxic chemicals. The world already has more fossil fuels in the ground than we can safely burn so leave it in the ground.

For the latest news on Markwells wood watch Click Here. Havant Friends of the Earth has made representations to South Downs National Park Planning Authority.

Havant Local Plan

houses-being-built

In July of 2016 Havant Borough Council announced a new Local Development Plan to replace the one adopted only two years ago. A hastily prepared road show followed a public consultation (well those who had heard about it) were given six weeks to make comments on the 5000 dwellings. The new plan called for an addition to the 6300 already agreed only two years before making a combined total of 11300 up to the year 2036.

Why the hurry? Council official say that unless the current plan conforms to national policies, which in December it said it did, there was a serious risk of developers making applications to build on any green field, and if refused they would be successfully appealing against the decision. This is partly because a new planning policy launched in 2012 strengthens the hand of developers against local Councillors.

Our response criticised Havant Borough Council for their haste, we questioned some of assumptions on which the new housing numbers were based, expressed concern over the choice of green field sites and impact on local ecology and habitats, and highlighted the threat to protected land such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), The Ramsar Convention, the international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the district

The consultation has now closed and over 800 people have commented on it. An officers’ report will go to the council’s cabinet in November, and if approved, will go forward to a full council meeting in December for final acceptance.

Havant Friends of the Earth has joined with nine other local groups to become the Havant Borough Residents Alliance (HBRA) to coordinate a joint response during the various stages of plan making. Between them the groups it represents over 3000 members.

The steering group has since met senior planners (Sue Holt, who represented Friends of the Earth) and we are intending to present a case at the full council meeting in December. Getting our heads around the whole thing including reading through almost 40 megabytes of maps, charts, reports and data sets.