There has to be, before RAF Coltishall can be returned to agriculture as Council owned tenant farms, and the runway dug up for hard core for the proposed NDR, an Environmental Risk Assessment carried out. Let’s not forget that the reason why the JCS was found to be unlawful was the fact that the GNDP did not carry out a full Sustainability Environmental Assessment for all of the alternatives to their preferred option of the North East growth Triangle.
Well, there has been a risk assessment carried out, even though Councillor Cliff Jordan denied, on BBC Radio last week, all knowledge of it.
This assessment states that agricultural use is seen as acceptable, IF leaving the runway and drainage intact, i.e. surface grazing by sheep or cattle, as at present. Therefore it is not viable to dig up the hard surfaces to provide hard core for the NDR as well as use the land for agriculture.
If they do decide to dig it up and commence the removal of 2,225 metres x 40 metres of a 60 year old runway concrete/drainage, including the cross base fuel pipe, known to contain fuel oil, plus any amount of near surface electric wiring, cabling, gas mains, telephone wiring and ducts, water conduits, you name it, it is the belief of professionals that the Environment Agency (EA) will insist on further exhaustive tests.
There is also reference to Un-Exploded Bombs (UXB’s) and radiation risks. Once the process of grubbing out and digging up commences, there will be no turning back, because the entire process will then need to be completed in full. The Council will get itself deep into controlling hazardous waste disposal. This may not be the concrete itself, but the risk attaching to the soil beneath. It may be that simply back filling with 1-4metres of imported soil (from the NDR) may satisfy the EA following detailed science based risk assessments, but even this cannot be relied upon, judging from the impression gained from the EA when last spoken too.
Once again a half-baked scheme, not thought through properly and likely to be unlawful and a lot more expensive then at first thought. Sounds like the Joint Core Strategy all over again.