Carcase Burial Site, Petrockstowe

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Mr John Burnett Mr John Burnett Liberal Democrat, Torridge and West Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will state, in relation to the carcase burial site at Ash Moor, Petrockstowe, (a) what the level of the water table is below the surface of the land and (b) whether a microbiological study has been conducted into the use of the land for the burial of animal carcases; if she will publish the environmental impact and risk assessments for the site and list the recommendations they made; which legal requirements were complied with before construction of the site started; what has been (i) the cost of work to date and (ii) the continuing cost of upkeep; what additional cost will be incurred if the site is brought into use for the burial of animal carcases; and if she will make a statement. [R]

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 29 October 2001

In relation to the burial site at Ash Moor, Petrockstowe:

(a) The level of the water table is 1.3, to 3.5 m below ground level.

(b) No. A microbiological study is not necessary as the only vectors for micro-organisms to travel from burial into the environment are in the leachate or gas. The environmental assessment describes how these vectors will be controlled.

The environmental statement will be published after local consultation. The document is currently in draft format and is being finalised prior to local consultation.

Prior to construction an Environment Agency risk assessment (available from the Public register at Exminster House, Miller Way, Exminster, EX6 8AS) was completed on 11 April 2001. EA authorisation under regulation 18(3)(a) of the Groundwater Regulations 1998 was granted on 12 April 2001. (Construction at Ash Moor started on 20 April 2001).

(i) £5.6 million is the cost of the work to date but this figure is subject to confirmation as negotiations are on-going with one of the contractors.

(ii) £20,000 per week is the continuing cost of upkeep.

If the site is brought into use for the burial of animal carcases the one off cost for one cell would be approximately £350,000. If three cells were used the cost rises to approximately £670,000 and if all cells were used the cost would be approximately £1,550,000. On top of this, there would be costs for odour controls, long-term maintenance and monitoring and testing. These are expected to be approximately £350,000-£400,000 per annum irrespective of the number of cells used. Such costs would fall after four or five years.

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