In a letter to Brett dated 28 May 2010 TDCs then Head of Major Developments, Doug Brown, states that the Ramsgate Port Harbourmaster had prepared a report for English Nature about Brett’s “batching plant proposal”. For the Harbourmaster to have produced such a report for English Nature seems very odd to me. Ramsgate Port is located in the middle of an extremely sensitive marine area which is protected by several different specialist designations. The port is adjacent to a site of special scientific interest (SSCI), it’s close to a special area of conservation (SAC) and a special protection area (SPA). The port also falls within a marine conservation area (MCA) and there is also a rare Ramsar designated area of coastline next to the port. Bearing in mind the complex and extremely technical nature of these special environmental protection designations I cannot believe that it was appropriate for Thanet Council to have delegated the task of writing a “report to English Nature with regard to the batching plant” to its Habourmaster.
The Ramsgate Port Habourmaster is not qualified in marine environmental science. It is my opinion that he is not competent to produce a report on the environmental impact of a concrete batching plant upon the protected marine habitats adjacent and close to the port. I’m astounded that Thanet Council’s then Head of Major Developments, Doug Brown, seemed happy to accept a report from an unqualified person as “confirmation of how environmental implications (relating to the Brett concrete batching plant) were addressed”. However, this is same Doug Brown who, after leaving TDC, teamed up with his former boss and ex-Director of TDC Planning, Brian White, to advise O’Regan’s on their unsuccessful application to set up a concrete block manufactory at Ramsgate Port.
The right thing to have done in 2010 would have been for Thanet Council and Kent County Council to have insisted that a proper independent environmental impact assessment of Brett’s concrete batching plant be carried out by a suitably qualified marine environment protection expert and that this report would have then been sent to English Nature for them to decide if Ramsgate port was a suitable location for an industrial operation such as this. KCC and TDC should also have insisted that such a report be produced at Brett’s expense, rather than what appears to have been a highly irregular and improper freebie from an unqualified council employee.
I will be contacting Thanet Council, KCC and English Nature to find out exactly what happened in 2010 because from where I’m standing it looks as though the existing operation may well be environmentally compromised, which will of course have implications for Bretts new proposals.