Cromwell Bottom

Cromwell Bottom

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Monday, 3 September 2018

Stakeholder Consultation Deep Excavation Cromwell Bottom LNR

F.E.ET. Freshwater Environment Ecology Trust






F.E.ET. Freshwater Environment Ecology Trustt Have operated on Cromwell Bottom  as a Phase 1 recording Site since circa 2000 and hold a substantial body of records . We are a principle stakeholder on the reserve and are concerned about the plans to excavate a former licenced fly ash site to which CBWG wish to undertake Deep Excavation

The Trust believes and are open to be proven wrong that a preconceived agenda is a foot which is not wholly in the interest of   Flora and Fauna of the site  and that a substantial level of collusion appears to be occurring to circumvent legitimate and professional concerns

Our view is solely driven on the basis of a full understanding of what Cromwell Bottom Contains and the ultimate protection of flora and fauna on the reserve

In its current form I do not believe Calderdale Council have fully engaged all Groups and a process of exclusion exists because the view is disliked because it runs contrary to amneinty development



CURRENT MANAGEMENT & MONITORRING  ISSUES

Serial 01/15


Consult 0142  

Site Cromwell Bottom LNR
Authority  Callderdale Metropolitan Council
Effective Stakeholders Active at the Locality

Owners

Calderdale Metropoloitan Council

Primary Contact

XXXXXXX   Calderdale Council , Lower Valley Countryside Officer
Trustees ( CBWG ) unspecified

Statutory


EA

CRT
Yorkshire Water
National Grid

Locally

FEET – Freshwater environment Ecology Trust

CBWG – Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group

Angling Clubs with Fishing Rights

Bradford No 1

Brighouse Anglers
Avocet

Owners of Agricultural Land in Proximity 

Water  Ski Lake

Ward Councillors

Map

Dear  XXXXX

Hope you are well . Thank you to both you and XXXX for   forwarding detaiI  of the project intention to which  I   write in  respect of Stakeholder Comment. For avoidance of doubt the +  Freshwater Environment Ecology Trust (F.E.ET ) which express a view  independent of the parties reflected contrary overlap of  membership  in both CBWG and HSSS  

+  Cromwell Bottom LNR is  Phase 1 Recording Site to which the FEET have undertaking records from circa 2000

Background

(i)                I highlight    the lateness  of   consultation to a Primary Stakeholder given the projected schedule on your co-joint project as lead officer
(ii)              The absence of visible  information in respect of Statutory Consultees as part of your Project Scheme and those other stakeholders that may be implicated by abstraction ( those with fishing rights) or in close proximity
(iii)            the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment should in the event the project substantially raise  and /or lowers water level , if only to develop a contingency with minimum harm to the ecology in the event of the project failing
(iv)            The absence, for avoidance of doubt ,  or lack of clarity on any boundary limits   of the project

(v)              The citation of support  or   input which is not based on (a) technical assessment on site , (b) is outdated , (c) lacks objective evidential support for the project (d)  in the case of entomological assessment a limited window of  one year or season being an exceptional year  . (e) No indication of quantifiable volumes needed to maintain the water body by means of abstraction and whether sustainable or not (f) no permeability estimates on the loss of subterranean   water into aquifers or passage through existing sub strata (g) Based on the creation of islets and the CEG estimate of 30 cm top soil coverage it would likely mean more fly ash would be excavated than can be reasonable disposed of  and is likely to be wind dispersed in hot dry seasons with potential respiratory implications based on particle size  (h) work undertaken by the HSS fails to take into consideration the potential overall impact as discussed below and FEET have received no copy of any Botanical or NVC Survey undertaken by any professional

(vi)            It is noted that one of the principle justifications for the project is aesthetics

I understand that you the Council, would seek to promote this project outside planning consideration and I understand from previous dialogue that you are of the belief that the Environment Agency have no objection to it and you have indicated there are no flood control issues that the agency are concerned about

I also made you aware of the Trusts Concerns    as lead officer  in the overall disregard to the councils own  policies and statutory obligations some of which previously misled the agency (EA) – below -and the general principles of consultation to date on CB LNR .

(i)                The draining of Leachate from the North Loop into the Calder which miraculously disappeared on the Day of the Agency Site Visit

(ii)              The planning application to which you as principle are  aware   is not extant for a CafĂ© on a Landfill Site and to which I believe the Agency were misled given its current use as such and promoted  reference to it as  a visitor centre  or cafe

Therefore , Robin , I feel it necessary , to make clear and detailed  record of concerns

In matter at hand , Without going into substantive detail they are some  grounds for  clarification briefly raised  

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Firstly (1A)   Lagoon 1    is 20 m from a major river is located in Flood Zone 3 and is designated as a Flood Holding area, which requires a Flood Risk Assessment, given the nature of work is excavation and / or in the interest of safety , that being the reserves current designated use as Public Open Space , It is likely in association with 1b increasing water displacement at this locality would contravene the Direction of Flood Control within the Local Authority. In effect if the area becomes a substantive water body ,  (unqualified ) the primary use of the land holding is impacted upon as a Flood Holding area for the reasons highlighted below.  Whilst these gravel pits have been historically filled  with PFA waste, I believe under licence ,  the term Lagoons  have been historically and inaccurately  used , and in the  current form relates to the seasonal accumulation of surface water on the PFA. The Flood Storage Area located  between Canal and River is a first line surge defence toward Brighouse before the low lying pasture at Lilands . Whilst the Flood Storage area is limited by the valley contour there remains significant infrastructure buildings and factory’s  within  its scope and contour level , that to include the infrastructure  pathways embankments and NG infrastructure in proximity

Firstly (1B) Displacement -  the promotion of large volumes of water on a flood plain catchment area would result in displacement of water further down the valley at peak flows (  The large number of KTonne Displacement  already   presented by the filling of the oxbows on the  CB Landfiill Loops and the run off from the Low Fields Loops coupled with the Substantive rapid run off from Peat Uplands and adjacent Steep  Southern Slopes locally opposite on  the Calder  are  self evident . The last Displacement study on the  Flood plain as I understand it is some years old  and certainly has increased since then )

Secondly in respect of raising water levels it is assumed that an abstraction licence would be one means of doing so and would be granted and it would be likely that the water would be removed from the River and / or Canal at low flow times during summer when water would be at a premium and important to fish populations ,  . I believe the Trust has made the Councils Biodiversity Officer aware of   invasive on site Crassula and it remains unclear what initiative the Local Authority is undertaken to limit it , given the runoff culverts back into the Calder and close proximity to The Calder & Hebble Navigation . Due regard should be applied to the Type or Terms  of  abstraction licence Water Resources Act 1991 (WRA 1991   and in respect to any practical implication of the of licence type granted , if granted in terms of   simply filling the structure

I acknowledge your view to limiting spread of Pygmy weed  and caution on any contradiction in respect of creating any additional run out in respect of its spread given the mention of irrigating the Eastern and Western Woodlands

Thirdly , in balance the natural ecological succession has given rise to more productive biodiversity than what the impact or ingress  to  Willow Wetland and wet woodland would yield based on any  impact  on the component mosaic   known as Lagoon 2 . In the management of this reserve and its uniqueness is dependent on retained Habitat Mosaics . The evidence based geophysical  benefit of wet woodland at this site has been given separate  in 8b below

It would appear that we are not in variance with the value of both woodlands East and West assuming the project is kept within clearly defined bounds and that the value of Lagoon 1 as one of the component matrix is noted as having value , if not perhaps overstated. It is unlikely or unclear that PH and DO levels from a static Rain filled water body  would support   Fish populations. The Ornithological Value of the Reed Bed  in terms of species diversity should be graded on the Number of RDB Scarce or BAP Promoted species to which again there is no guarantee that any given species is likely to established or for that matter is established  . There is also no guarantee in the quality of water abstracted from the Calder or Canal in terms of industrial discharges  or any breeches  , to which abstraction would possibly accumulate on site

Fourthly it is not the  intention present a full   Hydological assessment at this time  but it is necessary to consider factors relevant to an  EIA   The site    Lagoon 1 is located parallel  to a river  gradient on terrain with an aquifer What is keeping water in the lagoon at the moment is  PFA. If layers of PFA are removed it is likely  any water displaced into it will in any case permeate substrata    and have a tendency to drop to the level of the River bed  still permeating at the same or enhanced rate   .It is unclear to what area and extent is meant by deep excavation,   In the event of attempting a deep excavation ( unqualified ? )   what may  likely happen is that water levels in the  gravel pit would likely drop  to the level of the river causing collapse of soil structure and embankments or drop to the level of any  adjusted displacement and altered permeability to the aquifer  again no one can be   precise in regard to any model , but the net result would be to effectively promote the draining of the lagoon which historically JBL report the habitat to be  shallow marsh NVC Type prior to any intervention.  

There is no guarantee or evidence  that the projected intervention  would technically raise and hold water levels on this site if it proceded. Trustess ( CBWLG ) therefore should with due diligence consider the spending of monies in respect of cost benefit and whether or not more practical achievable works on the reserve could be undertaken


Fifthly .The Trust assert with due diligence  in terms of excavating PFA due regard should be given to any Heavy Metal Toxicity or other Compounds likely to impact within the environment which accompanies the burning of coal and the subsequent disposal of fly ash, particularly in respect to the proximity of the water Course and any fish or amphibia populations   I am not sure that any one has assessment in respect of this chemistry and I have seen no objective advice discussion or evidence on PFA management from Prof Vann since he has been cited in the project outline document.. The PFA has been largely contained beneath a top layer which at the time of its dispersal ranged between 1 – 11/2 ft and has likely increased in depth over the 30 year period of revegatation and has been subject to a long time period of dilute and disperse  and is unlikely to have adverse effect , but it is no ones legacy to assume . In terms of the chemistry of Fly Ash findings are likely reflective of the coal type burnt at the CEG facility at that time , which I am certain no one has gave consideration to in any implied EIA and records  long since lost or unkept . On the basis of common sense the overall colour of Fly Ash across the site is pale Grey indicating a low Carbon burn



Sixthly , I would ask full council to be aware of the obligations under flood plain control  and any extant policy UDP , Legal or Otherwise  in the light of devasting floods in Calderdale recently and I would be minded to guide  Council on legislation relating Water Framework Directive 2000 and to  Owners of Riparian Land and , were recent legal Precedent has resulted in adjacent property owners claiming damages from any acts of Riparian Land Owner Activity Upstream. I am minded to comment on the increased consequences of displacement  which the addition of   water bodies planned existing or otherwise would create cummulately  ( I draw to your attention the Water Ski Lake , Ashgrove basin development etc. I also minded to advise Trustees of CBWG that vicariously there could potentially be a shared liability which would have implications on each named Trustee ( I would advise to seek their own legal advice on liability)

In matters of practical law it is unclear if the Council own Title to the River and there are complex legal concerns to those with extant fishing rights whom in the event of abstraction should be fully consulted

Seven  The crude bunds to the West and East of the existing standing water known as Lagoon 1 are simple crude embankments never stucturallyl intended to separate or contain large bodies of water  . There is clear concern in regard to any breach  due any additional hydrostatic pressure brought about by deepening and introducing of further water . Such bunds were placed solely to separate the amorphous PFA and would  not be structurally sound . Point 4 is reiterated that any alteration in water level resulting in soil or  Bund collapse particularly by erosion on the Southern Boundary adjacent to the Calder would transgress back toward the river giving rise to a potential bank issue or breach to the course of  the Calder . In conclusion the extent of of Earth Movement , required stabilising to make safe any parties to boundaries described given the reserve to be open space would have to be substantial and bordering on a major engineering project and in the absence of it could potentially end up as a cluster

Eight As noted in your communication the Biodiversity Value of Wet Woodland and Woodland which seasonally floods  is acknowledged -  FEET would seek to have this ecological succession preserved for a number of sound reasons (not for publication)  . The Trust would therefore seek to clearly qualify the operational area of the project and whether there is any intention to enlarge or expand the area of Lagoon1 which would ingress into these habitats East and West

The Woodland to the East of this demarcation contains Nationally Scarce Plants . such as Round Leaved Wintergreen and Twayblade  and a bund collapse could potentially impact on their presence

It is also unclear in respect of the  Cost and Source of the Funding required to undertake this work which you imply deep excavation on Council Land Managed as POS Public Open Space. It is also unclear if the Councils policy on tendering for this work has been adhered to given the collaborative nature of the project. It is also unclear from your submission what caveats relate to the  original Permit or Licence associated with the site .The document provided does not indicate the intended area of work, with specific reference to Clearance of any Ecological Sucession , ie to what boundaries are you applying this project too ? with particular clarity on any potential transgression on the Western Side Lagoon

Nine  I have now been made  aware of the Entomological Report as of 22 August 2018 ,  and to  which has not been widely circulated to  all stake Holder Groups . 

Such a report was commissioned by the Authority . It is unclear precisely what the brief was for the report,  and such a report points out that the management of habitat is the responsibility of the Client. Nevertheless , it does appear to be bias led to a particular client brief. In the assessment of Brookfoot we ourselves have had difficulty revisiting and locating original stands of Bryophyte in the Spagnum Area as a result of the very considerable surface disruption in the flood year. 

It is therefore important that any project implications are guided by full consultation by the many potential stakeholders that would be impacted upon

I therefore critique these finding . 

RW Report May – August 2017

CB undergoes substantial seasonal variance in water levels  with levels also at further variance within the specific habitat Mosaics. Early Sping levels give rise to ground conditions and shallow water temperatures crucial for Invertebrates such as  Amphibia and the generation of early spring diptera – syrrphiddae  and hymenoptera such as Solitary Wasps which are often vital food  for the wider small bird populations at critical breeding times and important pollinators in the overall ecological chain  ( EG Returning Migratory species such as Willow Warbler. The large variation in diurnal and annual temperature ranges experiences on the shallow sub layers of PFA  means the reserve is inherently prone to conditions were ground moisture is substantially or rapidly lost.  ( Hannah PH DO and Conductivity Meter Monitoring ) The importance of  relatively high humidity retained under the tree canopy at lower vegetative or ground layers ensures invertebrate breeding populations are maintained . The importance of transitional woodland therefore can not be over emphasised for any number of reasons . I would also assert and alert that the conventional methods of NVC habitat management do not necessarily readily lend to the very fragile and unconventional sub soils or infils

It is noted that prior to intervention by CBWG around the boundary area of Pixie Wood removal of patchy tree canopy substantially dried off much of the peripheral wet areas  contributing to some of the rarer Bryophytes recorded and found in the that location . Further implications are discussed below ( Lessons Learned)

In the main the report relies upon historical data reporting and Biodiversity Records Historically , some of which began before any man made interventions. And indeed as indicated by MD himself when the site was very much in its natural state as a river valley  FEET has a substantial licenced data base of Taxa over a 19 year longitudinal study on this Phase 1 recording site including a follow up study on how many of MD original Coleoptera  records have persisted on the site currently. It appears FEET as a  Stakeholder Organisation has been substantially overlooked . Whilst the report makes a valuable addition to the total number of taxa over time and in particular species that require detailed study or methodology ( Gen Det , or other differential interventions in identification) It is only valid for a specific window in time  July – August 2017 and for a limited part of the reserve without due regard to linkages and Biological Corridors  many of which have been identified by FEET records ,studies and observations   (Eg   Translocation Studies on Wing Marked Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina )  . From our records Aglaesto alni has been present  for some time at CB LNR in number throughout

Original reporting By FEET in  respect of Nationally Scarce species of wet or decaying woodland were made clear to the local authority whose  management interventions to clear , remove and stack decaying wood from associated and valuable ecological habit .  RW report reflects the overall principle that within the habitat Mosaics there is substantial biodiversity that remains to be recorded or in the alternative is difficult to record due to the expertise required in keying differential identifications. The report for its reasons given has not addressed the full range of species associated with decaying wood of woodland margins EG Craneflies nor for that matter the extensive list of Caddis on across and around the reserve

It is noted that the Ecological Report even in the absence of ALL records accords substantial weight to the importance of the Unique Invertebrate Asssemblages associated with the current NVC Mosaics and indeed our  Mapmate output shows clear figures for total numbers of Taxa on each mosaic type  RW work reflects post completion monitoring in regard to the impact of the work on the Invertebrate Assemblages and by implication does not guarantee that the project will in fact protect  or strengthen the importance of invertebrates on site .  ( Particularly relevant are Lepidoptera associated currently with the existing sub surface reed bed -  Wainscotts etc ). That coupled with our own view to the Hydrology , Aquifer Contour and Gradient in respect of whether water can be held , aside from other issues such as sustained Water Levels ,Flow, Ph Changes in  Standing Water , and the Quality of Water Abstracted and any issue of introducing contaminants into standing water etc lead us to be concerned . RW report is based on   assertion without evidence that rewetting the woodlands or filling an excavated pit is possible

The options for CB LNR to be managed  in terms of component mosaics are manifest but should in accordance to its LNR status have due regard for species richness balanced with overall impact on uncommon , Scarce Nationally Scarce or other RDB species . FEET has raised the  profile and benefit  of the sucession habitat before with the Councils Biodiversity Officer  FEET  historically pointed out to the Local Authority the importance of various linkage corridors or interventions that would promote movement of biodiversity around the reserve . In RW work limitations are  made clear in respect of looking at this one section or part mosaic  and its wider   interpretation
In the study   management  of CB  unique Habitat Mosaics the precept that the NVC Types  are typically  managed or conform to conventional measures often overlooks the fragility of the substantive man made interventions  sub soils excavations infills and land fills present on the site   do not necessarily  conform to convention



Whilst RW work is a well presented and carefully balanced piece of work which contributes to the Biological Records on Site it is driven by hypothetical considerations centred around its limitations  which could potentially be misinterpreted   Taken in context with the    Councils view to managing the reserve as a Countryside Park precipitates a number of conflict of interests. In the assessment of Brookfoot we ourselves have had difficulty rebisitting and locating original stands of Bryophyte in the Spagnum Area as a result of the very considerable surface disruption in the flood year

Lessons Learned

1.     In respect of studies undertaken  2 weeks post flood event in the Spagnum and Area Abridging Pixie wood it can seen that the fluid dynanics of the River caused a significant Back wash as flood waters approached Brookfoot . In that study it was clear that amorphous water channels created in the PFA directed water  back upstream uprooting trees and lying them contra to the flow the river . It was evident at the boundary of Pixie wood were willow and other trees had been removed that the lack of tree roots which otherwise contributed to the breaking and flow dispersal  are important agents at play in the flood wash plane which will play an active role in allaying and dispersing any flood torrent prior reaching Lilands or Brighouse. The GeoPhysical benefit of Wet woodland and Woodland West and East aside to Ecological value is not fully appreciated
F   



Fly Ash on Spagnum Bog Post Flood 2015



I   In respect of Crassula  recording as reported by FEET is present at a number of locations  one  in close proxity to the small bridge on the Eastern Bund . It was evident at the time of monitoring this species that  an “ Islet “ management reed cut strategy might be more effective than a “channel “approach for the following reason
(a)  The linear spread and progression of Crassula appears to be somewhat slowed or reduced  by any circular reed cut foot print resulting in some degree of containment and localisation  – not a n exact science
(b)  Circular pools clearances break the line of sight of any dogs inclined to chase water fowl and creates localised niches


Conclusion

At this juncture XXXXX, it is difficult to make an informed opinion as to whether we would object wholly to this project , in the absence of   facts and without the input and views of the Statutory Undertakers ,In the main , for the reasons discussed , we would not object to the general maintenance  of work on the “ Reedbed “ in its current form but would need assurance that  the Wet Woodlands to the East and West would not be impacted on , particularly by any structural or breech of alteration of the very crude earth embankments in situ which were not intended for the purpose of holding water that you would seek to introduce. I also sincerely take the view , given no technical insight or guarantee that the project could potentially raise water levels effectively , that  our assessment  Consultation should go some way in informing Trustees CBWLG  , as to whether monies spent , in this project would achieve a cost effective outcome

In the presentation of this view  the Trust at all times place paramount the welfare and well of flora and fauna and the integrity of the ecosystem is the Trusts primary concern not a desire or bias in the ecological chain for aesthetics or other human intervention

That Said would   support the current management of Lagoon 1 in its present form but for the reasons set ot would oppose any deep excavations or alteration for the reasons presented herein

I am sorry that this view or approach may not please all  but as I am sure you appreciate as chair  of an organisation that would endorse any impact or consequence of Freshwater , I must operate with enhanced diligence and as always an independent view that represents the Calder and Biodiversity associated with it and CB LNR. Whilst  FEET  share the commitment and enthusiasm of CBWG in making it a better place and as  accorded by our own Trust , a profound desire to see improvement , CBWG have on a number of occasions deviated from their articles of association , principly the extension of reserve by registering North Loop as a Local Nature Reserve with Natural England and appear to have  adopted a process of not  engageing  of other stakeholders  contrary to the direction of their Current Articles. ( Although I note and Thank XXXXXX in regard to her communication on behalf of that working group ) I can find no reason as to why the Council would not register North Loop as a Nature Reserve with a view to managing it as such .

Whilst not at this stage in full position of all the facts , including that of the EA Environment Agencies Appraisal  I think it necessary to ensure a full consultation is met . I am unclear to whom the Council have been speaking to within the various agencies or whether the project only been looked at solely from the perspective of sustainable places alone

I remain 




cb line sketch


                Cromwell Bottom



Monday, 28 May 2018

Cromwell Bottom LNR - 0152 Cauchas rufimitrella ABH 7.010

Sun 27th May 2018

This small micro a Longhorn with rufous head was found nectarring on Garlic Mustard by the Calder . The larvae feed within the seed pods .

It shouldnt be confused with the smaller Micropterix calthella ( also with a red head but shorter antennae  ) usually found on buttercup which has mouth parts capable of taking pollen


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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Spring Sitings April 2017

Common About



Nursery Web Spider


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Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna


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Barren Strawberry


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Greater Woodrush   Luzula sylvatica



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