Action group Cornwall Against Dean Superquarry (CADS) are very surprised and disappointed that The Hendry Review fails to include the contentious and environmentally significant issue of sourcing the rock from Dean Quarry on the Lizard Peninsula to build the tidal lagoons. Evidence was submitted from multiple sources to substantiate CADSʼ views, yet Charles Hendry skims over these concerns which are integral to the tidal lagoons.

The Hendry Review makes little mention of construction challenges apart from brief references to caisson construction and decommissioning, yet rock armour is regarded as an essential building component of the proposed tidal lagoons. Shire Oak Quarries website states that the Swansea Bay alone will require 5m tonnes of armour rock and aggregate for its six-mile-long retaining wall. For a 14-mile wall required for Cardiff to Newport, probably extending into deeper water and greater tidal difference, one might conclude that over 15m tonnes of rock armour and aggregate will be needed for a larger lagoon of the size envisaged there.

Most major infrastructure projects simply assume that the materials to build them are available from contractors who will have done due diligence regarding environmental acceptability. No tidal lagoon should be an exception.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TLSB) and also CEO of Shire Oak Quarries (SOQ), has detailed plans to build a huge breakwater and jetties at Dean Quarry seaward into the Manacles Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), which was designated in late 2013, amongst the first tranche of the UKʼs MCZs. These structures are essential if the rock to build Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay and the series of other proposed tidal lagoons is to be sourced from Dean Quarry.

If the Manacles MCZ is breached by Shire Oak Quarriesʼ proposed development, it will suffer long-term environmental damage. As a test case for all MCZs, this will bode ill for all our current and proposed MCZs.

Not only is Dean Quarry located next to the Manacles MCZ, itʼs within Cornwallʼs largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI), and adjacent to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Nature Reserve (NNR).

The Southwest Coast Path which runs alongside Dean Quarry will be severely compromised by Shire Oak Quarriesʼ proposed re-opening, which will involve the quarrying, loading and launching of millions of tonnes of rock into 10,000 tonne barges, an operation estimated at 13 times the size of the existing quarry which ceased to operate in 2005.

The environmental impact of extracting the tonnage of rock required to build any tidal lagoon could be as great as the construction of the lagoon itself. So all the impact assessment efforts that are focussed on the lagoon now should equally be directed at the more ethical and sustainable alternatives for sourcing the stone. In other words the two aspects – quarry source and lagoon construction – should be evaluated as one single major infrastructure project with the overall aim of providing sustainable solutions for both the locations involved and in the best interests of the country.

It is essential in any energy project to account for the carbon budget and the carbon footprint of the development when evaluating the benefit of generating renewable energy. Since the supply of stone is such a significant factor in the construction of tidal lagoons, equal weight needs to be directed when evaluating both the quarry and the lagoon, and the outcome assessed as a whole, in terms of sustainability. The rock is available from other more sustainable sources, therefore the construction of tidal lagoons does not depend on rock from Dean Quarry.

CADS supplied evidence to Charles Hendry to inform the government that sourcing rock from Dean Quarry is a risky option. As the test case for major industrialisation within a newly appointed MCZ this will be fiercely contested, and a very public affair. CADS asked Charles Hendry to carefully consider the issue of sourcing rock to build tidal lagoons and assess the associated environmental impacts it would have. Sustainably sourcing the quantities of rock needed to build any number of tidal lagoons is going to be a multifaceted challenge.These points were stressed to Charles Hendry, yet fail to appear in his report.

CADS firmly believe that the government should not be looking to industrialise an area that is creating a sustainable future based on the quality of its environment. Long-term local employment in thriving businesses put at risk by the re-opening and supersizing of Dean Quarry far, far outnumber the short-term jobs on offer at Dean Quarry. The green credentials of the lagoons will be blighted if they wreak environmental and economic havoc elsewhere.
CADS urge the government to acknowledge its concerns that sourcing rock from Dean Quarry is not sustainable. CADS believe that institutional investors will rapidly cool off re- investing if their business ethics are put to the test.

CADS believe the government should include TLSB in a National Policy Statement, NOT exclude it (as recommended by Charles Hendry). To make such an exemption puts the developer before the environment.

CADS further insist the government ask institutional investors and the board of directors of TLSB to demonstrate commercial transparency regarding the issue of the CEO of SOQ being allowed to sell himself rock for a project subsidised by the taxpayer. CADS challenge Charles Hendryʼs opinion that this commercial arrangement is acceptable, when one individual is set to make such personal gain at taxpayersʼ expense.

CADS support renewable energy but not at any cost to the environment. It is essential that green energy means green energy from start to finish and that every component of every tidal lagoon be ethically sourced.