Sorry to be so slow, I was hoping for a full confirmation before writing.
The decision was made that the SE Water pipeline would take the route along the valley bottoms through Knole Park. There was an exhibition in September 2019. It wasn’t clear from the displays, but the pipeline isto be laid by horizontal drilling, rather than by cutting a trench all the way through the Park.
SE Water got in touch. I provided them with a load of information about the Park. They suggested a site meeting, and we had that in January this year.
There will be just 5 short trenches for the drilling operation, good care will be taken of the turf & it will be restored. I have more info, but don't know dates.
To: South East Water
Keep Knole Park Special, Put The Pipeline Outside
Please keep your new pipeline out of Knole Park. Take one of the other routes and avoid further damage to the beautiful landscape in this Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Why is this important?
Sevenoaks needs a new water pipeline. South East Water have proposed four possible routes. Two of these go through Knole Park. These are the cheap and easy options for South East Water, but will damage the Park. Knole Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where thousands of people come throughout the year to enjoy the peace, the views and the special flora and fauna. All of these will be permanently harmed by the proposed routes.
As Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” If you want to keep Knole Park special, please sign this petition.
- There is already a South East Water pipe in the Park. The scars it has made are clearly visible, with stony subsoil exposed and still bare of grass years after it was laid.
- South East Water say that they will not damage the features of the Park that make it an SSSI. The acid grassland* itself is one of the most important features, and is very slow to heal after damage.
- Some of the proposed pipe is close to the existing one, which will cause a wider strip of damage to the grass. Where they run in the Gallops they are sited apart so there will be a fresh area of damage.
- New concrete manholes and inspection points will be permanently on the surface, those for the existing pipe are very obvious.
- South East Water’s preferred route cuts through very significant archaeological features and they have allowed no time for investigation. The test drilling is in an area where it may destroy further archaeology, again there is no allowance for investigation before drilling.
- After it is laid, access to the pipeline for inspection, maintenance and repair will be a problem. South East Water’s contractors have vehicles equipped for pipelines laid in roads, not fragile grassland.
*Acid grassland is a very rare landscape in which the high acidity means that grass will barely grow. Over centuries, wildlife, flora and fungi develop which cannot survive in fertile areas amongst long grass. At the last survey Kent had lost more and only had 512 hectares. Some counties have none. By far the largest area of acid grassland in Kent is in Knole Park.