Response 443686190

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Seeking your views

4. Please provide your comments on the environmental permit application received from Day Group Limited

Please provide your comments on the environmental permit application received from Day Group Limited (Required)
Thank you for consulting us on this permit application. After careful consideration, we have the following comments which are the consolidated comments of the City Council: Background Whilst the site is the subject of a Certificate of Lawfulness (14/00824/CP) issued on 2nd March 2014, the development currently being carried out on the site is being investigated by the Council’s Planning Enforcement Team to establish whether the development is compliant with the issued Certificate or any other permitted development rights. We understand that because the proposed process cannot meet the requirements of relevant standard rules, due to the site being in close proximity to sensitive residential uses, a bespoke permit is necessary. As such the consideration of ability to ensure that the risk of pollution from the activity will be prevented or minimised and demonstrate they are applying best available techniques and appropriate measures when doing so is critical and needs very careful examination. This is particularly the case with this application as planning permission for the development does not exist (the operators appear to be relying on the Certificate of Lawfulness issued in 2014) and there are no conditions that restrict the use under planning legislation. Therefore there is a very serious risk of inadequate regulatory control should the activity not be suitably restricted with either refusal of this permit application or very stringent conditions which protect the amenity of local residents and are clearly able to be enforced. Throughout Avonmouth there is widespread public concern regarding nuisance issues generally, including that from activities that have taken place at the Port which, in this instance is in close proximity to residential properties. The application site has indeed been a source of justified complaints in the past. It is important to do all that is possible to protect residents from further detriment. This history and sensitivity of the site gives rise to significant concern regarding the ability to operate such a facility at this site. Noise The application documents state that the IBA storage building will need to be available at any time, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week to accept and place raw IBA. The recycling facility is said to be constrained to the hours of 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday and 07:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. The EA application briefing note explained that hours of operation cannot be considered. If this is the case and there are no effective conditions able to be applied then a level of operational activity could be carried out at any time at all, irrespective of the impact on local residents. The submitted acoustic report has only concentrated efforts to demonstrate compliance with a noise value in the daytime and therefore the potential impact at night has not been reported in enough detail to allow assessment. The report bases its methodology and mitigation on achieving a design criteria level for noise. This is said to have been agreed between the applicant and the EA but we cannot see that the EA actually agreed to anything other than the use of BS4142 methodology in principle and did not provide a level to be achieved. The design level used is for the Rating Level to be lower than 5dBA over the Background noise level as determined by BS4142:2014. BS4142:2014 specifically advises that a difference of around 5dBA is likely to indicate an adverse impact and that the lower the level with respect to the background sound level, the less likely it is that the specific sound source will have an adverse impact. This should be compared to the situation where Bristol City Council, if it had the opportunity to attach planning conditions, would require more stringent criteria. A Rating noise level of at least 5dBA below the Background level is common. A further, more stringent design value and limit would be needed at night. The term adverse impact is likely to stem from the Noise Policy England Statement which aims through the effective management and control of environmental, neighbour and neighbourhood noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development to: i) avoid significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life; ii) mitigate and minimise adverse impacts on health and quality of life; and iii) where possible, contribute to the improvement of health and quality of life. iv) where possible, contribute to the improvement of health and quality of life. Therefore as adverse impacts need mitigating and minimising, the design value of 5dB over Background criteria (a value accepted by BS4142 as likely to indicate adverse impact), is considered to be unacceptable. There is a clear need for suitable noise limits to protect residents, day and night, as part of any permit and at this time we are very concerned that the information provided does not demonstrate there was a suitable design criteria or achievable noise limit. A BS4142 assessment has only been explained for the daytime for one property at Richmond Terrace where the assessment indicates +1dB over Background up to +4dB if mitigation tolerance is taken to be the worst case. The difference between the Rating Level and Background noise (assessment value/design criteria here) depends on three factors being correct i) the Specific noise level ii) the Rating applied and iii) the Background noise level. In turn: The Specific noise level is calculated. This is likely to have done with diligence however it is only a prediction and therefore subject to tolerance or potential inaccuracy. The Rating applied is also assumed (+3dB to account for impulsivity) and little information is provided to rule out whether this figure should be higher or if other Ratings may need to be added when considered in reality. The Background noise level has only been assessed at three similar positions and have not covered the times of operation i.e. the earliest being 09:27hrs but the operation is intended to start at 07:00hrs. The Background may be lower at that time. Other than late evening there is no Background measurements made when levels are likely to be very low i.e. 00:00-05:00hrs but when there will be a level of operation at the site. Importantly it would appear that Background noise monitoring has not taken place at King St, the closest sensitive use. King Street is less likely to be affected by traffic noise reported during the background readings and therefore lower than reported. A BS4142 prediction has not been reported in full for King St. Verification of noise levels is suggested in the supporting information but this needs further clarification and potentially adjustment to consider the above comments. With the information currently provided we do not believe that reasonable judgement can be made of the suitability of issuing a permit, conditions or therefore the ability to adequately enforce these should problems arise. Dust Dust deposition monitoring is currently taking place throughout Avonmouth due to existing concerns of potential nuisance. If a permit were to be granted, we require that the operator undertakes regular quantitative dust monitoring at least in the first months of operation and when requested by the EA. We would suggest that any dust deposition monitoring includes directivity and where necessary be required to be subject to as detailed compositional analysis as possible. We also require that such dust monitoring is undertaken prior to the operation of the site so as to provide a baseline. The only commitment to dust monitoring in the consultation document at 5.12 is conditional on problems being reported by the EA and where it is considered necessary. We would suggest that this commitment is unacceptably weak, subject to interpretation, and not fit for purpose. Odour We note that odour and control are minimal and are considered to be low risk by the applicant. We however, require robust and enforceable conditions on this matter in order to protect nearby residents. Land Contamination If they were following best practice, the applicants would have approached us for comment on this issue prior to the construction of the facility. The UXO risk assessment has identified potential issues, we spoke to the company a few months back and they confirmed they have taken the necessary precautions during the high risk piling phase. We can only comment on the current state of the land and how the proposed permit will prevent further pollution of the land itself. In theory the conditions of the permit should prevent contamination of the site soils/groundwater. If any contamination is caused it has to be remediated following surrender of the permit. When the permit is surrendered this document will be used as the baseline report when considering what contamination has been caused by the processes and the site condition it should be returned to (as a minimum). Generally recommendations for the protection of land and groundwater come from within the Environment Agency when it is an EA regulated permit. The report submitted was produced in April 2016. Whilst we were contacted about the Part 2A status of the site, we are very concerned that the authors did not approach us for a more detailed search or to discuss our local knowledge of the site and surrounding area. Due to the presence of underlying obstructions a number of the proposed trail pits failed at relatively shallow depths. This means that the area of the settlement pits, picking and ECS stations was not really sampled. However a relatively good coverage of the rest of the site has been achieved with similar levels encountered across the site. 10 sample locations were subject to soils testing with a full suite of tests taking place at relatively shallow depths. If any arisings from depth occurred during the piling phase this material should have been subject to further testing prior to removal off site (this is EA monitored as it is a waste product). Could you please confirm if this was done. With respect to controlled waters we have to reiterate the Environment Agency is the principal consultee in this area. Previous studies within Avonmouth have identified the groundwater to be tidally influenced and in continuity with the River Severn estuary (thus the groundwater levels rise and fall with the tides). We often find two groundwater levels - one perched above the clay layer and a deeper one in the underlying gravels and sands. We do note only one deep borehole was sunk at the site at BH01. Most of the groundwater strikes appear to be in/above the tidal flat deposits. There is no discussion of the tidal influence on groundwater levels. At the time of writing this report there was one outstanding water result to be received. If that has been received an updated copy of the results and interpretation would be appreciated. Proposed mitigation land and soil: The site is proposed to be entirely hardstanding providing a barrier between the site and the underlying made ground/soils. This will reduce rainwater infiltration which could mobilise made ground contaminants. This will also prevent dust emissions of the underlying soils. It is proposed that surface water run-off will be recycled on site with the exception of periods of high rainfall when it will flow to the sewer networks. Ground Gas The proposed development will not increase risks from ground gases. However the enclosed space should be adequately protected. The ground gas situation in Avonmouth is complicated due to the heterogeneous nature of the made ground and tidal deposits (there are some areas with peat deposits which is a naturally occurring source of ground gas), accompanied with the tidally influenced groundwater. Within a relatively small area a site can go from the lowest to highest risk with respect to ground gas classification in Avonmouth. We do query why the ground gas assessment was undertaken at DTS01 rather than at DTS04 or BH01 which are located on the footprint of the proposed enclosed building (the area that would be most susceptible to the risk). It is noted that only two rounds of monitoring were undertaken rather than the standard three (as per CIRIA C655 Assessing Risks Posed by Ground Gases and British Standard BS8576 2013 Code of Practice for the Identification and Remediation of Ground Gas) but we do accept the results encountered are within the lowest risk criteria. Tanks: it is noted an above ground fuel tank will be present on site. Recommendations: Groundwater: If the final water monitoring result is available and further discussions have been made between the applicants and Environment Agency we would like the opportunity to be included on these. Ground Gases: We uphold our query regarding the assessment that has been undertaken with respect to why the area of the actual building was not the area tested and why only two rounds of monitoring were undertaken. Services: To prevent mobilisation of contaminants all service trenches (drains, conduits, water mains, etc.) should be laid in lined, trenches filled with clean inert materials. Tanks: Any facilities for the storage of oils, fuels and chemicals shall be sited on impervious bases and surrounded by impervious bund walls. The volume of the bunded compound should be at least equivalent to the capacity of the tank plus 10%. If there is multiple tankage, the compound should be at least equivalent to the capacity of the largest tank, or the combined capacity of interconnected tanks, plus 10%. All filling points, vents, gauges and sight glasses must be located within the bund. The drainage system of the bund shall be sealed with no discharge to the watercourse, land or underground strata. Associated pipework should be located above ground and protected from accidental damage. All filling points and tank overflow pipe outlets should be detailed to discharge downwards into the bund. Public Health The site is located within the docks area of the port of Avonmouth within a predominantly industrial area. However there are residential receptors within 100m of the boundary of the site. The applicant has provided details on minimising fugitive emissions from the operation and storage of the product including additional quantitative air quality monitoring in the event of substantiated complaints. Bristol City Council are aware of current air quality issues within the locality of Avonmouth and the community concerns that have been highlighted previously. There is a growing issue of community dissent which although does not have a physical health impact is likely to add to the emotional wellbeing burden of ill health in the Avonmouth area. We would therefore suggest that prior to the installation, the regulator might want to consider that the operator undertakes air quality monitoring in order to achieve a baseline on which to compare any complaints monitoring against. Conclusion The operators of the proposed facility are relying on a Certificate of Lawfulness issued in 2014. The purported compliance with this certificate or any other permitted development rights is currently being investigated by the Council under its planning enforcement powers. The proposed activity at the site is not currently restricted or controlled under planning legislation. The proximity of the site to residential properties means that Environmental Permit application cannot meet the requirements of the relevant standard rules and therefore a bespoke permit is necessary. As I am sure you will already appreciate, this means that a rigorous assessment of the impacts of the proposed activities on local residents is required. In the absence of any controls under planning legislation, only the refusal of the permit application or the imposition of stringent and enforceable conditions will protect the amenity of local residents and local environmental conditions. The comments set out above demonstrate that the Council has very serious concerns over the impact of the proposed activities in terms of noise, dust, odour, land contamination and public health. I would very much welcome a dialogue with you on these issues, in order that I can keep the Mayor, local elected members and the community updated on this critical process.