Thursday, 15 December 2016

Contaminated Land Advice during Corporate Acquisition

Contaminated Land Advice during Corporate Acquisition

SWEL were approached by a company in Cardiff who were in the process of selling to a large multi national. The purchaser was seeking to drive down the acquisition cost using poor land quality as justification.

SWEL were called in to justify whether this was the case.

The purchasers had engaged their own consultants to establish ground quality, and it was observed that they were acting in line with appropriate guidance.

The land in question although of lowered quality was suitable for end use / continued use and as such the the price should not have been affected.

Contaminated Land Cardiff

Sunlight Daylight Assessment

Sunlight & Daylight Assessment - Epsom

Acting on instruction from a repeat client in the Epsom area, Southwest Environmental Limited are undertaking a Sunlight and Daylight Assessment for a prestige development of 2 no. 6 bedroom houses, which occupy the plot of a single smaller dwelling.

The scheme makes very good use of the space available, but unfortunately in the first instance the height of the buildings was a little too great, as it caused loss of daylight to a neighbouring kitchen window that was beyond the loss allowable under BRE 209.

Recommendations were made that involved altering the pitch of the roof, and allowing for a flat roof area, where it would not impact of the character of the property. This reduced overshadowing to the point where, the scheme became acceptable.

The reduction in height did not result in any loss of usable internal space, although it did result in some loss of loft space, which may have been suitable for conversion in the future.

Environmental Consultants London

Ecoli Testing - Sewer Flooding

Ecoli Testing -  Sewer Flooding

Southwest Environmental have been commissioned to undertake verification testing for the presence of  coliform, post clean up of a sewer spill.

SWEL were contacted by a landlord who was concerned with the persistence of pathogens post clean up of a sewer blockage.

The sewer blockage was caused by an item of clothing becoming lodged in the sewer of the ground floor sewer system of a block of flats, this cause sewer water from the above floors to spill out in to the ground floor flat.

The ground floor flat was flooded to a depth of 2 or 3 inches with sewage emanating from above floors. Significant damage was done to finishing, with staud partitioning and some fiberboard flooring being replaced owing to water damage.

The entire floor area was then steam cleaned and all surfaces treated with a disinfectant. It was at this point SWEL were asked to take samples and acquire results.

The samples were sent for propagation testing at a respected laboratory, so as to deduce cfu (colony forming units) of Ecoli.

These results will then used to inform conclusions of a verification report.

Environmental Consultants London

Flood Risk Assessment - Dorset

Flood Risk Assessment - Dorset

Acting on instruction from an architects in dorset, SWEL have been commissioned to carry a flood risk assessment, for a barn conversion.

Flood Risk to Barn Conversion

The flood risk assessment will be based on third party data, which will indicate flood depths in the area, and these flood depths will be used to inform decisions relating to finished floor level and safety of occupants.The flood risk assessment will be submitted to North Dorset District Council, who will be required to present the report to the Environment Agency as statutory consultees.

All being well, the EA will agree with the content of the report, and they will not raise an objection. The project will not be subject to the sequential test as it is a conversion.

Flood Risk Assessment

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Flood Risk Assessment for Hotel - Bristol

Flood Risk Assessment for Hotel - Bristol

Acting on instructions from Global Client Southwest Environment have undertaken a Flood Risk Assessment for a development site in Bristol, UK.

The project encompassese the retention of a sporting facility and the extension of the facility to include a 55 bedroom hotel and several eateries.

A mixed use development like this is ideal for a site within a high risk flood zone as it allows for low vulnerability uses on ground floors and and high vulnerability uses on the upper floors.

This site however, although surrounded by high risk areas, was at low risk of flooding and also had a convenient escape route in the form of a raised flyover, so as to provide an evacuation route in case of a flood.

Flood Risk Assessment Bristol

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Planning Appeal - South Gloucestershire

Planning Appeal - South Gloucestershire

Southwest Environmental were engaged by a individual developer in the South Gloucestershire area. SWEL had previously supplied a Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan, and also a Flood Risk Assessment for the Site.

The planning application was refused on the grounds that the building character was not applicable to the area in which it was built. Which was clearly wrong, as the settlement has not specific character by which to compare the design of the building.

The other point for refusal was the failure of the site to pass the sequential test. Whilst some LPAs release excellent guidance for conducting the sequential test, the LPA in this instance were insisted on preventing the use of our normal assessment criteria (for determining reasonable alternative sites) whilst not suggesting any other criteria by which the site could be assessed!

To lead to a gridlock in the process, and despite us using our standard method for determining the sequential test, which was favourable, and has been widely accepted nationwide for 9 years the application for refused permission.

The appeal has now been lodged backed up by a 1800 word appeal statement, which sets out the grounds for appeal.

Planning Consultants Bristol

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Noise Impact Assessment - Grays

Noise Impact Assessment - Grays

Acting upon instructions from client, Southwest Environmental have Produced a noise impact assessment according to British  Standards.

The noise assessment was carried out for a self storage warehouse project in the greys area the main impact considered within the report with traffic movements. Unlike typical warehousing we cannot expect large volumes of heavy goods vehicle traffic and research in noise levels were based around car movements rather than heavy goods vehicle movements another consideration was that of the 24 hour access required for self storage warehouses SWEL used data from various self storage associations to build a profile or anticipated vehicle movements the site is within an industrial area that there are residential units quite close to the eastern boundary of the site.

It was found that noise levels were as acceptable when assessed in line with the relevant British standards monastery was carried out over 24 hour period prior to the calculations being performed.

Noise Impact Assessment London

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

BRE 365 Soak-Away Report - Brinkworth, Chippenham

BRE 365 Soak-Away Report - Brinkworth, Chippenham

On site geology is the Oxford Clay Formation. Which is described as:
“Silicate-mudstone, grey, generally smooth to slightly silty, with sporadic beds of argillaceous limestone nodules.”

BGS Borehole 398037 which is situated to the south west of site shows considerable thicknesses of Clay, extended to the base of the borehole at 44.81 mBGL.

BGS describe the Oxford clay formation as being blocky and fissile in certain areas, so there is potential the clay in to pervious (support of flow through fissures) in certain localities.
Trial pits showed varying thicknesses of made ground resting over the Oxford Clay. 

Site works comprised of 2no. trial pits with soak away tests conducted in each on. The positioning of these pits were sited in anticipation of a fairly large soak away being required. Clay typically being assumed to have a low infiltration rate.

Holes were dug using an excavator, with care being taken to keep the side vertical. This is important so as to be able to deduce an accurate volume, and pit internal surface area. 

The location of the pits can be viewed on the location plan in Appendix 1. Dimensions of the trial pits were chosen so as to representative of the final soak-away. Trial pit dimensions can be seen on the Trial Pit Log sheets in Appendix 3.

Calculations show that based on a 1 in 10 year rainfall event, allowing for a 20% increase in rainfall events owing to climate change, that a trench or pit soak-aways could provide adequate infiltration drainage for surface water from the proposed development. Results from Trial Pit 1 are adopted as a worst case scenario.

Detailed Calculations - To BRE 365

BS9530 -  Logging of Trial Pits

Geotechnical Investigation Belluton near Bristol

Geotechnical Investigation Belluton near Bristol 

In support of some road stabilisation work SWEL have carried out a geotechnical investigation at Belluton near Bristol.

Despite tight access, drilling works started in a timely fashion, with recovered of some excellent core samples. Holes were advanced to a depth of 15 meters, with dynamic sampling in soils and weathered rocks, and coring in rock proper.

Dynamic Samples from Ground Level in c. 3 Meters Depth

Core Samples from Weathered Rock Head

Close Up of  Core Fragment

SPT results and disturbed samples from Soils. 

The investigation is to provide data for a cutting for road widening. The rock seems very competent, but soil nails are proposed for further strengthening. Samples were tested for aggressive ground characteristics, and a variety of classification and strength tests.

Geotechnical Investigation Bristol

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sustainability Statement - Lyppiatt Road, Bristol

Sustainability Statement - Lyppiatt Road, Bristol

Acting Upon instructions from a property developer in Bristol SWEL have assembled a sustainability statement for a multi the residential development win commercial grounds floor use. The development incorporates large areas of south facing glazing and as such specific concerns were raised by Bristol City council regarding overheating potential mitigating measures such as

Overhanging shading were stipulated as possible future upgrades these future upgrades were included within plans with space left for them to be added as a future date when and if some overheating becomes a problem.

Bristol City council have recently started to require detailed energy Modeling at the planning stage SWELconducted a whole building energy model for the development which allows for the presentation of building energy demand and the subsequent : savings achieved through efficiency and renewable energy measures.

Sustainability Energy Statement Bristol

Desktop Study - Chittening, Bristol

Desktop Study - Chittening, Bristol

Acting on instruction from a property managment company SWEL have produced a desktop study for a property in  Chittening, Bristol.

The property lease was to be aquired by a company and as good practice they were keen to establisg risk from ground contamination in a qualified manner.

SWEL have visited site, photgraphed the building internally and externally, we then use up to date environmental data from the Bristol area and mapping to draw qualified conclusions with regards to ground quality on site.

In this instance we felt that although the build could have had a number of uses, that risk to future users was low owing to broken exposure pathways, and the nature of the intended use.

Desktop Study Bristol

Monday, 12 September 2016

Sustainability Statement - Lyppiatt Rd, Bristol BS5 9HP, UK

Sustainability Statement - Lyppiatt Rd, Bristol BS5 9HP, UK

Acting on instruction of a property developer SWEL have produced a Sustainability Statement for a site in   Lyppiatt Rd, Bristol. The site is a mixed use development incorporating residential and commercial spaces.

The project has a highly fragmented roof, and options were explored to perhaps use combined heat and power in order to provide emissions savings in line with BCC Policy BCS 14, which requires that a carbon reduction of 20% is achieved beyond building regulations.

Other Bristol City Council Sustainability Policies include:

BCS13: Climate Change - Requires development to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

BCS14: Sustainable Energy - Provides criteria for assessing new renewable energy schemes, with a presumption In favor of large‐scale renewable energy installations.

Requires new development to minimise its energy requirements and then incorporate an element of renewable energy to reduce its CO2 emissions by a further 20%. Supports the delivery of a district heating network in Bristol.

BCS15: Sustainable Design and Construction – Requires all developments to engage with issues around sustainable design and construction.

As with London Sustainability Statements, Bristol City Council also require that the energy hierarchy is followed :

  1. Be Lean
  2. Be Clean
  3. Be Green

Site Waste Management Plan - Enfield London N13, UK

Site Waste Management Plan - Enfield London N13, UK

Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned to undertake a site waste management plan for a site in Enfield London N13.

The project was or considerable scale with numerous residential units built on a brown field site. The report amongst other chapters considers the following:

2.1         Demolition Waste
2.1.1 Demolition Wastes
2.2         Excavation Wastes
2.2.1 Excavation Waste Types Forecast
2.2.2 Excavation Waste Quantities Forecast
2.3         Construction Wastes
2.3.1 Construction Waste Types Forecast
2.3.2 Construction Waste Quantities Forecast

The Waste Hierarchy 

The report follows the waste hierarchy and aims to minimize disposal to landfill. During the construction phase the SIte Waste Management plan makes recommendations as to good working practice that can reduce wastes. Suggestion such as:

"The design should be coordinated to avoid excess cutting and jointing of materials. Off-cuts create waste, where possible designed to standardized material dimensions. This would also apply to bespoke structural elements such as form work, where repetition of measurements should be encouraged where possible."

Are included within the Site Waste Management Plan

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Flood Risk Assessment - Merton

Flood Risk Assessment - Merton

SWEl have recently prepared a Flood Risk Assessment for an interesting proposed development in Merton (New Maldon).

The development sees the retention of a existing building for conversion under PD rights, and the creation of e neighbouring residential unit.

Below images show various mapping used in the compilation of the report.

Flood Extent Mapping in Merton

Modelled flood data was obtained and used in describing the site as low risk. 

Model Nodes used in 2D Models

Both 1D and 2D flood modelling data was used, the nearest water course was the Beverly Brook. 

A Considerate Design improves Planning Success

The Flood Risk Assessment also considers surface water run-off, thankfully the development was considerately designed with large areas of soft landscaping. 

Flood Risk

Monday, 23 May 2016

Odour Management Plan - Sussex

Odour Management Plan - Sussex

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently prepared an Odour Management Plan for a Nail Bar in Crawley, Sussex. The salon type establishment was sited within a busy shopping precinct. Our client had been requested by his local council to provide an odour management plan.

We were asked to prepare this document on a 3 working day turn around which we were just about able to do. We referenced industry codes of practices and focussed on the main causes of odour such as vapours and dust.

The odour management plan is a working document, and we aim to write such a report as simply as possible, with useful forms and survey checklists included for easy reference.

Odour Management Sussex

Expert Planning Objection - London

Expert Planning Objection - London

Southwest Environmental Limited (Environmental Consultants) were contacted by a residents group, who were trying to contest an application for a school in their neighbourhood. The residents group were concerned about the extra traffic generated by the proposed development and also as to whether the site was indeed suite for the intended use. 

An expert planning objection was prepared by Southwest Environmental we were requested that we limit our comments to those relating to air quality, although we would have happily commented on daylighting, traffic, or noise in this instance. 

The proposed school was situated on a busy junction, which has been subject to monitoring, for nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide has been shown to have chronic effects on the health of adults and children alike, although at present the is a great deal of uncertainty regarding safe exposure levels. 

To that end the European Union has set targets of 40ugm3 as an annual mean, and the site exceeds these values. There are have been various studies[1] that point to unsatisfactory air quality in the area, yet reports submitted in support of planning appear to show that this is not the case thus indicating a discrepancy.

In 2014 The European Commission launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to deal with air pollution. The EU reasoning behind case this was that levels of nitrogen dioxide, mainly from diesel engines, are "excessive" in many British cities. The Commission noted in its written statement at the time that nitrogen dioxide gas can lead to major respiratory illnesses and premature deaths.

It is important to note that there is no safe level set for exposure to nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is converted to nitric acid in the lungs, and this can exacerbate illnesses such as asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Studies[1] note the clear “associations between NO2 and respiratory problems among children”.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Odour Impact Assessment for Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Plant - Devon

Odour Impact Assessment for Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Plant

Acting on instruction from a client based in the greater London area, SWEL are to prepare an Odour Impact Assessment for a Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Plant in Devon.

The Anaerobic Digestion Plant  is to use agricultural feed stock in to produce gas, and ultimalty genrate electrcial energy vis the use of gas engines to feed in to the grid.

As solar and wind capacity increases  and base load capacity decreases, the UK must fill the gap. Anaerobic Digestion Plants offer the possibility of storing gas produced, and generating power when it is needed.

Odour Modelling

The odur impact assessment was conducted using odor concentrations derived from secondary sources, in the most part peer review scientific papers. These values were then used in a model to derive am odour concentration at near by receptors.

The model used was aeromod, which is the preferred modelling system used in the UK and USA. In fact the model was produced in the USA, by their equivalent of the Environment Agency the EPA.

The model works, by caluclating dispersion, and also "averaging" out plume concentrations based on wind directions. There are various parameters that can be changed, in cluding atmopshric stibility etc.

Owing to the comparatively low odor emissions from the proposed agricultural feed stock the odour impacts are very low.

SWEL can conduct Odour Impact Assessments on a quick turnaround and also offer odour modelling services, to air quality professionals.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Environment Agency Flood Data - Thames Estuary

Until recently I was using the following email address to get flood data and maps for the thames estuary:

this email account will soon be closed, the new email to use to contact us will be

Despite having used the original address for a number of years I received no notice that it would be changed, and have found out the above via lengthy googling.

Hopefully it will save you the time!

In this day an age, would it not have been possible to email past customers to tell them about the change prior to closing the account?

Flood Risk

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Sustainability Statement - Nottingham

Sustainability Statement - Nottingham 

Acting on instructions from a repeat client, SWEL are to prepare a sustainability statement for a car show room in Nottingham.

The car show room is a new build, and will incorporate a wealth of sustainability features.  The report submitted complements existing plans and specifications, whilst meeting requires for content set by the local planning authority.

The sustainability report includes modelling of the building envelope using SBEM, and will include renewable obligations set by the LPA.

Sustainability Consultants

Monday, 18 January 2016

Geotechncial Site Investigation - Devon

Site Investigation - Devon

Acting upon instruction from a management company located SWEL are to undertake a Geotechnical ivestigations at a holiday park near Totnes.

SWEL provide a wide range of geotechnical and environmental services to support our clients with there chosen projects. 

In this case SWEL are to prepare a retrospective specification for a raft foundation, to satisfy the local authorities requirements. The slab as stands, would appear to be installed to a very high standard, and is liklley over specified, and reside upon desnse gravels.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Flood Risk Assessment - Bristol

Flood Risk Assessment - Bristol

SWEL have been commissioned to prepare a flood risk assessment for a mixed use development in Bristol.

The scheme comprises of commercial use of the ground floor, with residential use above. This is a favorable situation, as the ground floor use is less vulnerable as define in the planning practice guidance.

The stated aim of PPG is to ensure that flood risk is taken into account at all stages in the planning process to avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding, and to direct development away from areas at highest risk. 

This FRA is prepared for the purposes of providing a generalised indication of the potential flood risk to the site, and to identify whether there are any flooding or surface water management issues relating to the development site that may warrant further consideration. 

Bristol is a varied city with regards to flood risk. Some of the hilly areas see very rapid lowering in flood risk moving away from water courses, however area to the west such as Avonmouth experience large areas of low lying ground in Zone 3a which can be problematic from a planning perspective.

There are numerous culvert water courses in Bristol, where rivers has been built over, and now run in tunnels under central areas. 

The flood risk assessment will be prepared on a quick turnaround and supplied to the client in a PDF format.

The use of secondary data will aid in providing this report on a quick turnaround. 

Flood Risk Consultants Bristol

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Site Investigation Bristol

Site Investigation Bristol

Acting on instruction from a property owner in Bristol. Southwest Environmental Limited are currently undertaking a Geo-environmental site investigation in Bristol.

The site is an dis-used petrol filling station, there are concrete filled tanks on site, and various buildings with above ground tanks and assicoated storage.

Site Investigation Bristol - Buried Services and Pipework were Present

Site Investigation Bristol - Site Works were completed in One Day

The site works were undertaken in December 2015, with reporting no being progressed.

A full report will be prepared to collate finding of investigation and to compare soil quality against various guide values. 

Site Investigation Bristol