Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Site Investigation Bristol

Site Investigation Bristol

Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned to undertake a reduced scope geo-environment assessment at a site in Bristol. The investigation was retrospective in that construction work had already started.

Bristol City Council  are one of the few council nationally who will accept a reduced scope investigation for geo environmental risk assessment. Ordinarily it is required to take a high frequency of samples even of smaller sites, often including ground gas investigations including deep boreholes which can prove very costly. The cost of such investigations when considering build costs for smaller projects can be approaching 10% of project value, which is some cases in inhibitive.

Below is a panoramic photograph of the site at the time of the investigation. The bedrock has been exposed to some depth by excavations for the foundations. You can clearly see the angle of the bedding and the more coal rich bed to the left of the photograph.

Photograph of Outcrop (or Incrop!)

Just 2 samples were requested by Bristol Site Council. This is a very low number. The samples retrieved showed no exceedances of established "safe" levels. Although Total Organic Carbon Levels in one sample were above those mentioned in CIRIA guidance, likley owing to the presence of coal.

The whole of Bristol is now considered a brown field area. This may seam an overreaction, but SWEL have been surprised by contamination found on "innocent" looking sites in the past. Despite best efforts to categorise a site as low risk without soil sampling it is often the case that if SWEL are pushed to investigate, post Phase 1 Desktop Study will find high levels of some contaminants.

3 Flood Risk Assessments for DEFRA

3 Flood Risk Assessments for DEFRA

Commissioned via a 3rd Party Southwest Environmental have recently been working with DEFRA at one of their sites close to London. SWEL have produce 3 Flood Risk Assessments in support of 3 planning applications.

It should be noted that despite working for NGOs and Multi-Nationals we still accept commissions from individuals and companies of any size.

The reports were produced on a very quick turnaround and contained all required information plus design advice and surface water management information.

A Random Flood Map which is Not of the Study Site

The projects sites were within Zones 1 2 and 3, with varying levels of flood risk. The projects also carried various levels of vulnerability and this was taken into account when authoring the reports.

In one instance feedback was given at an early stage with regards to design requirements to mitigate against flood risk, this was provided within 48 hours of commissioning and the information was relayed to the design team ahead of draft plan issues.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Air Quality Assessment - Norfolk

Air Quality Assessment  - Norfolk

Acting on instructions from a client Southwest Environmental Limited have prepared a Air Quality Assessment for a site in Norfolk.

The site sees the development of an area of land, for industrial use. The area includes numerous sensitive receptors to air pollution, such as residential and schools.

There is also an air quality management area to the north of site, which is currently trying to meeting 40ug/m3 target set by the European Air Quality Regulations.

The assessment of risks in this instance relied on secondary data collected, and used as a baseline. With impacts considered throughout the construction and operational phases of the development.

The report was issued within 10 working days of commissioning. The conclusions were positive.

Air Quality Assessment

Flood Risk Assessment - Harrow

Flood Risk Assessment - Harrow

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently prepared a Flood Risk Assessment for a site in London.

The site was in flood zone 1, and was under the area (1 hectare) that would ordinarily trigger the requirement for a Flood Risk Assessment.

It was our opinion that the Flood Risk Assessment was requested because the site is:

  • A risk from surface water flooding.
  • Includes a basement. 
Surface Water Flow Velocity
Surface Water Depth
The report recommended that as long as a few simple measures were adopted such as:

There is surface water flooding highlighted as close to site of the extension and basement. Careful consideration will have to give to the avoidance of flow path creation. For example: the ground level at the rear of the building should be maintained so as to prevent surface water flowing towards the rear of the house. This would include depressions created for external stairways. An up an over stair crest may be required to maintain this level.

Removable flood boards should be fitted in all external doorways, up to a height a 50cm above threshold. Levels (front threshold + 50cm) should be matched at rear of property for stair crest.

Flood resilient construction should be used in basement level (see below table). Clear access should maintain from basement to ground floor level. New External and Internal Doors should hinge inwards.

Centralised service nodes such as boilers and consumer units should be situated on the ground floor level. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bespoke Flood Risk Assessment - London

Bespoke Flood Risk Assessment - London

Southwest Environmental Limited have been approached by a management company in London to provide a Bespoke Flood Risk Activity permit for some works being carried out adjacent to flood defences.

The work comprising of demolition works and piling works, and as such this will be a multiple activity permit application.

Unlike Environmental Permits for Installations or Waste Facilities. Flood Risk Permits are determined at the local level, rather than a centralised national office.

Turnaround times from submittal of flood risk permit to the issue of the flood risk permit are MUCH quicker than that of environmental permits for waste of industrial processes. A response can be had in 3 weeks.

The flood risk activity permit application will require various supporting information to be submitted with the application forms. Including plans, and method statements. The focus of these statements is on the protection of the water way, its banks and any flood defences.

Flood Risk Activity Permits

3 x Flood Risk Assessment - Bridgwater & Highbridge

3 x Flood Risk Assessment  - Bridgwater & Highbridge

Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned for a "job lot" of 3 Flood Risk Assessment within Sedgemoor District Council Administrative Area.

The flood risk assessments were prepared on a rapid turnaround, provided with practical advice for the design response and resilience measures.

A good report needs good data.

Flood Defenses in the Area are not great.

Flood depths exceed flood defences.

The three projects were conversions of existing buildings and parts of buildings fro use as residential dwellings. These conversion add a constraint to the design in that often one can not extend outside the envelope of the existing building.

This becomes problematic when flood water depth is much above 50cm, as raising of floor level beyond this height is often impractcial and so other solutions have to be offered up.

Flood Risk

ELV Permit Application - Hertford

ELV Permit Application - Hertford

SWEl have been commissioned to undertake a ELV permit for a recycling company based in Hertfordshire. An End of Life Vehicle Environmental Permit (ELV Permit) will allow the company to break cars on it site, and transfer wastes on for other uses.

The site is a good site in terms of the environmental constraints. . .  for example it is not near to any SSSIs etc. which can complicate applications of this nature.

The ELV permit application requires the following documents:

  • Application Forms
  • Risk Assessment
  • Environmental Management System
  • Site Condition Report
  • Fire Prevention Plan
The fire prevention plan is the latest addition to the documentary requirements and is a time consuming document to prepare with site layout plans, stack layout plans and various other scale drawing required.

The permit is now duly made, and awaiting determination. SWEL submitted the permit on a rapid turnaround, within 1 week of commissioning. 

Environmental Permit Applications

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Bespoke Flood Risk Activity Permit Application - Barnstaple

Bespoke Flood Risk Activity Permit Application - Barnstaple

Acting upon instruction from a client in Barnstaple, Devon, Southwest Environmental Limited have submitted a bespoke permit application for a flood risk activity permit.

The proposal was for a lowering of ground level within 9 meters of a main river. It was thought strange that lower of ground adjacent to a river require a permit, owing to likley positive flood storage benefits, but the Environment Agency are concerned with the disruption of the channel, and the potential for pollution to enter the river.

To that end the application forms etc. were filed and a number of supporting documents such as plannings and environmental management systems have been submitted, so the Environment agency can determine the application for this flood risk activity permit.

Flood risk activity permits are a relatively recent addition to the Environmental permitting regime, however they have been in forced under older regulatory regimes prior to being migrated to the EPR regs.

There are a number of standard flood risk activity permits available for an obscure set of activities, so for most operation a bespoke flood risk activity permit will be required.

Environmental Consultants London

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

(TEEP) Assessments

(TEEP) Assessments 

TEEP (‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’ ) Assessments are designed to establish whether separate waste collection are technically, environmentally and economically practicable.

Based on the continued uptake of segregated waste collection, it is clear that the general outcome of technically, environmentally and economically practicable TEP Assessments, is that comingled waste collection is not technically, environmentally and economically practicable.

The requirement for TEEP stems from The EU revised Waste Framework Directive (r-WFD) was transposed into UK law through the Waste (England and Wales) Regulation 2012. The r-WFD clarifies key concepts such as the definition of waste, recycling and disposal. The directive places more emphasis on the waste hierarchy and improving the quality of collected recyclable material that is sent to re-processors.

Various quangos have produced guidance on how best to implement the directive, but a significant part of the process is the TEEP assessment, at the time of writing there are 42 councils in the UK, that have not done this.

If you require assistance in carrying out you TEEP, then please get in touch SWEL can help.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Application for Connection to Thames Water - Barking

Application for Connection to Thames Water - Barking

Southwest Environmental Limited have recent applied for a connect to thames water sewers, on behalf of a repeat client. The application procedure is not overly onerous, but it does help to have background knowledge of the site.

Back in 2014 SWEL produce a Surface Water Drainage Strategy for this site and so we are familiar with the asset arrangement in the area, along with the flow rates from surface and foul water outputs.

It helps if the assets in the area are understood. . . 

. . . location plans were sourced. . . 

. . . invert levels should also be considered. 

This is the more recent of numerous applications we have undertaken on behalf of developers in London. The process does take a while Fees to Thames Water are around £500, and then we would charge time on top of this.

If you need any help with applications to Thames Water or Anglian Water or others, then please get in touch.

Environmental Consultants London 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Site Investigation - Bristol

Site Investigation - Bristol

Recently Southwest Environmental Limited submitted a  Desktop Study for a site in Bristol, to Bristol City Council for scrutiny. Despite SWEL recommending that the site was fit for use, with no further work recommended BCC were of the opinion, that some further investigations were required. 

BCC were very pragmatic in the scope of these further investigations, and limited the scope to a number of hand dug trial pits, which were then used to ascertain the extent of made ground on site.

The finding were that despite having some made ground in the form of crushed brick under the driveway, the ground under the proposed structure was natural ground.

Brick Footings

Made Ground . . . of Brick

Ordinarily it would be standard practice to take samples and analyse them for a suite of chemicals as part of a Site Investigation . However, in this instance the checks for the presence of made ground, combined with floor slab sub-ventilation were deemed as an appropriate mitigatory measure.

This saved around £5000 in costs, which on a small project would represent a significant percentage of  the overall project value.

Contaminated Land Assessment - Clevedon

Contaminated Land Assessment  - Clevedon 

Southwest Environmental Limited were approached by a client who wanted to check the ground quality of a site that they were planning to purchase. The site was a petrol station, and as such there was potential for the site to be contaminated.

Typical Petrol Station c. 1960.
All available secondary data was collected in the form of a Desktop Study, and this concluded that it would be prudent to undertake some soil sampling. Samples were taken and tested, and the ground was also checked for any sign of VOCs emanating from hydrocarbons.

These were then used in a quantitative risk assessment for contaminated land .

The reporting was carried out within the allotted time frame, and on budget.

Flood Risk Assessment - Exeter

Flood Risk Assessment  - Exeter

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently carried out a flood risk assessment for a site in Exeter, Devon. The site was very close to the river exe flood relief channel and as such it was important to establish whether it was indeed possible to build a dwelling at the location that would:

  1. Mitigate Against Flood Risk 
  2. Remain in Keeping with Surrounding Buildings
The problem is that is flood depths are too great then a building ground floor use may have to be limited to no residential use. If neighbouring buildings are "normal" houses then the proposed structure may look out of place, and this can cause problems when in planning .

Topography Indicates a Level Area

The Site is Well Within Flood Zone 3

Flood Depths were Fairly Deep on Site
In this instance SWEL were to prepare a report to set before the Environment Agency for scrutiny outside of formal planning. In this way we can check that the project is viable from a flood risk point of view prior to proceeding with planning proper and all the extra time and expense that that involves. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Lighting Assessment SSSI

Lighting Assessment SSSI 

SWEL have undertaken a Lighting Assessment in Rickmansworth, the site is to be developed, and lighting impact were required to be assessed. A thorough baseline study was made with a quantitative assessment of spill.

A  twilight survey was made to identify nearby light pollution sources. 

Riveting - Existing light fittings were surveyed. 
The Lighting Assessment Report was published in good time and was well received by the local planning authority.