Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Desktop Study - Slough

Desktop Study - Slough


Acting on instruction from a client in Ealing Southwest Environmental Limited have prepared a desktop study fro site in Slough.

The desktop study has been made of the site and this revealed that historically the site was of primarily back garden use. But more recently had been used for other purposes.

As is normally the case SWEL order a comprehensive data set, so as to make a review of the site.


It was established that a Phase 2 Investigation is required, owing to current on site use, which is mixed between storage and vehicle repairs etc. 


The report was turned around in 5 days.

Drainage Report - Cullompton

Drainage Report - Cullompton


Some areas of Cullompton are designated as a critical drainage area. You may have a planning condition which states that:

"As the application site falls within the Cullompton Critical Drainage Area, please submit a Flood risk Assessment"



A flood risk assessment typical is focused on flood risk to the site, when what is required in a Critical Drainage is a Surface Water Drainage Strategy.


The way to deal with most domestic / residential drainage requirement is permeable paves, with added features. Mots consider this an expensive option, but this is due to lack of understanding.

In order to capture run off you must provide a volume of "holding" (an attenuation volume) this usually provided my the spaces between gravels in a soak-away trench.

But why not use these same gravel as a sub-base for permeable paving? You will have to import fill for driveways anyhow. You end up using the aggregate twice for soak-away and for sub-base.



Water from roofs can be fed in to the sub base, and drive water just soaks straight in, avoid the requirement for gullies etc. There are no blockages from leaves.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Flood Risk Assessment - Devon

Flood Risk Assessment - Devon


SWEL have recently completed a Flood Risk Assessment for a Site in Totnes, Devon. Our total turn around time for the production of the report was 7 workings days.

Detailed Flood Depth Data

Usual RoFRS Data but on High Resolution

The report includes in depth flood depth data, which was sourced on a quick turnaround.

The report include surface water details (brief), design details and sequential test. The site use type is not ordinary and we made a best case argument for vulnerability classification in this instance.

SWEL regularly prepare flood risk assessment for sites of all types across the UK. We aim to deliver a quick successful report which include a breadth of information suitable for the job in hand.

If you require a Flood Risk Assessment please Contact Us.


Saturday, 11 August 2018

BRE 365 Soak-Away Tests - Gloucestershire

BRE 365 Soak-Away Tests - Gloucestershire


SWEL were engaged to undertake BRE 365 soak-away testing at a site in Gloucestershire. The works includes site works and a full written report with design calculations and soak-away sizing calculations according to BRE 365. We include trial pit logs, photographs and extra information we feel may be of use, such as empirical strength estimates.

The site was fairly large and very hilly. Which would have made access rather difficult if it were not for pre-existing access tracks, and a disused railway line which serves as a spine road for our investigations!

There were various fallen trees etc. which had to be removed before we could start work, but our site staff normal carry a selection of cutting tools so as to get things moving as quickly as possible.

Access was Tight ion the Wooded Areas - Note Quarry Face to Rear


In the course of a very long day we managed to complete 7 trail holes, with BRE 365 soak-away testing carried out in each one.

Bedrock was quite shallow at some points across the site. The western extents of the site included a quarry and a disused railway tunnel.

Many of the Soak-Away Pits Reveled Large Limestone Cobbles.


Infiltration rates across the site were variable, reflecting the steep topography and disturbed nature of the ground. The valley bottom showed slower soak-age rates whilst the the infilled quarry showed very rapid soak-age rates, likely due to the use of a very course fill media.

The field work element of each test took between 30 mins and 2 hours, which many of the longer tests being run simultaneously.

Our water bowser was towed by an Instructor from the nearby Whitecliff 4x4 Centre, who was as skilled as he was amicable.


Friday, 10 August 2018

Flood Risk Assessment - Bristol

Flood Risk Assessment - Bristol


SWEL were recently commissioned to undertake a flood risk assessment in Bristol. This site is an interesting one in terms of settings. As is resides within some characterful gardens walls, which have a curved to match the site boundary.

A Pub near the Site

The key as always with a good flood risk assessment is collecting a wide selection of data to characterize flood risk at the site. 3rd party data reveled flooding of significant depth on site, whilst the Environment Agency data from neighboring sites showed details that will aid in the design of the building.

The report also includes exceptions test, sequential test and surface water recommendations.





Friday, 20 July 2018

Desktop Study - London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Desktop Study - London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned to undertake a Desktop Study in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Hammersmith and Fulham is to the west of central London. Sub regions include Fulham in the South, Hammersmith in the center and White City in the North. At the northern tip of the borough is Wormwood Scrubs Park.

The report to discharge a planning condition related to contaminated land. The planning permission was for a residential conversion of a garage. Typically with a garage (and we would not guarantee this) if the garage appears clean and does not show evidence of heavy use (leaking oils etc) we would likely recommend nothing more than a "watching brief".

Band Riveting . . . a lost art, when a Coffee Mug costs 99p

However, in this instance the site had been used for "band riveting" which we had to google, because we didn't know what band riveting was! Having had a read on the subject it would appear that the process involves the use of solder. . . ergo fluxes one would think.

Although we were content that this use would unlikely impact on the residents of the proposed dwelling that remained indoors, there was a risk that the garden area was contaminated from discarded solder and flux. However, we subsequently learnt that the proposed garden area used to be part of a neighboring residential plot, and there was no access to it during the time of this band riveting activity.

So in the end we recommended no further action and a watching brief. The report was submitted to the EHO for scrutiny it has been return with some minor amendments requested, and is now passed off.


Air Quality Impact Assessment Horsham, West Sussex

Air Quality Impact Assessment Horsham, West Sussex

Southwest Environmental Limited were engaged to undertake an Air Quality Assessment in Horsham. Ordinarily we would undertake an Air Quality Assessment in support of a planning application. But in this instance we were engaged by a Housing Association to undertake an Air Quality Assessment for a proposed development adjacent to their property.

The Housing Association were concerned that dust and gaseous emissions from the proposed demolition and construction activities would impact on their residents health.

We had a great deal of support from the Environmental Health Officer at the District Council, who proved invaluable in ensuring  our documents were put before the right people.

When working against a planning application such as was the case here, the biggest problem is often getting you report (regardless of how valid the conclusions are) in front of anyone with power to act.

We were lucky in this instance that there were various conditions of planning which were left unfinished, and as such we were able to comment on these as they were discharged.

The Air Quality Assessment Focus on applicable management practices for dust mitigation, monitoring requirements and methods for both dust and gaseous emissions. The baseline air quality report which was submitted with the initial application was rather limited in scope despite being accepted as adequate. However, it proved useful as it provided an overview of available secondary air quality data for the area.

SWEL also undertook a Noise Impact Assessment at the same site.

Surface Water Drainage Strategy & Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan Tilbury

Surface Water Drainage Strategy & Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan Tilbury


Southwest Environmental were instructed to undertake a Surface Water Drainage Strategy for a commercial development in the Port of Tilbury.

A few weeks after this initial instruction we were also advised to proceed with a Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan.

In both cases the key was  building up sufficient evidence in order to ascertain risks accurately, and then implement migratory measures and evacuation procedures based on those risks.

Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan


There has been historic flooding in Tilbury, and flood water can take many days to recede after an event. The flood defenses in Tilbury do provide a good level of protection but, it is important to consider over topping events.

Although the site should remain high during a flood it is thought, that workers may be isolated for a number of days. To that end a list of long life provisions was included in the Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan. Image from here.


Surface Water Drainage Strategy


The site is to be entirely covered in concrete surfaces, there is also wash water from the intended use that must be disposed of.

Surface Water and Foul Water systems were kept separate in the conceptual design, additional measures were taken to ensure that this was so, although changes to design were kept to a minimum.

The port has a complex private drainage system, and this was studied in deatil to suggest applicable options moving forward.

ciria_mitigation_indices

Surface water was disposed of to the Thames River (which runs through London) via the Open Botany Drainage Channel and Botany Sluice. Water Qaulity to the Thames was subject to new CIRIA Mitigation Indices (above).

Flood Risk Assessment Kent

Flood Risk Assessment Kent


SWEL were instructed to undertake a Flood Risk Assessment for a proposed development in Romney Marsh, Kent. For a Residential Development.

The scheme saw the construction of 2 homes, on a site occupied by a dilapidated bungalow.

A Wider Variety of Flood Risk Data was Used to form an Opinion

Key the flood risk assessment was establishing the level of protection afforded by the coastal defenses in the area, we arranged to have data supplied on the sea defenses which showed they were in good condition and that they were gave an applicable protection level.

Advise was included on required attenuation volumes, and any special construction techniques.

The sequential test was a key part of the report. We include a sequential test in our flood risk assessment as standard. . .if it is required.




Sunlight Daylight Assessment Cornwall

Sunlight Daylight Assessment Cornwall 


Acting on instruction from a client in Exeter, Southwest Environmental Limited have prepared a Sunlight and Daylight Assessment for a Site in Bude, Cornwall.

The report was to check impacts on an existing property. SWEL used the well established (and normally applied) BR209 assessment method to derive VSC and Daylight Values for neighboring windows.

All was found to be well and good. And the design was considering applicable given the context of sunlight and daylight.

The proposed building was 3 stories in height and was set back approximately 20 meters from the existing building which was though worst affected. The worst affected window experienced a 12% drop in day light, with the guide allowing for 20%.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Water Quality Impact Assessment - Kent

Water Quality Impact Assessment - Kent


Southwest Environmental Limited wear commissioned by a client from the Midlands, to undertake a Water Quality Impact Assessment in Kent. The assessment was for a proposed activity in a water body, where the water quality of said water body was very important to various stakeholders.

Luckily there was pre-existing monitoring data available from a pre-existing site which was utilised to form a baseline study.

The main risk from the activity was judged to be biological contamination of the water body. However, all the potentially impacted stakeholders would like not be affected owing to treatment of the water prior to use that would eliminate the biological contamination.

E Coli - A common Marker for Coliforms


The Water Quality Impact Assessment also identified that the baseline levels of pathogens within the water body as existing were relatively high, this was likely to introduction for farm land and water fowl. As the levels of these pathogens in baseline sample data fluctuated according to rainfall, which in the case of farm land / manure at least would indicate run-off as a source.


ADF Daylight Assessment - Lambeth SW4

ADF Daylight Assessment - Lambeth SW4


Southwest Environmental Limited have recently issued a ADF Daylight Assessment Report for a project in Lambeth.

The design of the project was most unusual. It consisted of a dwelling being built in a gap in a row of terraced houses. Instead of using the full available height to match the existing houses, the development makes use of a basement and a ground floor level only. As such is fairly unique in appearance certainly when considering the immediate vicinity.

Basement & Ground Floor Only Design

This low level construction obviously aided in the minimisation of any day lighting or sun lighting issues, and the dwelling met all criteria relating to external impacts as described in BR209. Interior lighting was found to be excellent throughout with ADF values exceeding guide minimum values by some margin.

SWEL regulatory carry out Sunlight and Daylight Assessments across the Greater London Area. Our reports are well received and we pride our selves on a quick turnaround, often in 5 working days or less.

The above image is reproduced courtesy of Tekton Design & Build SW18.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Part B Permit Application - Wood Waste Burner - Somerset

Part B Permit Application - Wood Waste Burner - Somerset


Acting on instructions from a client in Somerset, Southwest Environmental Limited have started a Part B Permit Application for a number of Wood Waste Burners or Incinerators.

The wood waste burners are located at the clients base of operation and are used to:


  1. Dispose of Wood Waste
  2. Provide a Source of Heat
The Part B Application will include the interpretation of monitoring data to assess impacts on nearby receptors. 



The manufactures information, suggests that the burners operate at a high temperature, and this reduces emissions. Low temperature combustion typically emits more emissions, this is why many incinerators have an "after burner" which is where fuel is used to burn off any unwanted emissions prior to further abatement. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Planning Application for Waste Transfer Station - Hereford

Planning Application for Waste Transfer Station


Southwest Environmental Limited have been commissioned to undertake a planning application for a Waste Transfer Station in Hereford. We provide this service nation wide to wide range of clients.

The proposed transfer station would see up a planning application ahead of a permit application for a general waste transfer station, for the storage, treatment and transfer of wastes.



At present the site used as a builders yard, but the application will see the incorporation of 25 x 25 meter industrial building, weighbridge, storm water system, fire water system and leachate management system.

Impacts considered during the application will be noise, transport and possibly odour. The site is well situated as it is not close to any residential properties.



Southwest Environmental have thus far produced project drawings including Site Location, Building Plans, Layout Plans, Drainage Plans and a Design and Access Statement in support of the project.

Planning Applications London 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Flood Risk Assessment - Catford SE6

Flood Risk Assessment - Catford SE6


Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned by a client to undertake a Flood Risk Assessment at a site in South East London.

The project was for conversion of a basement to living quarters. This is usually one of the more difficult situation to get passed off with the Environment Agency (as consultees in planning) as a flooded basement is not a very good thing / situation:


  • It is hard to dry out.
  • It is hard to get flood data (most relates to ground level).
  • Hard to prove people will be safe.
All these things / factors  stack up against the normal bunch / collection of criteria / things that must be met to satisfy both the Environment Agency and the Local Planning Authority. 


In this instance there was a slight advantage as the basement on this site was more akin to a lower ground floor, being open on 3 sides, only being below ground level on the street frontage. 

However, it has still been necessary to make a detailed study of  site levels relative to the flood levels. Only in this way can SWEL provide mitigation measures when considering the risk involved. 

Environmental Permit Surrender - Newton Abbot

Environmental Permit Surrender - Newton Abbot 

Southwest Environmental Limited were approached by a Gentleman looking to surrender a Historic End of Life Vehicle License.

When a Licence or Permit is no longer required it has to be "surrendered", this is a process by which the Environment Agency check that nothing bad has happened on site, and the give the Ok for the Permit to be surrendered.

At the time of writing a strategy has been submitted to the Environment Agency that does not include for soil sampling. Soil sample is an expensive part of the surrender process.

Empty Oil Drums - Used for Storage of Scrap Metal


Soil sampling is often required when putting together a Site Condition Report. However, whilst this is useful at the baseline stage, it is not overly useful when surrendering a Historic Permit, especially when the site has had a very long industrial use extending 100's of year in to the past.

How do we decide in this instance who is responsible for any contamination (lead for example) that might be found in the soils? This is impossible to answer.

A desk based site condition report has been assembled that may prove this point. But the report is being scrutinised at present.

Environmental Permit Surrender

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment - Lambeth SW16

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment - Lambeth SW16

Acting on instruction from a repeat client Southwest Environmental Limited have carried out a daylighting assessment for a mews style development in Lambeth, London.

The concern here was not impact on existing neighbours but the provision of adequate light for future occupants. 

Sky Angel has a Strong Effect on ADF Values


An ADF value was calculated for each room with all assessed rooms demonstrating adequate lighting. 

There are a number of factors which effect the ADF value of a room, but the most important ones are window size relative to window size. 

Southwest Environmental carry out around 20 sunlight and daylight studies in London every year. If the design does not produce adequate light or excessive impact then we can offer design advice, which will normally rectify the problem. 

Sustainability & Energy Statement - Bristol

Sustainability & Energy Statement - Bristol 


Acting on instructions from a private client Southwest Environmental have prepared a Sustainability statement in support of a planning application in Bristol. The site lies in the Windmill Hill Area which is not overly far from Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station.

The proposed development sees the conversion of a a terraced house into two flats. The sustainability statement was produced and covers the carbon reduction (40%) as required by Bristol City Policies, and also looked in to Cycle Parking and Refuse Storage.

Cycle parking is an important provision as it means that future occupants may use their bike, rather than their car. This keeps them fit and also reduces traffic on the roads. As of February 2018 transport is the biggest single emitter of CO2 in the UK, even larger than the energy generation sector which is recently "over took".

Sheffield Hoops


Cycle parking is normally provided via the use of the sheffield hoop. These allow for an easy rest, and an anchor point when parking a cycle. However owing to the site layout, there was no room for sheffield hoops to the front of the property.

The 20% carbon reduction was met via a combination of energy saving measures and solar PV power generation.

Energy Statement Bristol

Flood Risk Assessment - Weston-Super-Mare

Flood Risk Assessment - Weston-Super-Mare

Based in Bristol Southwest Environmental Limited have recently carried out a Flood Risk Assessment for a Site in Weston Super Mare.

A large area of Weston Super Mare is low lying and is prone to flooding for tidal (sea) and fluvial (river) sources. In order to assess the risk, it is important to get hold of the best possible data which might indicate future flood depths on site.

Weston s Mare has good flood defences. 


Most of Weston Super Mare would flood in a serve tidal event, if the town did not have flood defences. But luckily it does! The problem is finding out how good these defences are. For example are the defences tall enough to keep flood waters out of the town.

Accurate Flood Risk Mapping can Help Produce a Good Report


The answer for the most part is yes. The flood defences in Weston Super Mare are tall enough to keep out a 1:1000 year tidal flood. But this depends on a few things:


  • Are the strong enough?
  • Have they been well maintained?
  • Will they be maintained in the future?
  • Will they be removed or changed at some point in the future?
The first two question above are fairly easily answered given access to the correct data. However, the the latter two will likley remain unanswered.






Surface Water Drainage Design - Newton St. Cyres, Devon, UK

Surface Water Drainage Design - Newton St. Cyres, Devon, UK

Southwest Environmental have produced drainage reports on a very rapid turnaround for a private client in Devon. 

Planning officers at Devon County Council concerned with the changes to site run-off characteristics pending an extension. 

Planning was due to be determined just a few days ahead of when Southwest Environmental were commissioned. We produced a report on a 24 hour turn around, this was then put before the concerned planning officer and the application as a whole was approved. 

Impermeable Surfaces were Removed


We later provided further details of the surface water scheme to be implemented. Including size and design of the soak away in accordance with BRE 365 and various options which might be considered under Part H of the building regulations . 


Site Investigation & Phase 2 Assessment - Islington, London. N19

Site Investigation & Phase 2 Assessment - Islington, London. N19

Acting on instructions from a corporate client Southwest Environmental Limited have carried out an Environmental Site Investigation in connection with a property acquisition / purchase. 

SWEL managed to deliver a reduced scope report, sufficient for our client's needs within a 3 week period, despite having trouble on site with buried services. 

The scope included the collection of 20 soils samples, with breaking out at each position. There were 3 deeper holes drilled, for installation of boreholes for gas and ground water monitoring. Although this was not carried out owing to time frame. 

Statistical Analysis of Results 


The site was operational at the time of the investigation, with high level of vehicular and pedestrian traffic,  despite this SWEL managed to complete site works within 2 days.

Soil testing was conducted on a rapid turnaround, and results were published as part of a contamination assessment (Phase 2). The site was found to have elevated levels Benzo-a-Pyrene, are carcinogen and as such will require remediation. 


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Green Travel Plan - Middlesex (Ealing)

Green Travel Plan - Middlesex (Ealing)


Acting on instruction from a client in Middlesex, Southwest Environmental Limited have prepared a Green Travel Plan, which has been submitted to Ealing Council for scrutiny.



There are various thresholds for travel plans above which a development will require to implement one. They can be asked for at planning or as a condition of planning.

A Green Travel Plan is a package of measures designed to reduce car use originating from new housing by supporting alternative forms of transport and reducing the need to travel in the first place.

It is important to encourage users to consider using sustainable methods of transport to help reduce the impact of car travel on the environment. By working in close partnership with the local council Council and other strategic partners, it is important to continue developing and improving the range of travel options available to site users.

The report was issued on a quick turnaround, and is now awaiting consideration by the local planning authority.