REC Ltd was recently commissioned by Lockwood Estates Ltd to undertake an Air Quality, Odour and Noise Screening Statement, as well as an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey in support of a proposed anaerobic digestion plant at Grange Farm, Spridlington.
The proposed development had the potential to cause environmental effects during its operational and construction phase. As such, it was necessary to identify any significant constraints to gaining planning consent. Air Quality, Odour, Noise and Ecological issues were identified as being the most likely to cause environmental impacts and were therefore warranted consideration at the planning application stage of the development. The nearest development or ‘receptor’, a residential area, is situated 70 metres from the site’s boundary.
The operation of the facility may result in air quality impacts as a result of atmospheric emissions associated with the combustion of biogas. These will be emitted through a dedicated 6m stack. There are no other significant pollutant sources associated with the plant.
Although atmospheric emissions associated with the combustion of biogas may increase pollution levels within the vicinity of the site, due to baseline conditions and proximity of sensitive locations any increases are unlikely to be significant. As such, it was considered that air quality issues should not be viewed as a constraint to planning.
Potential odour sources associated with the facility included exposed silage within the clamp, during transfer and inside the feed hopper, as well as expelled air during the filling of the digestate tanker. The actual anaerobic process itself is sealed and therefore does not form a source of odour.
The storage and utilisation of silage feedstock is likely to represent the most significant odour source at the facility. Due to the prevailing wind direction, location of closest receptors and nature of potential odour releases, impacts are unlikely to cause loss of amenity at any residential property in the vicinity of the site. As such, it is considered odour issues should not be viewed as a constraint to planning.
The proposed development has the potential to result in the following noise impacts:
- Noise and Vibration during the construction phase
- Noise emissions during the operational phase, including
- Noise associated with the operation of the engine; and
- Noise associated with any mechanical and electrical plant installed as part of the facility
Construction activities such as ground preparation, piling operations for building foundation preparation and building construction all have the potential to generate noise and vibration. Vehicle movements both on-site and on the local road network also have the potential to generate noise and vibration from haul road and highway surfaces.
The closest residential area lies approximately 70m from the site boundary. Given the scale of the proposed development, it is considered that noise and vibration during the construction phase are unlikely to cause significant impacts. Standard mitigation techniques, as outlined in British Standard BS5228 parts 1 and 2, may be utilised to reduce any effects to an acceptable level if required.
Although there are a number of potential noise impacts associated with the proposed development, it is considered acceptable levels of noise will prevail at the closest non-associated residential receptor. As such, it is considered noise issues should not be viewed as a constraint to planning.
The purpose of the Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey was to identify the major habitats present, the potential for legally protected species to be present and any additional ecological surveys likely to be required.
The habitat survey included a desktop review, consultation and a site visit. The results of this review were used to assess the ecological importance of the site. The potential for each habitat to support protected species was also noted.
A number of notable habitats were identified within the local area and coupled with local records these had the potential to support notable species such as birds, bats, badger and amphibians. However, the habitats within the site were assessed as having low to negligible ecological value thus appropriate reasonable avoidance measures were recommended to safe-guard sensitive habitats and ensure development could proceed without further investigation.
These included the erection of fencing to define access routes/working areas in order to ensure the root protection area of trees and hedgerow is safeguarded, as well as to avoid light spillage onto adjacent habitats.