Air Quality Impacts on Ecology Delay Wealdon Local Plan

The ‘Wealdon Case’ initially relates to their Local Plan Allocation and can be summarised as follows.

Wealdon District Council (WDC) has identified over recent years that recreational and road traffic related emissions are detrimentally affecting the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This was reflected in WDC’s adopted Core Strategy Local Plan in 2013 which committed to assess all development that may increase nitrogen deposition in the SAC and that where this impact was determined to be significant, and in the absence of any identified mitigation measures, planning permission must be withheld. There was also a commitment to carry our further monitoring and research into the effects of nitrogen deposition in the Ashdown Forest SAC.

Prior to releasing the consultation document for the emerging Wealdon Local Plan, in March 2017, WDC issued a letter stating that the studies identified that the impacts of nitrogen deposition from road vehicle emissions are significant in the immediate vicinity of roads through the SAC. The studies showed high deposition levels and consequential ecological damage recorded. At the time of writing this technical statement, WDC was in the position of agreeing mitigation / compensatory measures for developments that could adversely affect the SAC before publishing the Local Plan document. The interim position is that any development should not cause any further vehicle emissions along roads in the SAC. This clearly could have a big impact on any proposed developments in the area. A further update on this position is expected this month.

REC participates in Greater Manchester Engineering & Manufacturing Forum

In the Summer REC attended the Engineering & Manufacturing Forum hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce at their Elliot House HQ on Deansgate in Manchester.

This coincides with recent news that Britain’s manufacturing sector is growing at one of the fastest rates in more than three years. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey showed that manufacturers remain positive about the future with a weaker pound following the Brexit vote resulting in strong orders at home and abroad, even though Brexit negotiations appear to have reached a low.

As a local business as well as a supplier of environmental consultancy services to engineering and manufacturing clients in the north-west, the E&M Forum is an important body for REC to be associated with and participate in – to help inform the environmental debate as well as wider business issues such as the impact of Brexit, and challenges around workforce recruitment.

Attendees included a number of SME businesses from around the north-west with discussion and debate lead by Chamber President – Wayne Jones OBE and Matthew Kershaw – the Economic Development Officer for Tameside Council.

REC’s Business Development Director – Rob Whittle commented ‘We’re a national environmental consultancy business with our roots in Manchester and the North West’

‘There are numerous engineering and manufacturing businesses based here and we’re well placed to update E&M Forum members on the ways to meet any upcoming environmental regulations as well as help them with specific environmental issues’.

New Noise Guidelines ProPG announced for Residential Developments

Lee F

Lee Faulkner, Principle Acoustics Consultant at REC and a Member of the Institute of Acoustics,   provides an expert’s opinion on the recently launched noise guidelines; Professional Practice Guidance (‘ ProPG ’) on Planning & Noise for New Residential Development.

” ProPG is the result of a joint collaboration between the Institute of Acoustics, the Association of Noise Consultants and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and at the end of last month, it was launched to support and provide a more holistic approach to acoustic design and management for residential developments. Since the Noise Policy Statement for England was introduced in 2010, a lack of associated guidance has meant there have been profound implications for noise relating to residential developments. Concerns were raised, therefore, around the potential implications on the quality of life of residents within developments where the impacts of noise may not have been fully considered.

The science around noise and vibration is well developed and understood. However, we’ve seen significant variations in the way noise impacts have been interpreted in relation to residential and other types developments. The introduction of the ProPG, along with the guidance of Noise experts, should enable developers to execute a more carefully considered approach towards the noise management process.

Although noise relating to new developments is already a material planning consideration, the ProPG acts as an overarching guidance; collating and providing clarity on existing standards for both external and internal noise criteria and how they should be interpreted in relation to new residential development.

A substantial benefit of the new guidance is in assisting planners and housing developers in site design from an acoustics perspective. This includes mitigation such as ensuring garden areas are buffered by the building envelope, and better orientation of rooms within houses such that living rooms and bedrooms are located on ‘quiet’ facades. The guidance includes for two sequential stages is assessment and design: initial noise risk assessment and a four-element systematic approach including good acoustic design, internal noise levels, external noise levels and other relevant issues.

Ultimately the introduction and application of ProPG means that developers must ensure their site has been designed with acoustics in mind, as part of a wider suite of other stringent disciplines such as drainage and flood risk. Initial Noise Risk Assessments are to be carried out at the outset of a project which will then be used to inform site design and any noise mitigation measures. Following this, an Acoustic Design Statement will be required that complies with the four-stage approach highlighted in the guidance to ensure good acoustic design.

Rather than hampering the progress of a development, ProPG should streamline the planning and development process for the developer and other stakeholders, confirming that noise has been considered properly and to best practice standards. Noise issues will be dealt with earlier in the project, thus hopefully avoiding any delays or issues post submission.

REC has already included elements of ProPG in its detailed Noise Assessments since the draft guidance was issued earlier this year and is further developing its acoustics services to ensure full compliance with ProPG. To assist clients further, REC will be hosting a breakfast briefing in August (more details to follow) to guide developers, planners and LPAs through the new guidance and advise them on any potential impacts to development considerations. ”

To download the full ProPG guidelines, click here.

REC’s property networking and curry night success!

Returning after the success of last year, REC’s Winchester office hosted a networking and curry night last week for its clients and the wider property and construction community in the South. REC’s Marketing Executive, Emma Prendergast, who helped organise the event, tells us more…

EP“Held in the prestigious Coriander Lounge on Southampton High Street, we were eager to repeat and better the success of last year’s event. This year, therefore, we extended the invite to the regional property and construction industry and were therefore delighted to welcome guests from the local RTPI, Women in Property, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Women in Construction.

Having attended a lot of networking events over the last few years, (some great, some not so great), I often find that more informal events create the best atmosphere for networking. Deciding to opt for a more laid back approach, we loosely based the night around networking, drinks and good food, which enabled both REC staff and ours guests to mingle more effectively. Networking events such as these are also perfect opportunities to raise money for charity, which we did in support of children’s cancer charity, Clic Sargent – a charity that we’ve supported over the last few years.

Along with the Coriander Lounge’s unrivalled dishes (try the Butter Chicken, you will not be disappointed), we were pleased to welcome such an eclectic mix of guests, ranging from a whole host of disciplines; including planning, engineering, property development and housing associations. With a full house on the night and raising just over £160 for Clic Sargent, we could not have wished for a better outcome.

Congratulations again to our winners, (attendees from Arch Associates, AKS Ward and Blake Morgan) and thanks to those of our guests who took part in the raffle, as well as the Coriander Lounge staff , who generously donated our top prize of an exclusive meal for two. The money raised on the night is equivalent to 7 hours of a social worker’s time, which goes towards meeting young people and children with cancer soon after their diagnosis and helping them to understand and cope with the emotional, practical and financial effects of cancer, through treatment and beyond.

It’s a pleasure to be able to host such events and meet members of the local industry in such a relaxed environment. Having only began our networking events last year, REC is delighted with the response it’s had so far – and we look forward to building on what we have learnt so far for future events”.

Below is some of the feedback we’ve had from our curry night. If you’d like to get involved in any of our future events, please get in touch by contacting Emma Prendergast at info@recltd.co.uk

__________________________________________________________________________________

“It was a great curry and the reputation of the establishment was well deserved.  I really enjoyed meeting new people and those I have met before, so for me it was a really well run, enjoyable evening. Thank you very much, again, and I look forward to the next networking opportunity“.

“No, thank YOU – good food, great company and excellent hospitality all round!  Thanks to REC for a great evening; excellent food, convivial company and a great chance to network whist raising money for charity”

“Thank you for last night.  The event was great and it was lovely meeting more of the REC team”.

 

REC Ltd to host Property & Construction Curry Night

Curry Night

To celebrate its continued growth in the South, REC is hosting a free curry and networking night at The Coriander Lounge in Southampton. Following the event’s success amongst clients last year, this year REC is pleased to welcome both its clients and the wider property and construction network.

Held in the tried and tested Coriander Lounge, the networking and drinks session will commence at 19:00 in the Matt Le Tissier suite, followed by a curry buffet at 20:00. The staff at the Coriander Lounge have kindly provided REC with an eclectic menu of Indian food for the evening; including a variety of vegetarian, gluten free and meat dishes.

Members of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce will be attending, along with professionals from other related associations; making this an excellent networking opportunity for anyone (new or experienced) within the property and construction sector, particularly town planners, property developers and architects.

REC will also be hosting a charity raffle on the night for Clic Sargent, a children’s cancer charity dedicated to providing support and improved care for young people and their families affected by cancer.

To reserve a spot on REC’s networking night, or for more information, please get in touch with Emma Prendergast at emmapren@recltd.co.uk or ring 0845 676 9303.

NB. Due to limited places and a sell-out event last year, we advice to book places now to avoid disappointment.

New EIA Regulations Call for ‘Competent Experts’

EIA Regulations
Regional Director, John Goodwin

Earlier this week, amendments made to the EU 2014 Environmental Impact Assessment regulations were enforced across the UK. The revised edition, Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2017, takes closer consideration of issues such as climate change and resource efficiency, as well as issuing new changes to monitoring and enforcement regulations. A fundamental addition to the directive is the requirement for ‘competent experts’ in the preparation and review of Environmental Statement (ES) Chapters, for example air quality, noise and ecology.

The revised regulations state: “In order to ensure the completeness and quality of the environmental statement, (a) the developer must ensure that the environmental statement is prepared by competent experts; and (b) the environmental statement must be accompanied by a statement from the developer outlining the relevant expertise or qualifications of such experts’.

REC’s Regional Director, John Goodwin, comments on the additional amendments, ‘Although no official guidance has been set yet on what constitutes sufficient expertise, an Environmental Statement could be rejected on the grounds that the works were not conducted by a ‘competent expert’. Looking ahead, it’s predicted that ‘sufficient expertise’ will most likely consist of a combination of relevant experience, qualifications and membership of the expert’s respective professional association.

UK environmental consultancy, REC, has inputted component studies and chapters to multiple EIAs across a number of sectors, particularly property developments and in support of developers, planners and EIA practitioners. ‘We invest time into developing the technical expertise of our staff and ensuring that they’re accredited to conduct work in their technical discipline’ says John. This includes noise, air, ecology, lighting, and contaminated land.

REC’s national, multi-disciplinary teams have a wealth of expertise and knowledge in compiling technical chapters, and are all fully qualified to professional standards, as well as established members of appropriate professional bodies. If you’re preparing an Environmental Statement and require assistance or a quote, then get in touch with one of our consultants today at 0845 676 9303

For full guidelines on the amended EIA directive, visit IEMA’s website for a free copy here.

 

Worried about UXO on site? We can help.

UXO
(C) West Midlands Police, taken from BBC News

News broke earlier this week over the discovery of a large WW2 bomb in Birmingham. With the Aston Expressway and parts of the M6 closed, as well as nearby residents evacuated, a major operation was underway yesterday to detonate what was believed to be 132kg of high explosives (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-39939925). The controlled explosion has now been successfully carried out, re-opening motorways and allowing people back into their homes. However, how do you know if your site is at risk from the discovery of unexplained ordnance? REC’s Geo-technical Manager, Colin Wardle, looks into how REC can help.

“Over time, REC has come across several cases of unexploded ordnance (UXO) such as the above, and has had much experience in working through solutions to budget and plan ahead for such occurrences. If you require a site investigation, then UXO will generally be considered within a Phase 1 desk based assessment (typically the first phase of any site investigation). When submitting proposals, REC looks at UXO and Bomb Risk Maps, particularly for areas that were heavily targeted during WWII (Liverpool, Manchester, London etc.).  If the area is deemed to be at risk, REC then contracts a specialist organisation to undertake a desk based risk assessment; undertaking a review of their database and assessing if there is significant risk from UXO.

Going forwards, the desk based risk assessment allows you to arrange for an UXO survey to be incorporated during site investigation work and to maintain a watching brief during any intrusive works that break ground (including the earthworks and foundation excavations).  If the threat of UXO is known of in advance then the costs to mitigate and to undertake watching briefs can be incorporated into the budget. However, if the UXO is unknown of in advance, then there are of course, increased costs; the logistics of the Birmingham site, for example, will have accrued additional costs with motorway closure, 500m exclusion zone and temporary eviction of residents in that zone.

With over 20 years’ experience and in-house geo-technical specialists, REC can help you prepare and ensure as much as possible that UXO is accounted for in site investigations. REC has undertaken many scopes of works on various WWII targeted sites, as well as sites previously used for target range and construction and testing of Home Guard improvised devices. From experts encountering UXO the size of transit vans, to coming across old Mortars whilst hand digging inspection pits, REC can pre-empt and help you plan ahead.”

Need more advice? Get in touch with our Geo-technical team at info@recltd.co.uk or ring us on 0845 676 9303.

 

 

 

REC Celebrates International Women’s Day

This week, REC has decided to #beboldforchange. In support of International Women’s Day this Wednesday, REC will be celebrating women across the business. With no story the same, we will be offering an insight into female achievements within the company, applauding women from all backgrounds and positions.

Thursday 9th March: Maria Lopez Vera – Air Quality Consultant

Maria LopezToday’s profile is on Maria Lopez Vera, Air Quality Consultant at REC Ltd in Winchester. Based in REC’s Winchester office, Maria is originally from Spain and relocated to the UK to complete her MSc in Resource and Environmental Management at the University of Lancaster. With a passion for travel and new languages, Maria is thoroughly enjoying her time in the UK, having met a wide variety of people and discovered many new cultures. After completing her masters in environmental sciences

What’s involved in your role as as Air Quality Consultant?
REC is a great place to learn and I have been involved in lots of projects; both for Air Quality and bigger, multi-disciplinary schemes. We prepare Air Quality Assessments for a variety of sectors including the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, and also carry out Odour, Lighting and Environmental Impact Assessments. My job requires good communication both internally and externally, and is technically challenging, overseeing dispersion model building, reporting, plotting figures, data collection and monitoring. The work is extremely varied – there’s certainly never a dull day!

What would you say your greatest achievement to date is?
With Spanish as my first language, my greatest achievement would have to be moving to Britain. I have showed myself that I am capable of studying and working abroad whilst speaking another language – and I’m really proud of that.

If you could have dinner with an inspirational female icon, who would it be & why?
I would have loved to have had dinner and a long conversation with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I think her dedication to those less fortunate was without limit and she is recognised for her contributions to humanity, globally. From my point of view, there is nothing better than giving love and dedication to people without looking for anything in return.

Monday 6th March: Manchester Ecology Team

Today’s profile starts at home in REC’s headquarters; delving into the lives of our all-female Ecology team in Manchester. Led by Senior Consultant, Olivia Winter, and supported by consultants Katie Bird and Celia Barlow, we hear about some of their greatest achievements to date, and what International Women’s day means for them.

Olivia Winter HeadshotOlivia Winter: Olivia is a Senior Ecological Consultant at REC Ltd. A first class graduate from Northumbria University and leads the Manchester Ecology team. Recently engaged, Olivia is shattering the boundaries of female stereotypes, training for Bolton’s Strongest Woman in July and aiming for Gold.

Katie Bird: Straight out of Bangor University, Katie overcame lots of competition to attain her first Graduate Ecologist post at REC only last May. Having worked in various jobs since she was 14, Katie is a great example of how dedication and commitment pays off; being promoted to Ecological Consultant in less than 10 months. Originally from Wigan, Katie says she spends most of her time ‘eating and watching movies’ (don’t we all?!).

celiaCelia Barlow: Hailing from the outskirts of Stockport, Celia is the Ecology team’s latest recruit. With a degree in Biology and a particular interest in reptiles and amphibians, Celia recently travelled to India and is vice-captain of the women’s lacrosse team for Norbury.

How did you all get into Ecology?
C: I grew up near to Lyme Park, which is part of the national trust. Interested in wildlife from a young age, I knew then that I wanted to be an Ecologist then – now I get do my favourite past time for a living.

K: After undertaking a two month internship at REC across all departments, I enjoyed Ecology the most, by far. Gaining priceless experience working alongside Olivia, I knew then that the role was for me.

What does International Women’s Day mean for you?
O: International Women’s Day for me means continuing to challenge stereotypes, pushing boundaries and celebrating achievement. In many parts of the world, opportunities for women are still limited, so it’s important that we applaud female achievement throughout the workplace.

How does it feel to be part of an all-female team?  
C: It is an enjoyable working environment and a first in my career so far!

K: It is amazing to be part of such a highly respected all-female Ecology team and I hope that we can provide inspiration to other young women looking to pursue careers in Ecology too.

If you could have dinner with an inspirational female icon, who would it be?
K: Diana Ross – inspirational diva and superstar at the age of 73.

C: Rosie Woodroffe (listed on 2015’s BBC Wildlife “Power List”, she has recently carried out a lot of research into badgers and the spread of TB).

O: Donna Moore –2016 World’s Strongest Woman and is based in the UK. Strength sports remain male dominated, with many people thinking that girls shouldn’t have muscles. Women like Donna pave the way for women to lift, being an inspiration to us all and demonstrating that we can do just about anything we put our minds too.

What would you say your greatest achievement to date is?
C: Carrying out my MSc in Wildlife Conservation. Here I undertook my research dissertation on survey methods of reptiles and amphibians in the Peruvian Amazon. Whilst carrying this research out and working with NGO Fauna Forever, I recorded 99 species of reptiles and amphibians using multiple survey methods.

K: Gaining a first class honours in environmental management undergraduate masters whilst facing my difficulties with dyslexia.

O: I was nominated for the Women in Construction Rising Star Award 2017, which encapsulates what I am proud of most. Less than 2 years out of university and I have progressed from a graduate to a senior consultant leading the Manchester team. I have faced many challenges along the way and this award has taught me not to give up!

To find out more about International Women’s Day and the 2017 campaign, click through to their website here.

Thanks to REC’s Ecology Manchester team for helping with this article. If you want to get in touch with an Ecologist or need any advice for ecological considerations on a development site, email ecology@recltd.co.uk or ring us on

0845 676 9303

REC sponsor Cambridgeshire Chamber Construction & Property Breakfast

At the end of last week,  REC sponsored the Huntingdonshire Construction and Property Breakfast at Alconbury Weald.

A bi-monthly gathering at the Alconbury Weald complex, over 50 local delegates from the property and construction community came together on Friday for networking, discussion and bacon sandwiches.

As part of the session, REC’s Regional Director, James Patmore and Geo-Environmental Consultant, Richard Hodkin, and Business Development Director, Rob Whittle presented and led a discussion around local market conditions and environmental considerations relating to property development centred on ecology and land quality.

REC opened its Cambridgeshire office in the Alconbury Enterprise Campus at the end of 2015, and with an ongoing commitment to the region and developing the team, the office has recently expanded to become multi-disciplinary, welcoming new team members and clients. Thus, with a local and growing Cambridgeshire regional office, sponsoring the Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast for the local property and construction community seemed like a natural step.

‘We were delighted to welcome so many contacts through the Chamber from local property and construction businesses to the event’ said Rob. ‘The discussion about the local market was very positive and it’s a testament to property and construction in the region, and we’re pleased to be part of that.’

REC is committed to supporting events locally, as well as delivering seminars for CPD to aid members of the development community. Our next collaboration will be a seminar in conjunction with the RTPI about Ecology Considerations in development and planning on 23rd March, followed by Greater Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce Property and Construction lunch at Hotel Football on 24th March.

REC Ltd announces two seminars in association with the RTPI

REC Ltd is pleased to announce two upcoming seminars addressing the key issues of contaminated land and ecology, in association with the Royal Town and Planning Institute (RTPI) in Scotland and Manchester respectively.
Part of the Concept Life Sciences Group, UK environmental consultancy, REC Ltd has been working with developers, planning advisors and local planning authorities for over 20 years. The upcoming seminars will look at anticipating the environmental issues that project stakeholders face early on, ensuring delays in the planning process are avoided.

Joining forces with RTPI Scotland for the first time, REC’s Principal Consultant Phil Thompson and Technical Director Owen Stevens, will be looking at contaminated sites and the various challenges they present from a planning perspective.

REC has teamed up with RTPI North West to deliver a briefing at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, looking at key ecological issues affecting development schemes. Hosted by Head of Ecology, James Patmore, the talk is aimed at developers and their various advisors.

Rob Whittle, Business Development Director for REC Ltd, says ‘Working in association with the RTPI enables REC to continue its commitment in assisting planners and addressing environmental considerations for development schemes. Ultimately, seminars such as these allow for early consideration of core environmental issues, enabling planners and their clients to develop robust environmental and mitigation strategies.’

‘Assessing Ecology Constraints – The Importance for Planners’– Thursday 23rd March @ Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 08:00 – 10:00.

‘Assessing Contaminated Land Constraints – The Importance for Planners’ Date and time to be confirmed @ City of Edinburgh Council.

For more information and to register for either of the above events, please go to http://www.recltd.co.uk/about-us/events/.