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. 

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