Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Permit Application Basildon, Essex

Permit Application Basildon, Essex 


Acting on instructions from a company wishing the recycle batteries in Essex. Southwest Environmental are to prepare a permit application for a battery recycling facility. There were many environmental constraints on site, such as a nearby SSSI.


The process involves the splitting of batteries with the segregation of casings, metal plates and electrolytes for onward transfer.

The application was prepared an submitted by SWEL in under 2 weeks, with a great deal of detail being input to the Environmental Risk assessment to describe migratory measures etc.

Example detail:


"All containers are clearly labelled prior to filling. When a particular container or series of containers are full they are transferred off site for further recycling at other licensed facilities, at which point an outgoing transfer documentation is generated and a collection of battery sourced wastes are loaded on to a vehicle for onward transfer."




Environmental Permit Application Essex

Friday, 30 October 2015

Sunlight Daylight Assessment

Southwest Environmental are Environmental Consultants who regularly undertake Sunlight and Daylight Assessments in London, in this case this Assessment took place in Tottenham (N17).

The original plan was for the building to have 5 stories with an extra penthouse single unit on the fitth floor. This was a problematic layout owing to there being very little over shadowing pre-development.

Southwest Environmental were able to inform our client of the maximum possible building height based on the bRE 209 reduction criteria which was around 12 meters in this instance. Th height would change dependent of the scale and distance of the building in relationship to the affected window.




After redcuing the building height to 4 stories the calculations were acceptable, and the rpeort was issued in support of the application.

This report may be used in the appeal process to prove that 4 stories does not create adverse overshadowing conditions.

Environmental Consultants London

Monday, 5 October 2015

Fire Prevention Plan - Hereford

Fire Prevention Plan - Hereford 


Recent policy changes have resulted in the need for the majority of waste sites to produce and maintain a fire prevention plan, for their environmental permit.

A fire prevention plan sets out the site specific requirements for the storage of wastes in line with the relevant guidance. There are requirements for stack spacing sand fire rescue service access.

Stack Layouts must be Included
When a fire is extinguished it is often the case that large volume of fire water run off the site and on to surround land, or perhaps in to rivers. The fire prevention plan must set out measures that can be used to prevent this happening.
Stack Sizes must not Exceed Max Limits Imposed

These new requirement for fire prevention plans are applied regardless of past performance, and are being requested more and more often during environmental permit applications of any type.

Down Wind Receptors Must be Considered
The content requirement for a fire prevention plan can be considerable, especially during a bespoke permit application. The fire prevention plans produced by SWEL are for environmental protect matters only and do not deal with health and safety of workers or members of the public.

Fire Prevention Plan

Friday, 24 July 2015

Energy Statement - Nailsea, North Somerset

Energy Statement - Nailsea, North Somerset


Acting on instructions from a cobstruction company in North Somerset SWEL are to prepare an energy statement for a high specification home to the south of Bristol.

The residential development consists of a large hill side dwelling with terraces and swimming pool. 

The development is to be built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3. This would see emissions reductions required and levels of fabric energy efficiency above those specified in the building regulations.




The above axiometric projections were produced by Zebra Architects Worcester.

SWEL have prepared Sustainability and Energy Statements for projects all over the UK. We have experience in Code for Sustainable Homes up to Level 6, and BREEAM Excellent (including refurbishments).

Sustainability Consultants

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment - Rickmansworth

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment - Rickmansworth


It is fairly standard for LVIAs to be requested when large structures are built in a rural setting, but not so in suburban areas. SWEL were interested to see why a LVIA had been requested for a project within the M25 and sited within a developed area.

The residential project was unusual in its scale and design, however the building's novel form, and inclusion of features such as roof top gardens will make an attractive replacement in contrast to the existing industrial buildings.

Many Sensitive Visual Receptors in the Area

Sympathetically Designed
SWELspent 12 hours walking and cycling though the surrounding landscape to establish points of visibility, whether these were from foot paths, roads of one of the 2 no. SSSI sites in the surrounding area.

There are a great number of hedge rows in the area which contribute visual screening and these will be included in the ZTVs.

A ZTV (Zone of Theoretical Visibility) using computer modelling to deduce where the project will be visible from. Typically these a "bare earth" ZTVs which ignore vegetation and built screening. A ZTV which includes vegetated and built screening is far more time consuming to produce which is why they are often omitted from LVIAs, but a vital part of any LVIA.

Wooded Areas reduce Visibility Impacts

Visual and Landscape Environmental Impact Assessment

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Desktop Study - Worcester

Desktop Study - Worcester

SWEL have just completed a desktop study in the Rainbow Hill Area. This report was produced a a quick turnaround. The site in question is being developed for a commercial use which is a lower risk site use. However, teh site is surrounded my numerous contamination sources, a gas works being the most significant.

Gas works were often the site of gasification plants, where coal for heated to produce coal gas, and coke as a bi product. However there are also many harmful bi product produced often which were dumped on to the ground around the plants cause intense contamination.

Benzo-a-pyrene is just one of the many contaminants associated with gasification plants, its causes cancers of teh skin, when people are exposed to it externally, these cancers are likely to form in folds of the skin around the next where dust may collect.

Desktop Study

Monday, 22 June 2015

Surface Water Drainage Strategy - East Devon

Surface Water Drainage Strategy - East Devon


In proving a Surface Water Drainage Strategy to the planning office when submitting a planning application, it makes clear how surface water drainage will be handled within the new development.

Surface water drainage will have to be carefully considered when the project involves large areas of impermeable surfaces.

In this instance an artificial sports pitch surface was to be renewed in and the opportunity was taken to check the adequacy of the surface water drainage on site.

SWEL undertook attenuation calculation in line with the relevant guidance, but were careful to estimate an appropriate attenuation value for the pitch surface.

The current pitch surface would seem to be impermeable but this would not have been the case when the pitch was first installed. By research the subject SWEL were able to determin that the pitch sand (which would be free draining) had becomh contaimanted with fine grained soils (clays etc.) that had reduced its permeability and thus increases run-off potentially.

These characteristics had no doubt developed over the life spane of the exist surface and so to specify draining based on the aged, low permeability surface would have been to over specify.

Instead an average value was used between that of a new surface and that of the surface as was observed.

Legacy Drainage Plan, were used to derive current state of drainage.

Pitch condition reports were used to derive condition of surfaces.

High Quality Legacy Plans helped to facilitate the writing of the report.





Surface Water Management Plan

Geotechnical Investigation & Design for Solar Park - Somerset

Geotechnical Investigation & Design for Solar Park - Somerset

A renewable energy company approached Southwest Environmental as they were concerned that transformer bases incorporated within a new solar park in Somerset were sufficient to meet structural loading.

The solar park which extends to approximately 12 hectares was well under construction with the majority of panels installed, and the transformer bases constructed.

The site was heavily trafficed and access for difficult

most of the solar panels were already installed

lots of solar panels just what the UK needs

again - a large number of solar panels

The site was on the peats and silts of the Somerset levels, these are very challenging areas in which to build, with soils typically exhibiting very low strength values, and owing to the thickness of they superficial silts are infeasible for piled foundations.

Using an established method for the determination of soil strengths SWEL found that the proposed structural loading was very similar to the max allowable loadings for the soil conditions encountered on site. To that end a program of monitoring was suggested for a period of 18 months to span a wet season, and observed for movement, as a secondary option a piled foundation solution was recommended.

The above work was turned around with a 15 day working window, with sampling, dynamic probing, laboratory analysis and reported delivered within a tight time frame.

Geotechnical Somerset

Sustainability Statement - Bristol

Sustainability Statement Bristol

SWEL have recently prepared a sustainability statement for a project in Bristol. The report was wriiten to meet the demands of Bristol City Council, and contained measures to be implemented in order to meet requirements set out in local policy.

As with all our reports, the sustainability statement was written on a quicjk turnaround provided within 10 days of commissioning.

SWEl based our recommendations to suite the clients pre-existing design.

The scheme was a fairly typical residential change of use application.

The sustainability statement was submitted to Bristol City Council well in advance of stipulated deadlines, and the report was well received.

Sustainability Bristol

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sunlight Daylight Assessment - Lambeth, London, SE27

Sunlight Daylight Assessment - Lambeth, London, SE27

The Sunlight Daylight study has been carried out in accordance with  the recommendations of the Building  Research Establishment Report “Site Layout Planning for Daylight & Sunlight 1991”. This is the  standard adopted by a wide range of District and Borough Councils across the UK.

 The scheme was already sympathetically design by the architects in question when plans were forwarded to SWEL for assessment.



Calculations were carried out to assess impacts. The scheme showed at worst VSC and Sunlight at 84% of their former value and as such the reports recommendation as that the scheme was allowed to proceed.



Sunlight and Daylight Assessment Reports London

Flood Risk Assessment Hammersmith and Fulham (W6 9HB)

Flood Risk Assessment Hammersmith and Fulham (W6 9HB)


Acting on instruction received from an architect SWEL have prepared a flood risk assessment for a residential conversion. The scheme was well designed, and the site well placed (interms of level) so as to require the minimum of consideration with regards to resilient design.




High quality modelling data was used to provide a design finished floor level, that was at a very low risk of flooding, the report is being assessed at present with Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council, and based on our track records SWEL are confident that the report will be well received.

Flood Risk Assessment Reports

Monday, 30 March 2015

Flood Risk Assessment Dartmouth

Flood Risk Assessment Dartmouth 


SWEL were approached by a private land owner in Dartmouth, who had an old garage that they wished to convert to residential use.

A scheme was developed that saw a building designed to be minimally affected in the event of flooding. Ground floor living accommodation was not included in the scheme, instead the living accommodation was included only on the 1st floor.

The 1st floor accommodation was proven to above likely flood depths via the use of detailed flood modelling data, which showed the site to flood to a round depth of 0.6 meters in a very bad flood.

Despite a thorough report concerns were raised over flood safety, the main objections coming from the Environment Agency, and as such they were in a mind to refuse the application.

Despite the flood maps showing a depth of 0.6 meters they do not specify a duration for the flood. However thinking pragmatically this is only likely to last 4 - 6 hours owing to influence of tides, it was this concept put forward by SWEL and presented to district council's development committee, with a successful out come.

Such was the surprise at the persistent objections from the Environment Agency, that the application had some coverage by the local press.

Flood Risk Assessment Reports


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Environmental Permit Application - Hereford

Environmental Permit Application - Hereford


SWEL were commissioned to undertake two permit applications for a Plastic Film Manufacturer based in Hereford.

One of the permits was for a trunking depot, so primarily categorised as a waste transfer operation, the other involved the treatment of wastes, and as such required a the inclusion of codes for treatment covered within the permit.




The Environment Agency are becoming increasingly concerned with the risk posed by fire and as such each of these application was requested to be accompanied by a fire prevention plan. This not only borrows from fire prevetion, but also mitigation of run-off impact during the extinguishing of a fire.


Both applications were accompanied by and Environmental Management System and a Site Condition Report.

Environmental Permit Application - Progress

At present SWEL are collating information required for the application including planning permission and completion of all requests set out by the Environment Agency during pre-application discussions.

Professional Planning Objection - Lichfield, Birmingham

Professional Planning Objection - Lichfield, Birmingham - Into


A residents group from the village of Little Hay, Lichfield approach SWEL with concerns raised regrading the construction of a very large chicken factory, which was proposed to be within 500 meters of various residential and commercial properties.

Professional Planning Objection - Lichfield, Birmingham - Odour


Supporting documents submitted with the application showed that odour in particular was at very low levels, and would not affect surrounding properties, however remodelling of odour emissions by SWEL showed a very different picture.  


Professional Planning Objection - Lichfield, Birmingham - Dust

The dust impact assessment submitted with the application did not consider PM2.5 particulates, There is a wealth of evidence on the effects of short-term exposure to PM10 on respiratory health, but for mortality, and especially as a consequence of long-term exposure, PM2.5 is a stronger risk factor than the coarse part of PM10 (particles in the 2.5–10 μm range). All cause daily mortality is estimated to increase by 0.2–0.6% per 10 μg/m3 of PM10. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 is associated with an increase in the long-term risk of cardiopulmonary mortality by 6–13% per 10 μg/m3 of PM2.5 [1].

 So it was felt important that the inadeqaucy of the assessment was brought to the attention o the planning authority.


 Professional Planning Objection - Lichfield, Birmingham - Pathogens


And so though out the application we saw the continued understatement of environmental impacts on a local level, and in some cases there were impacts that had not been considered at all.Such as risk from air bourne pathogens (figure 1).



[1] Pope CA III et al. Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality, and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002, 287(9): 1132–1141.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Ship Recycling Project Management Cornwall UK

Ship Recycling Project Management - Intro


The Wayfarer was a motor fishing vessel which operated out of Newlyn Harbour that was built in 1959 approx. Sadly she has fell in to disrepair and Southwest Environmental Limited were commissioned as project managers for the environmentally compliant removal of the Wayfarer from Newlyn Harbour. This image courtesy of Simon Chapman, taken in 1999.

The actual removal of the vessel started after an incredible 18 months work of paper work most of which was generated as a requirement of an environmentally (legally) compliant removal. It is important to point out that although it would have been easier to break up the boat with an excavator, or sink her to create a reef, neither would have been legal.



Having previously managed the removal of the The Children's Friend, we made a start on what was going to be a challenging project.

Ship Recycling Project Management - Process


The site team headed up by an experienced shipwright started work on the boat in situe, she was leaning heavily against the quay, and we needed to move the boat up to the landward end of the pier. In order to achieve this the the boat was lightened as far as practical with the winch gear being removed, and a good portion of the wheel house.

As we found her.
Removal of the heavier items.
After the heavier deck items had been removed we prepared to move up the boat to the land ward end of the quay. The boat was re-floated and pulled along to her final resting place. Having been neglected for close to a decade the boat had lots of leaks and the re floating took a number of tides before success was achieved.

Waste segregation took place on the qaut side, and as you would expect from a company call Southwest Environmental, the Environmental Compliance Side of of the project was given much attention. This included the generation of significant quantities of  paper work relating to duty of care.

Finally after weeks of preparation, stripping out internal structures, engines etc. the hull was ready to be cut in to sections.

Nearly Ready to cut in to Sections
The stern is cut free.
Once 1 or 2 section had been cut from the hull, arrangements were made to lift the sections from the harbour. At this point we could only guess at how much the sections would weigh, as they are very odd shapes it is hard to tell, and we did have a bit of a surprise when we found that some weighed 20 tons.

Crane ready to lift.

Ship sections on low loader.
Her final voyage!
This boat unlike the Children's Friend  is not destined for landfill. The sections will be transported to Exeter Fabrications for compliant treatment and conversion in to ornamental structures. Give them a ring and buy a piece of maritime history.

Environmental Consultants

Traffic Impact Assessment - Essex

Traffic Impact Assessment - Grays, Essex

A waste recycling firm are applying for planning permission for a change of use. The change of use triggers the requrement for a traffic impact assessment.

First off the baseline conditions must be considered which involves a through traffic count on the surrounding road network.

Traffic Impact - Lots of Data

This data is then used to calculate likely percentage increases from the development.

The Traffic Impact assessment includes commentary on the modal split of traffic in the area and the trip generation associated with the proposed development.


Traffic Impact Assessment - Most counts are now automated.

When considering the different modes of transport it is important to consider that  a small number of HGVs are likely to represent a higher percentage increase, as opposed to a small number of cars the affect of which is diluted within the often high numbers of trips that are generated by cars on most roads on a day to day basis.

Traffic Impact Assessment

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Odour Impact Assessment & Odour Management Plan - Tiverton

Odour Impact Assessment  & Odour Management Plan - Tiverton



SWEL were engaged to provide supporting planning documents for a broiler breeder chicken shed near Tiverton, Devon. An odour impact assessment uses an atmospheric model to gauge the diffusion of an odour plume, plotting modelled odour concentrations on a grid, this grid is then used to create contours.

An odour impact assessment was required to assess odour impacts from the proposed shed which was to house 36,000 chickens. This may seem a large number but by today's standards this s a relatively small shed, sheds of 300,000 chickens are not uncommon.


Typically it is necessary to statistically manipulate results and give a US 95 or US 99 value for odour concentration derived balancing of model out puts and wind direction etc. but in this instance it was not necessary, worst case scenarios were modelled and found to be within accepted limits.

An odour management plan was also produced,  this is an operational document and is to be used by the site operator during the operational phase of the broiler breeder sheds. Odour control in large scale chicken sheds involves controlling  diet, watering and ventilation rates amongst other things.

Odour Impact Assessment

Odour Management Plan

Flood Risk Assessment - Exmouth

Flood Risk Assessment - Exmouth


If you find out that your site is in Flood Zone 3a this does not mean that you will not be able to build on / develop the site. There will be more paper work, and you may have to wait some time for the Environment agency to decide whether your site is in fact suitable, but in 90% of cases Zone 3a will not pose as an insurmountable barrier.


Such was the case with a site in Exmouth, near Exeter, Devon where an infill building plot, was partially within flood zone 3a. It was quickly established that a variance in ground elevation was the cause of this  incursion, and that likely ground raising associated with the proposed develop would effectively place the proposed dwelling above flood water levels.

Flood Risk

Sunlight & Daylight Assessment - Hackney (N1)

Sunlight & Daylight Assessment - Hackney


SWEl have just sucessfull completed a sunlight & daylight assessment for an unusual retrofit project in Cazenove (Hackney) London.


The project invloves the install of a further two stories on top of an existing building the design is modern and well considered to reduce daylighting impacts, with a tiered design with width decreasing upwards.



The surrounding buildings were subject to considerable overshadowing prior to the development, and as such only minimal reductions in enjoyed light were acceptable.

Sunlight & Daylight reduction post project were within limits set in the relavent guidance, and as such the project with minor alterations was recommended to proceed.

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment