Gardens & wildlife

Veolia 0000 index

1.  Licence to operate at Hollingdean Depot

The terms of Veolia's licence to operate at Hollingdean Depot, set and controlled by the government's Environment Agency, cover noise, odour, fugitive particles (dust) and pests. This is the best body to contact if you are suffering noise, odour or dust pollution from Hollingdean Depot.

Most of the Council's original planning conditions, set in 2006 to offer residents periods of respite from the operation Veolia's Hollingdean WTS & MRF, have now been abandoned. Brighton and Hove City Council is Veolia's main customer at Hollingdean Depot.

Unreasonable noise, odour and breaches of operating license

2. Life near the Dump (reporting pollution)












Click on the picture above for results of Environment Agency's investigation into odour

ODOUR FROM WTS? Tel. 0800 80 70 60 [free from landlines]
The Environment Agency

  • Not Veolia, Not The Council: report pollution to the EA.
  • Three separate complaints on 1 day prompt a call-out from the EA, which gives Hollingdean Dep its licence to operate & sets conditions
  • Whenever a complaint is logged, The Environment Agency will ask the caller to rate the strength of the odour on a scale of 1 to 6. However, their investigating officer already knows exactly why The Hollingdean Waste Transfer Station has been a nuisance to nearby residents ever since the facility came into operation early in 2009.
  • Is it worth complaining to Veolia directly?

    You can inform Veolia's Site Manager about odour &/or noise, phone 01273 544 205 or write to Hollingdean MRF/WTS, Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc, Hollingdean Lane, Brighton BN1 7BB. However, ensure that your complaint is made first to The Environment Agency 0800 80 70 60 so that it is logged by the licensing body which permits Veolia to operate.

3. It's worth lobbying your MP!

But to empower her to act (without assuming a role which would be more appropriate for a ward councillor) you need

  1. To express your concern as a National issue - not solely a local one e.g. the separation of food waste from plastic refuse or materials which would otherwise be easier to recycle is something which every Council in the country should be doing.
  2. Time your approach to coincide with National Media Attention, such as that given to the problem of plastic waste in the oceans by David Attenborough's powerful documentaries.

Environmental implications of BHCC's 30-year PFI contract with Veolia signed in 2003

Twitter Link to Caroline Lucas's question to Environment Secretary Michael Gove on behalf of Brighton and Hove

Caroline Lucas (MP for Brighton Pavilion)

"we are locked into a 30-year PFI contract with Veolia entered into in 2003. Veolia are refusing to change the contract so that a wider range of plastics can be recycled. The Council doesn't have the million pounds that it would apparently cost to put in the new machinery at the Veolia plant in order to enable a wider range of plastics to be recycled and therefore we are in a deadlock. Is that something I can encourage the leader of Brighton and Hove Council to write to you and..."

Michael Gove (The Government's Environment Secretary)

"Oh please do. And I'd be very happy to talk to Veolia about that."

See articles from Materials Recycling World [MRW] read by everyone in the recycling and waste management market to recycling officers in local authorities.

4. Planning History

BH2006/00900 Approved 19th June 2006

Construction and operation of a Materials Recovery Facility, Waste Transfer Station and Visitor Centre/Office building and ancillary infrastructure including gatehouse building and weighbridge, parking and highway revisions including creation of new access off Upper Hollingdean Road. | THE ABATTOIR, Hollingdean Lane, Brighton, BN1 7BB (Former Abattoir and Depot Site Hollingdean Lane Brighton).














5. Original planning conditions (June 2006) on approval of BH2006/00900

See the conditions which were first agreed to encourage the planning committee to grant approval and to protect the amenity of residents.

These were revised in 2013. Click here for details of conditions protecting the amenity of local residents which have now been dropped.

6. Consultations

CONSULTATIONS pages 31 to 34
External consultees;

residents' comments

local politicians' comments

Brighton Society and Conservation Advisory Group

Downs School Head's and Governors' comments

CONSULTATIONS pages 41 to 47
Internal consultees

Environmental Health

Planning Policy

Site selection process

Sustainability Team

Transport Planning and Policy

CONSULTATIONS pages 56 to 57

The potential environmental impact of the development proposed in Hollingdean, in terms of noise, odour, dust and air quality has been considered in detail in the Environmental Statement.

The council's Environmental Health Team are generally satisfied with the methodology in the ES and its conclusions that, provided the recommendations and mitigation measures as detailed in the ES are addressed, the development will not have a significant adverse impact on local residents with regard to environmental issues.

7. Campaign meetings and arguments

8. Approval of Hollingdean app BH2006/00900

APPROVED BY 8 FOR and 4 AGAINST on 19th JUNE 2006

Veolia's planning application for their Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot was approved by 8:4 at the above meeting on 19th June 2006 by members of the Council's Planning Applications Sub-Committee in spite of a very large number of objections from residents in nearby neighbourhoods as well as the Downs schools.

9. New planning register omits objections

The Council's updated Planning Register shows Veolia's supporting documents for BH2006/00900, but no letters of comment are displayed under the documents tab.

Out of a total of 2182 letters of comment, there were 2157 letters from residents objecting to the scheme, 23 letters from organised groups objecting to the scheme and 2 letters from individuals supporting the scheme.

It is fair to mention that in 2006 most letters of comment were submitted on paper. Digitising them would be costly, though as a piece of planning history the Council's current online record is rather one-sided in the arguments presented.

The above figures are summarised in section 6 CONSULTATIONS on page 31 of the AGENDA for the Special Meeting of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee held on Monday 19th June 2006 at Hove Town Hall. There are no AGENDAs dating earlier May 2008 on the Council's online Planning Committee Page, but here is a scan of the bottom of page 31 of the paper document:










Click on the above scan to see the comments on pages 32 and 33

10. Operation of WTS & MRF began in 2009

Hollingdean Depot  Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility started operating early in 2009 after a very noisy construction phase. Immediately noise became an evident disturbance to nearby residents and as the weather became hotter this was joined by nuisance from odour.

Longer operating hours were permitted when conditions made to give periods of respite to nearby residents were dropped in 2013 in spite of ongoing noise nuisance and odour escapes from buildings which are not well enough designed to contain either.

The Environment Agency has studied the problem and sees the only really effective solution to odour escapes as separate food processing elsewhere. Unwanted noise, specifically frequent periods of beeping, could be reduced if the Council could be persuaded to enforce its planning condition requiring 'smart reversing alarms' and if there were space on site to design buildings which are really fit for purpose.

11. Relaxation of conditions since 2013




















Original condition made in 2006 giving residents periods of respite from industrial noise abandoned in favour of operating hours WTS & MRF 15 hours per day 363 days per year

Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | extension of hours

1. Details of Veolia's Application BH2013/02219 to extend operating times at The WTS and MRF

2. A bad summer for local democracy

3. A rushed public consultation

4. Deficient summary of our objections and uncritical acceptance of Noise Impact Assessment

5. Concerns about local democracy: what can be done now?

6. Questions to ask planners & politicians

7. Two days' respite per year from industrial noise

8. Current Protection from Unreasonable Noise - where to address complaints about unreasonable levels of industrial noise and odour. What are the current restrictions on noise & odour pollution and Veolia's operating times?

9. Records of nuisances from noise and odour - description of the noise and odour nuisances which residents living near Hollingdean Depot have had to suffer, especially during May, June and July 2013 (to date).

10. The truth about odour, noise and the degree of disturbance to local residents

11. Private action to abate a noise nuisance - strategies used to discourage residents' complaints are (a) weighing them down with paperwork e.g. the obligation to keep a 2-week noise diaries, and (b) treating the complaint as "an allegation to be made in a Magistrates Court" while advising residents of the cost of a failed legal action.

12 Sites for waste management &
minerals production

12A.  Centenary Industrial Estate adopted as possibly suitable for waste management

The Waste and Minerals Sites Plan proposed as planning policy for waste management and minerals production for the Plan Area to 2026 were adopted on 7 February 2017. You can download the PDF documents from this page. The filenames of the PDF documents of interest to Round Hill are:

1. SoSIE (Schedule of Suitable Industrial Estates) Adopted version 1 201702061444 (LQ).pdf second document down in the list

  • page 3 section 1.2 - This shedule identifies existing industrial estates which may be suitable for waste management
  • page 27 shows a map containing Centenary Industrial Estate as one of these sites
  • pages 27 & 28 review considerations [e.g. There is an Air Quality Management Area AQMA adjacent to the site which extends down the Lewes Road, Proposals should consider the potential for issues relating to air qualirt, including those relating to vehicle movements which may affect the AQMA. The site is predominantly within a residentia area, with the closest houses being in the Roundhill Conservation area. Developers and operators are encouraged to pro-actively engage with the local community]
  • pages 27 & 28 review opportunities [E.G. potential to connect to major heat users & the national grid. Opportunity for co-location of waste management facilities. Located on land identified for industrial use.]

12B.  Say NO to commercial & industrial waste at Hollingdean Depot 2013-2027

2. WMSP (Waste and Minerals Sites Plan) Adopted version 2 201702031538 (LQ).pdf  first document in the list

  • page1 Safeguarding for existing and allocated waste facilities; the identification of potential locations for future waste facilities.
  • page 54 shows a map of Hollingdean Industrial Estate Brighton
  • page 55 and 56 review development considerations and opportunities
  • page 95 summarises the reasons for safeguarding Hollingdean Depot as a waste site
  • page 118 shows a map of the residential areas around the site and encircles the consultation zone for informing residents of future development.

The Waste and Minerals Site Plan prepared by ESCC BHCC & The South Downs National Park Authority considered the option of using the Hollingdean Depot Waste Transfer Station for commercial & industrial waste as well as domestic waste. The purpose of the "Sites plan" was to identify existing waste management facilities which could be developed to help to meet the need for an additional recycling and recovery capacity between 2013 and 2027.

The Round Hill Society's website was quick to publicise the controversial proposal as well as the continued odour nuisance we get from the black bag waste alone. The issues of food waste mixed in with the plastics which Veolia does not recycle within its current long-term contract remain current.

13. Environment Agency Investigations 2013/14

Odour Nuisance from Hollingdean Depot

Response from The Environment Officer Food waste & The building

Use of deodorisers could be making the waste smellier

Use of community composting by other Local Authorities













The design of the Hollingdean Waste Transfer Station building allows escapes of odour (smell) and fugitive particles (dust) to take place.

In a letter to affected residents outlining the results of their investigation, the government's Environment Agency disclosed: "The building was built without an Antranra airlock system, so there is no barrier between the waste and the open air when the doors are opened and this allows odour to escape. Veolia have also identified that odour has been escaping through the vents designed to let air into the building." The re-location of facilities for processing food waste is not a goal which could be achieved overnight without bringing the city's refuse collection services to a standstill.

Part of the investigation into the odour nuisance focuses on whether the use of deodorisers makes the waste smellier by making it decompose more quickly.

Various planning applications have needed an accompaying noise assessment, yet odour does not seem to figure in judging whether a site is suitable. I have never seen a document assessing this.

A survey to measure how much dust is escaping into our homes and gardens is also long overdue, though it is as if Veolia's main client would prefer this not to be known.
















14. Fire at Hollingdean Waste Transfer Station

Click here for notes from the public meeting held on 26th February 2020 following the fire at the Waste Transfer Station on 25th & 26th August 2019 which raised safety concerns among local residents.

See also: Demand for answers after Waste Depot fire
The Argus 6th September 2019

This page was last updated by Ted on 07-Sep-2020
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Gardens & wildlife