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The following is a complete transcript of the meeting organised by Brighton and Hove City Council on 23rd June 2005 at the Downs Infants School to give information about how they were processing Onyx's (now named Veolia's) planning application and to allow experts representing Onyx to speak about the anticipated impacts of their scheme for a Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot Brighton.
Officers from The Council included Jenny Rowlands (Director of Environment), Martin Randall (City Planner), Caroline Dwyer (Assistant Director for Sustainable Transport), Judith Macho (Assistant Director for Public Safety) and Gillian Marsden (Assistant Director of CityClean).
Representatives speaking for Onyx (Veolla) included John Collis (Project Director), Roger Barrowcliffe (Meteorology & dealing with air quality) and Richard Morrison (consultant dealing with traffic).
[There were many people outside who could not come in due to fire regulation limits.]
Jenny Rowlands: Hello. I'm Jenny Rowlands. I'm the Director of Environment for BHCC. I'd like to welcome you all here. The aim of this evening is to give you information from the Council in terms of the checks and balances that we apply to each and every planning application that we receive. And also, so that you are not terribly frustrated because we are not allowed to speak on the detail of the application for this facility - we're not able to say whether we feel it's a good idea or a bad idea - we have invited the applicant Onyx here so that the applicant and their experts can give you detailed answers to the questions you've probably got about how the facility would be run. So we're going to try to do this in two parts. And I'm hoping this evening that we'll give you the information that many of you have been asking for via email and in your letters, particularly your letters of objection. Perhaps it's fair to say that if I had heard some of the things you've heard, I would be very concerned about the facility as well. I'm not sure that everything you’ve heard is true and I hope that at least this evening we'll get to the bottom of what is and isn't happening in the proposed plan. And I'm also not sure that you've heard about all the tests the Local Authority has to apply when it looks at an application. So I'm hoping that you'll get the chance to ask all your questions after we've given you a presentation on what we do as a Local Authority. And then after Onyx has done a presentation on what they are proposing in their application. I must apologise for the lateness of the letter that was sent out to be sent out some time ago. And there's an issue with the clearing house it went to. I know that some of you had received information about the public meeting last week because we put flyers around and it was also in The Argus, but that's not good enough that you only got a few days notice. And we have already talked to people who can't make it tonight. And we'll run a smaller meeting at their convenience, so they can catch up on the facts as well. So I do apologise about that.
Tonight I've got four out of five of my assistant directors with me to talk about the different elements of the scheme. And I hope that we will show you that there is a genuine intention here to share as much information as we can at this point in the application. The first person whom I'm going to ask to speak is Martin Randall. And he is the City Planner. He can give you detail on the application and the process it goes through, but he can't talk about what he thinks of the application. Once people have spoken and I think it is important to let people present their information, there will beas much time as you want for questions. And because some people find it intimidating to speak at meetings of this size, we did say in our letter that once we've had the formal part of the meeting, the officers and Onyx will stay behind so that you can talk in smaller groups about the particular things you might want to raise.
David Lepper: [Request for a date for a further meeting next week for people outside]
Martin Randall: As Jenny said, I'm the Council's City Planner and I thought it would be helpful to talk about the process of determining this planning application. I really hope you'll understand that I can't express an opinion on the relative merits of the application and I can't get into a detailed debate on the pros and cons of this scheme. What I can do is talk about how we're dealing with the planning application. I can talk about the overall planning framework and absolutely vitally, I can listen to the views that you're expressing tonight. Just to start with the basics, as you know in February (2005) we received this planning application. The construction of a Materials Recovery Facility and Waste Transfer Station, a Visitor Centre and Office building and related infrastructure and highways work. The application itself includes the plans of the development, a supporting statement, a sustainability statement and a design statement. It also includes an Environmental Assessment, which looks at landscape, traffic, air quality, noise, land use, contamination, hydrology and waste. My colleague will talk in a minute about how we go assessing several of those important factors. So where are we? Well, up until now what we've been doing is consulting on this proposal as you are aware and evaluating the responses of all the consultees including all the members of the public. As a result of that, what we've done is to ask the applicant for further information on a series of issues and we're now waiting for a formal response to that request. The issues include traffic and transport, the best practicable environmental option, design and landscaping, ventilation and sound insulation, and issues like the ecology of the site. As a result of this, in process terms, it's very likely that we will ask the applicant to amend the scheme. The amended scheme will then be formally advertised and you will have the opportunity to comment formally again on the amended scheme. An important factor in determining the application will be the Development Plan Framework. Again the reason why we've got an application at all is that the emerging Waste Local Plan has identified the site as a suitable location for a Materials Recovery Facility and a Waste Transfer Station. The Waste Local Plan itself is at an advanced stage, and has been the subject of a Public Inquiry. The Waste Local Plan is also supported by adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance for the site which sets out the detailed planning framework around what we expect to see here. None of that means that and scheme for a WTS or MRF would automatically secure planning permission. We've also got a duty to sonsider the scheme against the requirements of our wider local plan for the city, to weigh up all the material planning consideratins, before we make a recommendation to our Councillors. The application will be determined by the City Council's planning application sub committee. The sub committee meets every three weeks. We don't have a committee date as yet. [Circulates a handout on the planning process: how to make a representation].
Caroline Dwyer (transport assessment) Hello. I'm Caroline Dwyer. I'm the Assistant Director fof Sustainable Transport. The first thing I'm going to do is just outline what our transport objectives are for the city. These are across the whole city. The pricipal objective is to reduce road danger for all users. We do that in two main ways. One is an evidence-based way of gathering information which we compare against National trends and incidents to evaluate road safety risks on our roads. And we have then target based programmes of accident remedial schemes and also educational training and publicity campaigns. The second way we do this is safety by design. And in all new traonsport schemes we carry out an independent safety audit to make sure that schemes are designed to the highest possible safety standards. We aim to reduce road traffic, congestion and pollution across the whole city. There's a huge amount of balancing to be done to achieve that , but all our schemes are aimed towards that and we have actually had a high level of success so far. [Intervention from Jenny Rowlands to deter hecklers]. We work in partnership and that includes the police and emergency services, the transport operators, local groups and of course the public utilities. We try to raise awareness of the issues and help provide people with information so that they can make choices about how they travel. We try to ensure that our transport policies are compatible with the Council's own planning policies and by doing this we try to make the city more accessible, contributing to and supporting the wider objectives of the city to make it a healthier, safer, cleaner and more prosperous place. That's the general picture. Now when we are considering a planning application there is National Guidance about what we have to take into account. On applications that have particularly severe transport impact or are very large scale, then we require a transport assessment to be carried out. And this is carried by the applicant, that has to have regard to certain things. So the transport assessment is required to demonstrate that the proposals have been checked against national, regional and local transport policies, that the area is considered in which the impacts may occur. So transport impacts can clearly be over a wider area than just the application site. To assess levels of net change in traffic movements, particularly any new traffic that is generated. And to look at the origins and destinations of traffic distribution and the routes which vehicles will travel on. So that's the assignment of vehicles. The Transport Assessment also has to consider the times of day when vehicle movements will be at their highest. This clearly varies for different parts of the application and different locations have different needs. Assess the road safety implications. Ensure that adequate provision is made for pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers. And what the Local Authority will do is to check that the Transport Assessment has taken all these things into consideration, that they've been done properly and in accordance with all the professional guidelines and standards.
Member of the public: THIS MEETING IS A FARCE! It should be reconvened.
[She is shouted down.]
Vote to abort the meeting. Most want to stay. Jenny Rowlands gives a guarantee is to find a much larger venue.
Victoria Morgan - my name is Victoria Morgan. I live in Hollingbury Road. I'm a member of the local community. This is going to affect my life, my way of living, my house prices, possibly the condition of the foundations of my house and the road. We are all members of the local community and we are all here because we're concerned. And we should have a proper venue where all the community can be together to speak with one voice. And this I think is pathetic. [Applause]
Jenny Rowland: I've got officers ready to tell you about noise nuisance and air pollution and then Onyx are going to just talk about the facility they're proposing for a few minutes, and then we're going to open up the floor.
Member of the public: I think Jenny's absolutely right. Can we just please listen to this presentation. Because some of Onyx and some people have come to listen to us so could we please just have this meeting. I would like to say though personally I have not received and invitation. I live near the development. I think it is absolutely appalling that we have not received invitations. You've had enough time. This is the kind of thing that makes us angry.
[Short break for people who want to go. Promise of another meeting]
Jenny Rowlands: I'm going to get John Collis the project director of Onyx to speak briefly and then open up to the questions. Before I do that, I'm just going to ask Martin Randall just to make really clear what this meeting is and what this meeting isn't because lots of people want to know how their views will be made clear to the elected members of the planning committee.
Martin Randall - this meeting is not the formal part of the consultation as far as planning is concerned which means that the second and most important thing I must say to you is that if you want to make a representation, please do so. Write it down and submit it. Because that's the formal way of getting your view into the planning process.
Project director of Onyx: John Collis: Good evening. My name's John Collis. I'm project director for Onyx South Downs and I'm the applicant. From the point of view of what we are doing, we are developing an integrated waste management system and this is just one of the facilities within that system. As you can see, we have outlined there the extremties of our site. And you can see, it is a bit of a peculiar shape with a foot on the bottom. And it is next to the Council Depot. With regard to traffic, I have seen a lot of the information which is circulating, but relating to this specific planning application, we're going to generate 33 loads that move on a daily basis. What happens is that the Council continue to collect the waste as they do. They will drop it off at our depot. They will drop off the recyclables at our depot. And we will segregate the recyclables into their component forms and they will leave the site on articulated lorries. The disposable waste will leave the site on articulated lorries as well. The route is not down Ditchling Road, as a lot of statements have said,. The route will be out on Hollingdean Road, under the railway, out to the gyratory 33 going in and 33 coming out. Route Hollingdean Road, under the railway bridge. out to the gyratory system. The traffic generation that is there at the moment will continue . The traffic movements will be very similar to those which are current. And our articulated lorries will be 6 axle lorries. They will carry 44 tonnes. And they will be 33 per day and they will be dispersed during the day. The site itself has 3 units on it. On the left hand side is the MRF which is nearest to this school. The white spot in the middle is a roundabout. The entrance to this site is just above the roundabout. And you can see the weighbridge is marked red. And we are redelineating the road which accesses the railway bridge so that it curves round and accesses squarely to the bridge to make it a much safer junction. And the road which comes away from the bridge, which is Hollingdean Lane is being redelineated as well so it connects into Hollingdean Road further along Hollingdean Road. And you can see there is a distribution roundabout in that road. The entrance into the site is off Hollingdean Lane. What we are doing is realigning this road - because at the moment the road comes out of the railway bridge and goes straight up here - so the access to the railway bridge is square. One thing about the traffic that you need to understand is: that site has used for a number of years to garage buses, it has had Magpie. It has had other traffic focused on it. So in reality when we say we are adding 33 return journeys to the site per day, it is actually displacing a number, but we haven't quantified it. I'm mentioning it to you today. [Challenge by member of the public about number of movements]. It is 33 vehicles going in and 33 coming out. The building height is 15 metres, but it isn't from the current ground level. We are cutting right into the current ground level. And as far as the school is concerned, our facility is 20 m away from the end of playground, and12 m below the level of playground
Member of the public: When you say movement, you can’t equate a Magpie movement with a 44 tonne lorry. It's a different size. A 44 tonne lorry is much more detrimental to the environment than a metro. And these are going up & down our roads, outside our houses, past our children, past our schools, you have to accept this.
John Collis: Can I just stop you there. They will not come along Ditchling Road. My lorries will all go the route that I said, which is Hollingdean Lane, under the railway bridge, out to the gyratory system and out to the Lewes Road.
Jenny Rowlands: when it causes a lot of flurry like that - is that because you don't believe the route? ....You're saying that that's the route that children take to get to school.
Member of the public: my question really is has anybody yet attempted to drive 66 of your 44 tonne lorries underneath that railway bridge? It might be a good idea to go out and do a run-test and just check the feasibility of getting through that bridge at all times of day including when people are trying to get to work in the morning. It's already a bottleneck.
Member of the public: on the BBC news this week, Brighton was reported as having some of the highest levels of traffic pollution in the country. 33 lorries coming in and 33 going out is not to my mind an attempt to reduce traffic and thereby pollution.
John Collis: May I just say relating to that question. It is entirely compatible. Because at the moment, the refuse vehicles leave the city, they drive along the A27, they drive down the A26 to Beenham, discharge their load an drive back again. That is many more traffic miles than the 33+33 traffic movements that we're talking about. And also, these articulated lorries will carry 3 or 4 time more waste per mile driven than the refuse collection vehicles. So from an environmental viewpoint, it is hugely beneficial,
Richard Morrison (consultant dealing with traffic): To answer the question about vehicles under the bridge, the bridge is 4.5 m high at its highest point. Currently, the meat market has refridgerated artics coming to and from the site every single day while it's operating, That bridge has always been used by large vehicles. The 33 movements in & 33 movements out happens across the whole day. It's not one big lump...one hit. Over an 11-hour period it's 3 vehicles per hour.
Members of the public: [re playground pollution] you assume that because the MRF is lower, it’s better. Noise pollution and air pollution go up as well as sideways. I would expectv the design of the building normally to be on the same level as its neighbours. If there is any air pollution, where will the filttered air go out? If it does go out and there's a wind drifting towards or that particular day there's a mistake, there's an error, the filters aren't changed or something, will that end up in the playground. If you look at the diagrams, any sort of upward movement followed by a wind would blow any waste air straight into the playground.
Member of the public: my question is for the Council. Why is it acceptable for the applicant, who has a clear financial vested interest in the project going ahead, to be the one person to present the evidence that that project is going to be safe? Why isn’t the safety evidence independent? Any company with a vested interest in a project going ahead can always find experts to say that what they want to do is OK. We all know that. Has there been an attempt to build one of these Waste Transfer Stations anywhere else in the country in an area of high density housing and right next to a primary school. Has there been a follow up to examine the health effects on those people and those children?
Roger Barrowcliffe from ERM. My technical background is in meteorology. The specific question that I was called to talk about was the issue of emissions from facility itself. In doing the assessment, I concentrated mostly with respect to air pollution, on the vehicles, because that is much more important. What is it which would come out of a WTS that would alarm you? It’s waste. It’s stuff which we deal with every day. It could be pathogens - biological organisms. There is no evidence that I’m aware of which suggests that being close to a facility of this kind has any impact on local concentrations of biological organisms or health. It’s really the kind of exposure that we get every day in our lives. So there’s no additional exposure. Overriding that is the fact that a modern facility such as this is designed in such a way that odour releases are thoroughly trapped and filtered and John’s company and others have practical experience of working with these facilities. And if you go to one - a modern new one - and stand outside it, I guarantee you that you won’t see odours or anything else which would offend you. [laughter]
Member of the public: it looks to me that you haven’t done a risk assessment on the plant itself. You’ve focused on the vehicles, which is absolutely wrong. If you do no more than half an hour’s investigation on the Internet on MRF facilities, you’ll find that it’s not the rosy picture that you paint. I suspect that you haven’t assessed it properly. And I think that’s a huge failure and that you should do so.
Roger Barrowcliffe: In response to that, I’d say that I spend a great deal of time looking at waste management facilities of all kinds, incinerators particularly, composting facilities and also Waste Transfer Stations. All the evidence suggests, that I’ve seen, through reports issued by DEFRA, composting associations, other people, for & against them is that the concentrations of the kind of organisms that you might be concerned about around these facilities are at background levels.
Keith Taylor: Could the Air Quality Management Area be extended onto the site and closer to the school?
Roger Barrowcliffe: The Air Quality Management Area is of course entirely the province of the Local Council to declare, and I couldn't possibly have any influence on that at all, because I'm just a citizen in that debate as you are. My job in this case is just to assess the impact on air pollution of the facility as proposed. I provide data. Other people judge whether it's acceptable or not. My stance is neutral on this, and lest anyone think that my independence is at question, might I point out that I work for Residents' Actions Groups as well as developers. So I'm available for employment to people of all shades of opinion because the answer I give is the same in all cases. My job depends absolutely on me being impartial and giving sensible advice. The moment that I deviate from that, I'm out of a job. The question was answered in that I cannot influence the AQMA.
Keith Taylor: Are you saying that the report acknowledges the risk that the AQMA will be extended if this project goes ahead?
Roger Barrowcliffe: what I said was that the AQMA exists close to this facility. That's unarguable.
Judith Macho: My name's Judith Macho. I'm assistant director for Public Safety. Within my team I have Environmental Health and Licensing Officers, and they have a specialist team who cover pollution issues which look at noise, smells, air quality issues. Perhaps I can very briefly say what we do when we look at a planning application. And then if that's appropriate to you I could look at some other statutory powers that we have in addition to the planning application and I could also touch on the Air Quality Management Area as has been mentioned. The planning application when it came in included an Environmental Impact Assessment and that's being looked at by officers within my team. And they examined that report for issues relating to noise, dust, smells, air quality and contaminated land. Now they checked that proposal against national policies and guidelines. What they will do then, and that process is going on at the moment, is clarify any issues that they are not happy with. They will go back to the applicant, they will look at other sites, they will raise issues of concern, they will check data. And only when they are satisfied that they have done that very thoroughly, they will then pass their comments through to the planning officer and those comments will include the recommendations. Now that recommendation could be to refuse or it could be to give consent with or without conditions. Those comments and recommendations will be in the planning report and you will see that because that is a public document. So that's what we do when we are assessing a planning application. In addition to that, those officers have statutory powers to deal with what is called a statutory nuisance. And that - issues of noise and smells and air quality which would affect you in your home - If we receive a complaint, we have a statutory duty to follow up and investigate that complaint. What I am trying to explain is the process we go through before, but I thought it might be helpful to know other powers that we have. So we have a duty to investigate if we receive a complaint, and if that is evidenced - and we've witnessed evidence of a statutory nuisance affecting you in your home or in your garden, we have a duty to take action.
Member of the public: you have completely over-intensified that site.
Judith Macho: I tried to explain that we have a duty to take action if we evidence a statutory nuisance. In addition to that, those officers have a responsibility to assess air quality. We do that on an ongoing basis across the city. We have monitoring sites. We do assessment and monitoring to national guidelines against seven particular pollutants. You will know, as you have said, that we have in a certain part of the city through our monitoring and assessment achieved levels which are predicted to exceed the government's guidelines. And therefore we have declared one air quality management area within the city. Now there are 137 of these across the country, so we are not alone in doing that, and like these others ours is around traffic pollution. Having declared an Air Quality Management Area, we have a duty to produce an action plan to improve that air quality and that is ongoing at the moment. Because the air quality management area was declared because of traffic issues, that is being strongly linked to the local transport issues and that is being worked through at the moment. So that's just a quick summary of how we look at the application and some of the statutory powers that we have got.
Member of the public: I've just received an email from Onyx and it said that our independent investigations have been done on noise pollution in the area, air quality assessment in the area, emissions, local environment - how it would affect us - and its said that they've all been found to be negligible. Who did this report?
John Collis: from the point of view of air pollution and distribution of that, Roger who has just spoken - he did that report. From the point of view of noise assessment, and that report - it was done by Ashley Bird who is patiently waiting to speak to you.
Member of the public: no, they haven't got the equipment in yet to measure particulate matter. They've not done that. They couldn't do it. That's not been measured.
Member of the public: my question is directly related to this. Has the Council or the applicant done a Peer Review Study. That means a study in the same kind of area somewhere else in the country with a school and a residential area which is so closely knit to this proposed site?
Judith Macho: what I can say is that my officers have visited other sites similar to this application. I'm afraid I don't know the details. As I say, we are going through the assessment process at the moment. So the information they have picked up from those visits. The information they get from those visits will enable them to carry out the very detailed assessment as I tried to explain earlier on. So, yes, they are visiting other areas and they are checking with other authorities where these sites are in existence.
Member of the public: These sites would have to be the equivalent...
Judith Macho: I absolutely agree and yes of course and that's taken into account by the officers. Clearly, you would never get a completely identical site. So that is taken into account when they do the assessment.
Member of the public: will that information be made available?
Judith Macho: As I've said what will happen is that the recommendations and the comments from my officers will be in the final report that goes to the planning committee and is a public document.
Member of the public: Has the Council got the right in-house expertise to determine the application?
Judith Macho: I do have a team of specialist officers, but clearly as we're working through the application if we feel we don't have the right expertise, we would make sure that we use that, but we will do the professional job, we do know the pressures that we're asking.
Member of the public: Has the Council got people experienced in the assessment of industrial sites?
Judith Macho: Yes, we do. Yes.
David Lepper: It's back to transport again. I don't think, Mr Collis, that you've done yourself any favours tonight by first talking about 33 movements per day when you really meant 66 movements per day, and it could even be more since there are documents that say more. And I don't understand how anyone in their right mind could ever consider putting more large vehicles under that railway arch in Hollingdean Road. You talked about realigning the road. Well fine. I wonder what that will mean for pedestrians. Will it mean even less room for pedestrians to negotiate Hollingdean Road under that railway arch as they come not only to this school but to St Joseph's school in Davey Drive as well and maybe even to Hertford School in Hollingdean. Three months ago in this hall, I asked you if you would go away to your board and put to them a very simple proposal. We do not want you here. Consider, when Hollingdean Depot was built as a Council Depot, it was more or less on the edge of the town as it then was. It was not surrounded by houses or the school that we're now in. Go away. Consider other sites which are also edge of city. And consider also, and I put this to the Council, moving the whole waste [applause] so instead of 66 more movements by what I believe are the heaviest vehicles allowed on UK roads, we actually get fewer heavy vehicles going up and down Hollingdean Road. Will you take that back to your board?
John Hollis: after you did ask me to take it to my board, I did do. I attended...well in fact it's called an executive committee within our organisation. I raised your very question and they looked at the issues. And when you consider that there is a Waste Local Plan that states that this site is the appropriate site for this installation and it has been through a full public inquiry, they made the decision to continue with the planning application. So I'm answering your question sir.
Member of the public: when did the public go? What public went then to this inquiry? Did anybody go to the public inquiry?
Audience in unison: no.
Member of the public: we are the public. Were we invited? No. Like this letter. 24 hours' notice for a public inquiry. It's appalling! These are our lives, our community, our homes, and you are stamping on us. Nobody wants to hear you. You talk crap...
John Hollis: May I say that we did not attend the meeting either and in fact it was not our responsibility to advertise it or run it. We did not attend.
Member of the public: you just like the money...at our expense. Yes, you do.
Member of the public: Isn't it right that Onyx has been given a 25-year contract for the site at Newhaven for the proposed incinerator? So you have got a vested interest. You signed the contract.
John Hollis: we have a 25-year contract to build and operate an integrated waste management system.
Member of the public: And who did you sign that contract with?
John Hollis: That is with Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. And that contract has been in place for some little while and we are to provide certain elements of installation within that contract.
Member of the public: And it is prior to you having planning permission to site the incinerator anywhere?
John Hollis: within the contract, we are to apply for planning. And if we don't get planning...if it's appropriate, we would appeal. And if in fact following an appeal and a public inquiry we have not got planning, we then would have to reassess the situation to see if there is an alternative. At the moment, within our planning application, we have provided an alternative sites assessment that assesses all the sites, and this from a planning point of view is the best site.
Member of the public: Can I just say that the incinerator that they wish to build is within the same residential built up area as you're having to put up with having this waste depot proposed. The people at Newhaven, Seaford and Lewes have got the same thing. They take all the toxic rubbish, burn it, and it's going all the way from Kent borders down to Newhaven. Burn it, and then it will blow along this way. They should be recycling, this Council, recycling biodegradable waste.
Member of the public :Is this the only suitable site? Are there other sites?
Martin Randall: it 's absolutely right to say that The Waste Local Plan allocates this site for the Materials Recovery Facility and Waste Transfer Station. We do have another site and that's the Hangleton Bottom site. So we are allocating two sites in our joint planning for Waste matters with East Sussex County Council. John. I do need to pick you up on an issue there. You said that The Waste Local Plan highlights this site as the right site for this installation. The point is that what the Waste Local Plan does is to establish the principle that The Materials Recovery Facility or Waste Transfer Station is appropriate in this location, but that doesn't mean this particular proposal. We've still got in our Waste Local Plan and the Supplementary Planning Document that accompanies it and our Local Plan, as I said at the beginning, a very significant and long check-list of planning matters that any development proposal on this site has to meet for it to get anywhere near a recommendation for approval.
Member of the public : how can we help you to change your minds about this being allocated as suitable for waste?
Martin Randall: exactly what you are doing now.
Member of the public : [queries whether there was adequate public consultation on The Waste Local Plan]
Martin Randall: When you've got a development proposal in front of you and you start to see the reality - maps diagrams, buildings etc , it does start to feel very real. I think actually, this is a criticism if you like of the planning system, overall when you put into a Waste Local Plan a proposal for an MRF WTS at a particular site, it's real, but it does actually seem a long way off. What we actually did at that stage, and there were very many thousands of representations on The Waste Local Plan... there was actually an exhibition here...representations were made at the inquiry
Jenny Rowlands: the point is that there were public meetings held a long time ago. Your point is that it didn't engage people. It is recorded. It is a matter of public record and there was a day-long exhibition at Downs School. It doesn't say whether it was Infant or Junior on 1st November 2000. That is the point that this gentleman is making about the time-scale on the consultation. That is the form of process that The Local Authority would have gone through and those representations would have been made in the Public Inquiry which was last year.
Member of the public - I feel quite privileged. I've had two letters from Onyx and Brighton & Hove. They were obviously in cahoots since both their logos appear at the top of the letters. The first one dated 29th April 2005, there's some wonderful window dressing. It says proposed city waste recycling facility at Hollingdean Lane. Great I thought. Recycling. I supported Magpie. Magpie has supported the community around here for at least 10 years when the Council weren't interested. The Council has recently started it's black box collection. I know for a fact that Magpie's business has gone down. So why aren't we utilising or outsourcing to Magpie to utilise the facilities that they have for recycling - that they have been using for the last 10 years when they've been supporting the community? Second letter arrives dated 15th June: proposed Materials Recovery Facility and Waste Transfer Station. Holy cow, I thought. It's the same thing. What wonderful window dressing.
Jenny Rowlands: the problem is at the moment that if we send out of the Local Authority information just from us it will be very frustrating to you because it doesn't answer questions on the proposed application. That's why Onyx are trying, you know we're trying to get their information into the letters and putting the logo on so that it is very clear that they've answered some of the questions. That's about getting public information out to you.
Member of the public - I would have been asking questions about the 200 movements per day taking Onyx's additional traffic together with Cityclean traffic which has been building up in the last very few months and it's now reached a capacity so that all the vehicles - 100 of them - are allowed on site. However, thankfully David has already picked that up. So we've had some comments about that already. But I think that we need to be saying to people here, who are representing BHCC, that as well as Onyx, that the issues are not separable if you live in this area. We want some consideration in moving both these sites out of the area. And I speak as someone who has lorries thundering past the door when in fact I live in very much a backwater because they are taking shortcuts through our road. I live only about 10 houses from Hertford Infant School and also very close to the Dip, which is an extremely dangerous crossing for all sorts of people young and old. And I would pick up the point that older people haven't been invited very carefully to the meetings in the past. I know that older people in the community are just as exercised as the people whose children are coming to these schools.
Member of the public: My questions which follow to Onyx first of all are when you're talking about this building being below the level of the school playground, but you're talking about lorries coming in several times a day and travelling around past the school playground, can I ask, are those vertical exhaust pipes that you've got there. Because my understanding is that they are, and that's something which we talked about at the Community Safety Meeting in Hollingdean and you acknowledged then. So the likelihood of those nice exhaust fumes actually drifting away is pretty minimal. They're coming straight up to the level of the playground.
Member of the public: I have another question and this is to the Council. Why is it that this Council is anticipating an increase in dometic refuse and we are not at this stage taking into account the contract refuse - which is a contract that the Council has - with all the companies that exist in Brighton and Hove, who also have waste which needs to be taken somewhere, and we wonder where it will go. Why is it that the Council is anticipation 80,000 tonnes of waste by 2028? Because my understanding of a community leadership role is that you would be leading the campaign to reduce waste. Why are we anticipating this huge impact, increasing and increasing and increasing upon our communities?
And I would like to say to the people in the hall that I personally have started a one-woman campaign - well several women and men campaigning through the steering group which I've set up. I've been to ASDA. One of our biggest problems is waste coming from our shopping. One thing the Council could do is to influence local providers of our shopping, our consumer products, to stop using so much packaging. So this Saturday, in ASDA, having spoken to the customer services people, we're going to have facilities to leave our unwanted wrappings behind. And I hope the Council is going to come on board with us too and do something about it from a more strategic point of view. And secondly, I hope that other people here using other supermarkets will go and make the same arrangements.
John Collis: I think the question is whether a vertically inclined exhaust or a horizontally inlined exhaust would have a material effect. However, I will look at the different makes of lorries because some of them will discharge vertically and some of them discharge at ground level. And if there is a material difference, we will seek to utilise the most appropriate one.
Gillian Marsden (Assistant Director of CityClean) - to pick up the waste and recycling targets. The reason that the facility has more tonnage in terms of waste growth, is that across the country there's a national trend of a 3% growth rate every year. The facility has been designed to cover that, just in case. In actual fact, in Brighton and Hove, we don't have the waste growth. I certainly agree that we should do more to try and butt the trend, which we have done to try to reduce the waste growth. But it really is a cautious measure because everywhere else in the country is experiencing a 3% increase.
Member of the public: May I ask why in one of the documents we heard that the waste will be coming from the outer regions of Lewes?
John Collis: we do not intend to take waste other than waste collected by CityClean or if CityClean contract out their waste collection by that contractor. I would expect that we would have a planning condition that would limit the use of that site to municipal waste. And we don't have an intention of expanding the use of that site for other wastes.
Gillian Marsden: I think I know what you're asking. There are no plans by the authority to outsource.
Member of the public: Would you consider taking the trade on.
Gillian Marsden: We won't consider taking the trade on. We won't do trade waste. The Council won't, because we get heavily penalised if we do because of the landfill allowance trading scheme. So no, we won't be touching trade waste. It will only be household waste: yours and my rubbish.
Jenny Rowlands: Can I just pick up the point on shopping, Clare. I won't lose that one. I'll take that back. We are trying to do every local scheme we can about increasing recycling. And I know it's been raised before whether there can be particular campaigns around packaging, so I can take that back to see how we can respond formally to that proposal.
Member of the public: As you can see I'm disabled. And the bridge down at the bottom of the hill on Hollingdean Lane is my only access to the supermarket. I find it already highly dangerous to go under that bridge. It's just about wide enough to take this wheelchair. If I meet someone under the bridge, someone has to stand in the road to allow me to pass. I can't go up and down kerbs. And I think it's intolerable that heavy lorries like this should be put under that bridge. It is the most penicious development which ever was put in front of this committee. And I think it should be banned until a major redevelopment of roads and bridges is carried out in that area of Lower Hollingdean Road. That would allow the road to be narrowed to allow wider pavements for people to walk backwards and forwards and pass in wheelchairs. And there would be a much better traffic solution. This would involve the redevelopment of the bridge into a proper high arch bridge. That bridge was built to accept horses and carts. The maximum length of which was no more than about 15 feet. We are proposing vehicles of some 60 foot long and carrying something in the region of 40 tonnes. It is intolerable that vehicles of this size should be allowed on any city road anywhere in the city, let alone there. A one-way street system and a second railway bridge would take a number of years to complete. I would estimate it as somewhere between 7 and 8 million pounds for two bridges and the roadway which would have to be constructed. But I don't think this is a sensible or feasible development of any sort. This was always a back street waste vehicle parking site and not a development involving the sorting, stacking and onward transport of waste. There are lots of other sites available and I say to the meeting in general, please vote against this development and close it off once and for all.
Member of the public: A lot has been said about the railway bridge. The question that was asked was have you consulted the owners of the bridge and the railway? Because one of the architects is sitting in the audience and he was very clear that he hasn't had any communication with Onyx in relation to the bridge.
Jenny Rowlands: So there's one general point that it's already difficult for pedestrians so what's the impact of proposed changes on the bridge? Then the specific point about consultation.
Richard Morrison (consultant dealing with traffic): One of the first things I noticed was that this peculiar arrangement of the bridge - I actually drove all round the site to get the feel of how the area operated - when I first came down Upper Hollingdean Road towards the bridge, I wasn't even aware that there was a road junction there. It seemed like the road and Hollingdean Lane was the junction. It's only when you get right on top of the bridge that you realise that the road is going round a corner. It's not the best arrangement. So one of the things that very early on I suggested was that that road needs to be improved as much as possible within the constraints of the existing bridge. To try and improve a bridge on Network Rail land is a major undertaking. And for the level of the scheme we are talking about, is a very difficult thing to actually achieve. Hence the arrangement we show on the plan - trying to move the alignment out, effectively so you can see what's coming as you come through the bridge. As I said earlier, I saw a meat market artic coming into the site. Everybody coming down the road had to stop to let them through because of the nature of the arch. By ironing out that kink, it enables people either side of the bridge to see what's coming. That's the point of the exercise.
Another aspect in terms of highway design which you always consider is accidents. Now these are termed as personal injury accidents. Not accidents where a car nudges a car and nothing more gets said about it. Individuals are involved. They can be cyclists, pedestrians or road traffic users - passengers or drivers. In the three years, November 2000 to 2003, there were three accidents there - all of them were slight in nature. And all of them were down to visibility. All of them happened to the north of the bridge. That bit I'm talking about as you kink under the bridge. And that's another reason why we looked at improving that arrangement to avoid that happening in the future. None of those issues involved pedestrians. I accept what you are saying about the width of the footway under there, but that's the nature of the piece. That's the nature of the existing bridge and we're doing our best to resolve what is the existing bridge. What I also go on to say when we came up with that arrangement, we did it in consultation with the City Council, the Highways engineer there to try and come up with the best solution we can, and they were happy with that, based on what I've just told you about accidents and flows and what have you.
Jenny Rowlands: Can we just check that one of the specific points was raised about the experience of the pedestrian. And would it be worse or improved?
Richard Morrison: Onyx's site is adding 33 vehicles in each direction over a whole day. 3 vehicles an hour over a whole day.
David Lepper: What do you say to people who don't drive cars, but who walk. What do you say to people like the last gentleman?
Richard Morrison: what this realignment is doing, it starts from the north part of the bridge. It doesn't get involved under the bridge itself.
If you put guard-railing up under the bridge, you'd further reduce the width of the footway. Guard-railing has to be put in about 300 mm or a foot inside the kerb-line.
We were asked to actually consider putting traffic signals on there. The way to install traffic signals at that bridge is basically to install a one-way system. So traffic will have to queue up one side of the bridge while traffic comes through so far back that
[interruptions from the floor: can't answer the question as to whether the railway has been consulted]
Member of the public: I'd like to make just a couple of remarks about the process. It seems that from just about every point of view this development is inappropriate if not ridiculous. So my question is how can I stop it? Now we've been told tonight that we can come here and ask questions and they will try to answer them. But they're not, it seems, very interested. So one of my questions is how can we stop it? Having a meeting tonight like this, we will not do it. We can be blue in the face, we can be thousands, and they will take no notice. I may be wrong. I'm open to correction. They're here to do it. But my guess is, that is true. Where do we go from there? My suggestion is that we nevertheless hold such meetings and are extremely vociferous. We go along their scheme of things, which is to write letters by the thousand objecting, because as I understand it that's the only technical method aavailable to us to oppose. This meeting's a non-event. It does not exist in the planning process no matter how much we care and how committed we are. And I'm totally committed to opposing this scheme. And given the way this meeting's been organised tonight, no roving mic, laughably amateur, the wrong hall in the face of obvious knowledge that it should be much bigger, almost no notice. We're told "well, you can ask questions, but we're not really very interested in your opinions". Now, if I wanted to really upset the residents, and get them lying down in the road and all that stuff, that's pretty much what I'd do.
Jenny Rowlands: I agree with you that it's frustrating that it can't be recorded as part of the formal planning process, but as Martin says, you have to treat every application equally, and we don't go out and have public meetings on every application. So I think it is frustrating. It's part of the planning review. But what we're trying to do here is say that "We'll give you information. Onyx are here to respond. As Martin said, that if you were here and passed something around among yourself which was all signed, that's taken as a number of objections. We can't give you a facility which we don't give to every other application. And I am sorry that that is a frustration you've got at the meeting.
Member of the public: The Council on other planning issues is not normally organising presentations with the applicant to the public. And I also have another niggling suspicion because of all your publicity. You have shown your partnership by all your actions. You are saying: "we are here to say this" when you are actually in partnership with the applicant.
Jenny Rowlands: we are the Local Authority. We are the waste planning authority, we are the waste collection authority and the waste disposal authority. That's the fact of the Local Authority. And quite often the Local Authority has to hear planning applications on facilities that are directly affected by them. That doesn't mean in any way that they can pervert the planning application process. And you might believe it or you might not. But there is an appeals process, it can go to public inquiry. It would be a very foolish Local Authority which went down that line. We could have just Onyx doing presentations and meetings, but I thought part of the frustration was to get the Local Authority to join in.
Member of the public: I am mystified how this proposal can go ahead if there's been no consultation with National Rail about the state of the railway bridge. In any other place in the country - and I speak for people who work in transport - anyone wanting to put a high volume of transport under a railway line obviously needs a second arch. It is quite accurate to state that the height of the present bridge is four and a half metres, but a double decker bus is four metres. And every time a bus goes to and back from Lewes Road bus depot, traffic has to stop in one direction. And that is on the existing state of the road including a period between 4pm and 6pm on weekday afternoons or on Sunday lunchtimes. Futhermore, imagining that this proposal goes ahead with the road scheme of even larger heavier vehicles going under that bridge, there's an above average chance that some large vehicles will get stuck under it, and subsequently disrupt the railway service on the Brighton to Lewes line. And I think National Rail and Southern Rail would have a lot to say about that. All this is conspicuous in its absence in these plans. We're not dealing with a minor railway line.
Jenny Rowlands: I don't think we can add anything more than what was said earlier: that the railway authorities would have to be consulted as part of the application. And that's going on now.
Member of the public: three quick questions then for all of the Council. The Waste Local Plan plans for 2% growth in waste reduced to half a percent growth in waste by 2015. The National Growth figure is 1.8%. So why is Gillian Marsden talking about 3% and why does it talk about growth from 120.000 to 200,000 here? That's the first question. Second question: You've heard that there's a whole range of questions that are coming from the floor. I want to know what representation we actually have or are allowed to make at the planning meeting that looks at the application. The third question is that John Collis has said "if this planning application is turned down, Onyx will appeal". If the planning application is approved, are we allowed to appeal?
[Voices say "No"]
Martin Randall: On the planning process first, you do have a right to speak at the planning applications sub-committee. One of the things that we need to think quite carefully about is whether we actually say: this isn't going to fit within the context of a normal planning applications sub-committee. We might need to arrange a special meeting to consider this application so that as many of you as possible have the opportunity to speak. I think that's one of the things that I'll take away as far as the planning process is concerned from this meeting. Obviously we're getting a very strong impression from the fact that more than 2,000 of you have put in representations. So the simple answer is that people do have the right to speak at BHCC planning application sub-committees. We could consider a special meeting.
No, there's no third party right of appeal. If the application was turned down, Onyx have the right of appeal on that. There's other recourse in a sense. If you thought that the Local Planning Authority had maladministered in some way, you could of course call for a judicial review of the planning decision.
Gillian Marsden: I'm not going to argue about the figures of what National waste growth is in the country. What we can say is that there is a waste growth. In Brighton and Hove, we have historically had a waste growth. We are fortunate at the moment based on last year's it has actually been zero. And we will try to do all we can to get it to reduce. So we have actually bucked the National trend where waste is actually increasing. The build of the facility obviously takes into account a cautious approach if you like. For example, ESCC has a huge waste growth at the moment, which is actually way above the 3% waste growth. So it's on that caution if you like. At the moment, I'm pleased to say it's zero, though we would like to obviously see a reduction.
Member of the public: I have to come back on that because I'm wondering why the approach is so cautious. The Waste Local Plan is anticipating a 2% growth and a 0. 5% growth by 2015. So why at this station - this Waste Transfer Station which is set in the middle of a residential area, schools, lots of traffic, lots of pollution - are we anticipating a 3% growth by 2015.
Gillian Marsden: The Waste Local Plan are set targets for us to try and achieve. We've actually been fortunate because at the moment we're doing very very well. But as a caution, it would be foolish for us to find for example that suddenly waste growth does increase, which other Councils have had. Other areas of the country have had. And then not have space for it.
Member of the public (Mr Jones): I'm a member of the Hollingdean tenants' and residents' association. I'm also a dustman that works for CityClean. Now we deal with wheelie bins. We deal with wheelie bins around the city. It's a new scheme that's coming. And some of the bins are big, Now I can guarantee any of you what goes in them bins. We just fit them on the back of the lorry, tip them in. It could be anything in there from dead bodies. And they have been found in the past [laughter]. Yes, it could be toxic waste. Anything could be in them. Can anybody guarantee that what goes into this proposed Waste Transfer Station will not be of real dangerous toxic note? Can anybody give me any guarantee on that?
The second point I would like to make is the battle-ship sized lorries that are going to come through. Now with all due respect to people who live in Fiveways and Roedale Road and everywhere and places like that, luxury. I live in South ___, which is just over there. Can anybody guarantee me the foundations of my block of flats with the disruption of these battle-ship juggernauts coming through?
Gillian Marsden: I was going to pick up about the toxic waste being inside wheelie bins. I can't guarantee that householders and residents of the city won't in their black plastic bags and their wheelie bins put something in that they shouldn't. I would hope that they wouldn't , but I can't guarantee that. No.
Member of the public: I'm not talking about little things which go into black plastic bags. Anything can go into those big wheelie bins. Oil drums...you could have tins of benzine. Anything could go in.
Gillian Marsden: I think people who have got wheelie bins would be very surprised if they could fit an oil drum in them. I think we're talking about the communal bins, which are in the city centre. Now with the big communal bins, obviously there is only a certain amount that the lid will open by. But also as it tips into the vehicle, we have cameras on the vehicle that actually the driver can view what is going in. [Expressions off surprise] No, I'm serious. If you want to see it, you can come down to the depot and have a look. [Expressions of disbelief] No, I'm serious, if you want to come down to the depot, we can show you the vehicle. As it tips into the truck, it actually views the waste. So if it is like rubble...
Jenny Rowlands: There was one other question about foundations of buildings.
John Collis: To be able to run a vehicle on UK roads at 44 tonnes, it first of all needs a much more modern air system of suspension, so it doesn't transmit the kinds of vibrations that could possibly affect the foundations. The older style of suspensions: those vehicles are limited to a much lesser weight. So we are buying [Have you made the order yet?] No... will be buying 6-axle trailers with air suspension to be able to carry that level of weight.
Child: I live on Ditchling Road and I would just like to say that every day at 7 o'clock in the morning, I can't sleep in, because I can just walk to school because I live right next to the school. It's just really annoying that I can't sleep in because I can take the chance to sleep in in the morning. With a lorry going past - 44 tonnes. I'd just like to ask, what are you going to do if I can't play rugby when I'm 13 because I've got asthma?
John Collis: This development will not add any traffic extra on Ditchling Road. The 44 tonne vehicles will not travel along Ditchling Road. And we are prepared to enter into a legal routing agreement as to which route those vehicles will take. With regard to the ambient air quality, I'll ask Roger to answer that question if I may.
Roger Barrowcliffe: OK. Let's get back to air quality then. The question was actually about asthma, but it really relates to what this development is adding in terms of pollutant concentrations to the atmosphere, which is also in the Environmental Statement. It's quite factual. But the absolutely crucial thing to remember, especially in relation to respiratory disease, is what's in the air already. Because that its the overwhelming factor. Let's consider that there are currently more than 12,000 vehicles using Ditchling Road, for example, with many hundreds of HGVs. We are talking about adding 33 individual vehicles per day. 33 individual vehicles, which will be of a Euro 4 standard, which is at least 4 - sometimes 10 times more clean in terms of emissions than vehicles - i.e. buses and lorries on the road already. So, clearly a vehicle emits pollution. My vehicle does. Yours does, that's if you have one. There will be an additional concentration. The crucial point is the magnitude of that in relation to the air quality that we experience already. And if you just think about the magnitude of those two things, then it puts it into perspective. Clearly, additional vehicles, extra pollution. But what about the amounts? The point of the assessment is that you have to consider the additional vehicles that the development is generating. That is the extra amount, which translates into pollution.
Member of the public: The CityClean has increased by 50%. I know because I live next to the site. Why aren't you considering all of the vehicles? Why are you deperately trying to separate those two.
Roger Barrowcliffe: The baseline. What we do is look at the base vehicles on the road - all the roads that we study - and then we consider the increment from the extra vehicles that the development will generate. Now Onyx say that there will be 33 individual vehicles per day. That's what I have to work with. Now if we want to consider other vehicles, then of course we can add them to the model.
Jenny Rowlands: Can I just check. Is the question that the baseline that they're going from: does that include all Cityclean vehicles including the recycling vehicles? That's the question. The baseline that we work from and then we look at the additional vehicles on top. Does that take into account all vehicle movements we currently have from the CityClean Depot? i.e. the fact that recently we are doing more recycling: is that counted in the baseline data? So the answer to that baseline question is: Yes, it does take into consideration all the vehicles.
Member of the public: Earlier on, Roger, you said that you weren't aware of any cases in the country where there were air quality issues around Waste Transfer Stations.
Expert on data from other WTS plants: I can think of a few. For instance in Horn Lane Acton currently the area around the Waste Transfer Station's exceeding the EU limit value for PM10. In Neasden Lane, slightly to the north, there is Air Quality Monitoring site which is also exceeding EU limit value for PM10, which is outside a Waste Transfer Station. In Becksley in the north of Becksley in Manor Road, I think it was in 2002, the Local Council declared an Air Quality Management Area solely on the basis of a Waste Transfer Station and its impact on the local residents. Again, for PM10. Also not so far from here bin Hastings on a section of the A259, just to the west of Hastings, the Council has also declared an Air Quality Management Area, which is Sussex's first one. That's on the basis of PM10. And although I think the findings there don't entirely point in one direction. The landfill site just to the north and certainly the vehicle movements from it are heavily implicated. Then also I believe, and I'm not an expert on the review & assessment process, which all Local Authorities have to go through, in TG03 the updating and screening assessment stage actually calls on Local Authorities - it brings up Waste Transfer Stations as an issue. What it does, is that it asks Local Authorities to continue to undertake a detailed assessment of Waste Transfer Stations and other licensed Waste Management Facilties where there has been both Waste Transfer Stations and nuisance complaints as well. And this has caused a number of Local Authorities, certainly in London, to move to the next stage of Review & Assessment towards declaring an Air Quality Management Area. So that's quite a lot of information really. And I feel concerned that this area isn't really dressed in it. For instance, I realise that it's a modern development. For instance, you're going to have to find some way to reduce emissions by a fact of about 5 less than is in these other cases that I've mentioned. And also a question as well. There's been a lot of focus on the air pollution arising once the facility is actually in place, but we've also got to consider the construction phase as well, haven't we. I'm sure there's lots of mitigation things, but there's some interesting work coming out of the London Borough of Becksley - sorry Greenwich - which has got quite a few developments relating to the Millenium village area. And they've been put forward a Guide of Practice, which is up for approval by the GLA for best practice in terms of minimising air pollution arising during major construction facilities, and really I invite Onyx to say that they will abide by it.
Roger Barrowcliffe: The reply I gave earlier was specifically about modern facilities with regard to the emissions of dust and odour from the waste within the facility escaping into atmosphere, not the PM10 from vehicles. It's true that if you do visit a modern MRF or Waste Transfer Facilty like Ashburton Grove, for example, (at the Arsenal) you will find that my observations are correct. Now with regard to the PM10 in all those examples you cited, that's slightly unfair, especially in relation to Bexley, because that Waste Facility is also a major industrial estate. So there are a lot of other things there as well like Concrete Batching Plants. And the problem comes through all the vehicles, not just the Waste Transfer vehicles.
Expert on other WTS sites: Sorry, I'm going to have to interject. I know the site very well. I'm not aware of a Concrete Batcher. There is certainly a part B process that makes concrete blocks nearby. The source of ___ has pointed to the road vehicles. It doesn't point to the Waste Management site itself.
Roger Barrowcliffe: Yes, it really is the accumulation of many vehicles from many sources travelling on dirty roads, basically [Precisely]. I've studied that example. I've spoken to the Environmental Officer responsible, so I do know some of the background. And if you take any road _ Brighton, Greenwich, Bexley whatever, and you have dust on the surface and you run vehicles of any kind over it, you will resuspend the air. But I don't see why this should apply to this specific facility.
Expert: Yea No, I have got a point that is does apply to this specific facility because they're inherently dirty, but it's really - this is a modern facility but it is what measures - how can you guarantee that the air quality will meet the EU limit value in terms of the PM10 since you've only really assessed the on-load tamper?
Roger Barrowcliffe: Exactly because that's where the PM10 emissions are coming from in this case.
Expert: Perhaps in this case. In the other case, it's certainly not. But can you draw a distinct line between them?
Roger Barrowcliffe: I go back to what I said. The examples that you talked about related to PM10 emissions from either road vehicles or the action of vehicles on the road, not from the facility itself. Since there's no way you can generate PM10 through the action of handling the waste.
Member of the public: Ms Rowland. My question was going to be to you about this letter which arrived through my letterbox - obviously not a lot of other people's letterboxes - in your name and specifically about the use of the word "independent" in the letter where you say that the City Planning Team cannot comment publically on the merits of this proposal - I notice you don't mention demerits. And you then include a sheet of 30 alledgedly FAQs all of which paint an extraordinarily rosy picture of the development. But, I'm not going to ask that question because the point has already been eloquently made from the floor. That the letter comes with a heading which has not only BHCC name on it but also Onyx's. So therefore, like a lot of the people in this room, I suspect that what we are dealing with here is "a done deal". So what I would like to do instead is to ask a question to Mr Collis. Well, three related questions, Mr Collis. We are aware, even from these very rosy statements here, that the school playground where a lot of our children play, is 22 metres from the proposed Waste Transfer Facility dump - call it what you will. Many people's houses here are less than 22 metres from that site. I would like to know three things Mr Collis. The first one is roughly how many metres is your house from the nearest large Waste Transfer Facility? Secondly, if you have any children, roughly how many metres are their school playgrounds from the nearest large Waste Transfer Facility? And perhaps the most crucial question of all: You were talking about going back to your Executive Committee I believe you called it. How big are the antipated bonuses that the Executive Committee and yourself will receive if this deal is pushed through against massive public opposition?
John Collis: I actually live near a Waste Incineration Plant. [How many metres?] Oh I'm talking of 2 kilometres. When you're talking about a Refuse Incinerator, the airbourne pollution is measured in those kind of dispersion zones. So I have lived there since the construction phase of that facility. No I don't live near a Waste Transfer Station. I do have 2 children - the youngest of which is 25 and is a teacher. And her school is actually in Oxford, so it isn't near any of our facilties. And I can't remember your third question, I'm afraid. [bonuses]. Zero. Absolutely zero, We are not bonused at all about delivering what is inherently our jobs.
Member of the public: Am I right in thinking that because this is a planned dirty MRF and therefore the black bags collected include the biodegradable matter in the waste stream that BHCC and East Sussex CC are going to pay £10 milion in fines because the biodegradable waste will have to be landfilled against the EU landfill directive. Because they're putting all the waste in two baskets: Hollingdean with the MRF and the Waste Transfer Station and the Newhaven Incinerator.
Shouldn't BHCC and East Sussex CC adopt the Inspector''s Report in its entirety and put composting on-site around the city and the Waste Plan area. And then the enormous MRF and Waste Transfer Station wouldn't be needed, especially if Onyx embraced depolymerisation which is a much better technical and logical advance.
John Collis: First of all, there is two types of MRF - and you referred to it as a dirty MRF. It is not a dirty MRF. It is a clean MRF. The recyclables that are collected by the kerbsiders will be all that goes into the MRF. The white bag waste, however, will go into the Transfer Station and as you remember the site layout, it is the next building down away from the school. That waste will then be transferred off-site to a disposal point and we are making a planning application quite soon for an energy recovery facility in Newhaven - an incinerator if you wish - and that will burn the waste and produce electricity and deal with the landfill avoidance that you referred to.
Gillian Marsden: First of all, we do collect the recycling separated. We operate a recycling kerbside service which targets 60% of the waste stream. That service will obviously continue and that material will go into the MRF. Black bags of normal domestic refuse will not go into the MRF. That will go into the Waste Transfer Station. We have been very much focused on getting the recycling target of 60% across all households that we possibly can. At the moment, we service approximately 80,000 households. That's quite important because it's a big quantity of our waste. We are then going to be looking at some composting schemes. We prefer home composting because obviously it doesn't require a pick up vehicle and another vehicle on our roads. So we're looking at trial areas to increase the levels of composting. We also do want to look at, particularly in the city centre area where there are less gardens, operating a kitchen waste collection scheme as well to trial that. In terms of what you're referring to the allowance from the allowance trading scheme, we're doing some very very detailed modelling and at this time we are not expecting a £10 million fine.
Member of the public: I beg to differ. I have a report at home that states that there will be £10 million of the ratepayers' money going to pay - no it's not ESCC, it's also Brighton and Hove because they are in The Waste Local Plan.
Gillian Marsden: There's a joint meeting which might have looked overall, but at the moment in terms of Brighton and Hove's modelling BHCC is not expecting that.
Member of the public: I beg to differ. It's your minutes.
Member of the public: Working hours at the MRF may increase if recycling rates go ahead at expected levels. Well, that deeply worries me. If they say they're only going to do it from 7am to 6pm.
It is very strange wording. 1.9 The overall value of the Hollingdean project is around £10 million. "Value" implies that the local people are going to get something out of it, which is not the case whatsoever. Is there a sweetner where we can have some trees in our road. It's bad enough living in this traffic-choked area. What about you putting something back ingto the area. No mention at all has been made of that from anybody, not even the Council. Thank you very much.
Member of the public: Is this land ring-fenced? Because we're supposed to be building houses on brownfield sites. Far more beneficial to our area I think. Body language is extremely important. You have grinned through quite a lot of this.
John Collis: It is relatively simple that a MRF processes an amount of materials per hour. And we have designed the core hours on the basis of the amount of recyclable materials we expect to receive. If with process of time, the collecion systems collecting recyclables give us more than we can process within the MRF within those times, we would need to operate the MRF for longer hours. It's as simple as that. Recycling is due to go up. Recycling is set to increase.
Member of the public: Put the whole thing somewhere else.
Martin Randall: The point is that the site is allocated for a MRF and WTS and not housing. I haven't really got anything more interesting to say. [Why?] In terms of preparing a Waste Local Plan, the starting point was to do a site search for those facilities. So we started very widely looking at lots of different sites, and we ended up with the two that I mentioned before, which is this one and Hangleton Bottom.
Member of the public: A couple of points. Let me say first of all that I have been to an MRF and it's about half a mile from the nearest habitable housing, so draw your own conclusions. Secondly, John Collis is itching to building an incinerator over at Newhaven. There were two things the Waste Local Plan inspector said in his report. One is that he said it was perfectly feasible for a Waste Local Plan to be brought forward without an incinerator. And he also recommended higher recycling targets. Now I happen to know that ESCC when they reviewed the inspector's recommendations threw out the higher recycling targets. Now my question really is to BHCC: have they done the same thing, and why? Because if you have higher recycling, you wouldn't have a stupid incinerator planned and you wouldn't have this facility here. So why aren't you doing more recycling?
Council official: In the Waste Local Plan, we've set out a series of waste recycling targets which we feel that the facilities we've set out in the plan can actually achieve. That is good planning in the sense that if we were going to do more, we would need more sites. It was a struggle to get two. Let's be absolutely clear about that: Hangleton Bottom and the site that we're talking about tonight. I think in the future we'll be looking to prepare a Waste Development Framework which is the successor to Waste Local Plan. My sense is that the City Council's aspirations - and you've heard some of the shorter term plans for improving recycling here tonight - will demand that we are land use planning for much higher rates of recyling in accordance of those that you're talking about and even beyond, given where National policies are going on this one.
Member of the public: Can I just make the observation that government produced a set of recycling levels for various towns for 2003-4 of which Litchfield came out at 46%, Gaventry was 43% and Brighton and Hove was 12%. That's pretty damning I would say in terms of this city doing something constructive with its waste.
Gillian Marsden: Actually I can state that our recycling level is 23.3 % - that was in April this year. We accept that we have to do far more to recycle. The problem that we currently have is that we collect all your recyclables from your homes and we have to take it somewhere. We have to take it somewhere for it then to be collected and transport it right across the country for reprocessing. The current arrangements we have are not adequate. They are short-term arrangements. We do need a bigger facility which is purposefully designed somewhere in the city to take this recyclate. And so it can be bailed and taken onwards. We also do need in the city to start to consider moving to weekly recycling, extenting the range of material to, for example, tetrapaks, looking at kitchen waste as well. But we need somewhere to put it. And at the moment, we won't be able to do any of that without anywhere to put it.
Member of the public: A question about noise pollution. We've heard a lot about air pollution. It says in 3.6 that noise from traffic movements related to this development will be barely perceptible. Noise will be barely perceptible. How can that be true? In Rugby Road, we have 15 of these horrible vehicles going up and 15 coming down again. Twice a day. People can't sleep in front of their houses. It's absolute hell. [May I also say that the teachers can't teach. When those vehicles go past the teachers have to stop what they're doing, stop teaching until the vehicles go further down Rugby Road]. As you very well know, we've had a petition about this: 80% of the residents in Rugby Road. So how can you lend your name to a piece of paper that says the noise will be barely perceptible? Why should we believe anything in this?
Member of the public: it very conveniently just mentions the noise from this gentlemen's lorries and ignores the associated noise from CityClean activities.
Council spokesperson: There's two separate issue. The meeting here tonight is to talk about the process of how we assess traffic relating to this particular planning application. But many residents in this room and in this area have submitted petitions to our environment committee about the existing traffic conditions here. And those are being looked at in relation to safety, congestion, air quality and noise and all the issues that surround them. And historically in this area, there are quite a lot of bans or traffic calming or weight limits and those sorts of things. And because they've been implemented over a long period of time, they don't necessarily if you look at the whole area make the very best sense. So separately from this application, we are looking at traffic movements in the area and whether they are better managed at present.
Jenny Rowlands: Gillian. Can you just pick up the point about recycling and the number of vehicles ...
Gillian Marsden: we have in total 105 vehicles. That 105 are not always on the road because we actually carry spares for when we have to service or have breakdowns. Everyday we'll be running about 20 dustcarts which are HGV vehicles going up to 26 tonnes. What we've added to our fleet is 18 - we are currrently at 15 - recycling vehicles. These are the kerbsiders that you see going along the road. We don't expect to be increasing our fleet further. We don't see that there will be a need to increase the fleet further. We are not expecting waste to increase so I don't see why you think...[murmuring in the audience] We haven't doubled it. We hold 105 vehicles and I said that 20 of those are dustcarts which we run out each day. No, but then you've got another 85 vehicles that we're running out. Of that 17 are for recycling. So we haven't doubled. We run a street cleaning service which has quite a few vehicles as well. Sorry. We don't just do refuse and recycling.
Member of the public: You've moved them to the site. They didn't always run out of the site.
Gillian Marsden: As far as I've been here. And I've been here 2 years, I don't nessarily know what happened before. What I know and how we operate is that all of our vehicles operate from that site.
Member of the public: I've been working on there for 24 years now. Now when I first came up there was 37 dustcarts. That was just for Brighton, not Brighton & Hove. Now there is about 80. There are other vehicles as well. Recycling. Each dustcart can carry up to 15 tonnes of rubbish. We start work at 6 a.m. Any one of those dustcarts can be in any road at any given time from 7 a.m. to 2.30p.m. or even longer when people are working overtime. But there are less dustcarts on the road now than there were a few years ago.
Jenny Rowlands: And we've agreed that we will hold another meeting with exactly the same people here in a big enough venue.
Member of the public: Can I just ask if this proposal has been passed before the Department of Public Health, and if not, can that be done so we can have an independent body looking at it instead of 2 people who are "in bed together"?
Judith Macho: when I talked earlier on about the specialist officers that analyse planning applications, they work very closely with Consultative ____ control who is part of that process. And so, if there's anything as I said earler on that we are not certain about, we would always check back. I'm not aware that there is a formal need to pass it before the Public Health, but we can certainly check that.
Member of the public: Can the whole proposal be put before the Department of public health and looked at independently?
John Collis: We don't just need a planning permission for this site. We also need a licence to operate the site from the Environment Agency. And the EA review these kinds of applications from a very large knowledge base and looking at these very issues. And the EA are quite possibly going to talk to the Area Health Authority. I don't know, but it will be part of that type of appraisal.
Member of the public: So should the planning application be approved there is another recourse for representation by residents and that is to ask the Environment Agency not to give you a licence.
John Collis: Absolutely correct.
Member of the public: Can I just say that I don't think my question has been answered and I'd like to know if somebody is to be brought in by the Department of Health to assess independently what is happening with this proposal, and if not, can that be done to satisfy local concern?
Jenny Rowlands: I think people can't answer the question, because it's not part of the normal procedure. But they've heard what you've said and can go away and find out if that is a possibility. I do know that the Director of Public Health was part of the formal consultations on The Waste Local Plan and I'll try and find that detail out for you. [Interventions from the floor. Assurances required] The Local Authority will engage with the Department of Health and see what role they can have.
Chair of Governors at Downs Infant School: I'm the chair of governors here at Downs Infant School and my main concern is for the health and well-being of the children at this school. We have 360 four to sseven year olds at this school. And we are a very popular school. We're popular with parents and we'd like to keep it that way. We fear that this development will negate some of the very good teaching that goes on in this school. Mr Collis. Yo said that your son taught in a school in Oxford. I'd like you to go home and give him a ring. Find out how he would feel if his school had this sort of development at the end of its playground. He will tell you from a teacher's prospective what that would mean to his school. I have written to you and to Mr Riley who I believe is the Managing Director for Onyx Greater London South asking for the details of any school which is located as close to such a development. Neither of you have replied to this request. Am I to assume that there isn't one? If that is the case are we to assume that BHCC by even considering putting this development so close to the school is possibly the least caring city council in the whole of the UK? [Applause] If, however, Mr Collis, we believe what you say and this will not impact on our children and will be no problem at all, I would like to hear that from the headteacher or the chair of Governors of one of these schools. I would then believe it. I will not believe what you're saying because noone has given me any evidence that this will not have a knock-on effect on the pupils in this school. Their health, safety and well-being is of paramount importance. We are governors at this school. We have a duty of care to those children. You met with us. It was in that brochure. What you didn't say, Mr Collis, is that I instigated that meeting. It was not offered. We were told that the school and the LEA had been fully consulted on this. We have not. We have not been fully consulted about this. We're absolutely furious and I would like some sort of response.
John Collis: I will talk to my daughter. I will also talk to my wife who is a headteacher.
Chair of governors: yes, and she will tell you this would not be what she would like on the doorstep of her school.
John Collis: I would like to say that I don't personally know if there's a WTS and MRF next to a school, but I can assure you that there is an Energy Recovery Facility. The issue is invariably transport issues [No: disbelief]
Member of the public: I don't think it's just the road and the traffic that we're talking about.
John Collis: from the point of view of noise, I'm aware that my noise consultant hasn't been able to speak. However, the generation of noise is so slight, it is negigible against the existing background [which is already pretty noisy folks] . Unfortunately, the existing background is there. [So if it's already noisy, why add to it!] There is nowdays the possibility of having bleepers that can be turned down. Our lorries will be Euro 4 and that will be a much quieter vehicle than most on your roads. And its emissions will be lower as well.
Chair of governors: Well I haven't had all the answers. Maybe Mr Collis should get back to me. I will give you to the end of the month. Find a school for me which is this close to a MRF and WTS. If there isn't one, fair play. I will take that further. I will take that to The Argus and I will accuse BHCC as I have said of possibly being the least caring Council in the whole of the UK.
My follow up question is a more general one. It's been fairly obvious to me in this hall and throughout this campaign what a body of opinion there is in this hall and also what a body of expertise. People have come out with facts, and I've done quite a lot of research on this, with facts that I wasn't aware of. People have really researched this. It's not a knee-gut reaction. It is not a NIMBYism or whatever people want to call it. People have looked at this, they've been on the Internet, they've looked at sites, they've looked at documents. We've had contact with the people at Sussex University. People in this room have a lot of knowledge. I would like to ask BHCC to use some of the knowledge that people in this room are bringing to this development. And listen to the people, not just their emotional fears, but the knowledge that they have, and take that on board as much as what Mr Onyx is telling you.
Jenny Rowlands: we have had a very high level of very informed emails and questions as well, which is part of the reason why this meeting, although it is very unusual, was set up in the way it was, because there are a lot of detailed questions coming in on a daily basis through my office via email and lots of suggestions on what the Authority should or shoudn't be doing. So I will take that back.
I'm going to close the meeting now formally. We'll be around for a few minutes to pick up some specifics which people want to pick up in different areas. And I'm going to agree to the next meeting happening.
Member of the public: I would like to know what are the vested interests of members of the planning committee?
Jenny Rowlands: I can't give you an opinion on what it would take to stop...well, there's two things: one is the application has to meet all the tests that will be applied to it for the officers to then pass comment on it. When it gets to the committee. Well, I think the best thing for you to do now is to make representations to your local Councillors and then talk top the democratic part of the Council. I can't tell you what they will or won't think at the meeting. Jeanne do you want to..
Jeanne Lepper: Yes, I'm a Local Councillor for this area, and I am opposed to it and I'll tell you that Councillors are ordinary people who are very very aware that there is massive opposition to it, even though they are not allowed to get into a debate about it. Every time you write to The Council giving your objections to this, copy it to the members of the planning committee. They are ordinary people like you and me. They've got young children, they've got grand children. I've got a grandchild. We do not want our children to suffer excess pollution either. I used to chair the planning committee. If I was on planning, I wouldn't be allowed to be here tonight. I'm not on planning, but I'm allowed to go and address them. Some of you will be allowed to go and address them. These councillors are persuadable. And I will be asking them to be very very brave here, and have the courage to stand up and say: "No, this actually is not a good application. It is in the wrong place. And we're going to vote against it." And I'm an optimist by nature, and I believe that we can get this planning application turned down and that we can persuade those members to vote against it. And that will re-open the debate on the alternative sites which have not been properly considered.
Jenny Rowlands: Thank you for coming and we'll get the letter out in good time to the venue for the next meeting big enough for you all to get there. Well there are 11,000 households. We did the whole area.
Also of possiblle interest (though some repetition):
18th July 2005 Public meeting with BHCC & Veolia. at the Sallis Benney Hall Brighton. Larger venue to allow more residents to attend, though shorter meeting.
2nd February 2006 Dump The Dump campaign meeting at the Downs Infant school Brighton [complete transcript]
The Case Officer's full report [113 pages]
BH2006/00900 Approved 19th June 2006This page was last updated by Ted on 23-Mar-2023