The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.
VPI Immingham OCGT
Received 20 June 2019
From Environment Agency
From Environment Agency
“1.0 Introduction 1.1 The Environment Agency is an executive non-departmental public body established under the Environment Act 1995. It is an adviser to Government with principal aims to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. It plays a central role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government through its functions and roles. It is also an adviser to local decision makers in its role as a statutory consultee in respect of particular types of development, as listed in Schedule 4 of the Development Management Procedure Order 2015. For the purposes of this Development Consent Order (DCO) application, we are a statutory interested party. 1.2 The Environment Agency takes action to conserve and secure proper use of water resources, preserve and improve the quality of rivers, estuaries and coastal waters and groundwaters through pollution control powers and regulating discharge consents. We have a duty to implement the Water Framework Directive. 1.3 We have regulatory powers in respect of waste management and remediation of contaminated land designated as special sites. We also encourage remediation of land contamination through the planning process. 1.4 The Environment Agency is the principal flood risk management operating authority. It has the power (but not the legal obligation) to manage flood risk from designated main rivers and the sea. The Environment Agency is also responsible for increasing public awareness of flood risk, flood forecasting and warning and has a general supervisory duty for flood risk management. We also have a strategic overview role for all flood and coastal erosion risk management. 2.0 Scope of these representations 2.1 These Relevant Representations contain an overview of the project issues, which fall within our remit. They are given without prejudice to any future detailed representations that we may make throughout the examination process. We may also have further representations to make when supplementary information becomes available in relation to the project. 2.2 We have reviewed the DCO application, Environmental Statement (ES) and supporting documents submitted as part of the above mentioned application, which we received on 17 May 2019. The comments are presented under topic headings. 3.0 Foul water drainage 3.1 We have had discussions with the applicant during the pre-application consultation period in respect of foul water drainage/disposal (in relation to sanitary or domestic wastewater from offices/administration/welfare facilities). We have advised the applicant that the discharge of effluent must be to the public sewerage system whenever it is reasonable to do so – the sewerage undertaker in this area is Anglian Water Services (AWS) and the applicant should liaise with them to establish if a public sewerage connection is feasible. For developments where the existing sewerage undertaker for an area is not willing or able to allow a development to connect to the existing public sewerage network it may be possible for any new sewage treatment plant and associated drains and sewers to be adopted as part of the public sewerage network – again, this is something that the applicant should discuss with AWS. 3.2 Chapter 12, paragraph 12.8.20 states that “A septic tank or bioreactor is likely to be used for treatment of sanitary or domestic wastewater from offices/administration/welfare facilities. Solids from the septic tank will be emptied as required and tankered off site to a waste treatment plant. Clean water from the septic tank or bioreactor will combine with other site clean water including surface water to drain off site via a local land drain”. 3.3 This would not be permitted. It is not clear what is meant by a bioreactor, but effluent from a septic tank can only go to an infiltration system (soakaway). If (having investigated the possibility of discharging to the public sewerage system as outlined in paragraph 3.1 above and concluded this is not feasible) they wish to discharge the effluent to a surface drain i.e watercourse or a sealed pond, they will be required to have a package treatment plant. This will treat the effluent to a quality to which they can then discharge to a surface drain/ pond. The plant will need to meet British standards BS EN 12566 and meet the general binding rules. 3.4 We note that Schedule 2, Requirement 10, covers the issue of foul water drainage and states under sub-paragraph (4) that “the details submitted and approved pursuant to sub-paragraphs (1) and (3) of this requirement must be in accordance with the principles set out in chapter 12……. of the environmental statement….”. As mentioned in paragraph 3.3 above, the proposal in Chapter 12 of the ES would not be permitted and therefore this wording is not acceptable to us. 3.5 It is our view that it would be prudent to consider redrafting Requirement 10 to firstly separate out the issues of surface and foul water drainage. This would also assist the local planning authority with more focused consultation during discharge of the Requirement as the Environment Agency is no longer a consultee for surface water systems, and the lead local flood authority and drainage board may not wish to be consulted on the foul water system details. 3.6 Secondly, the redrafting in respect of foul drainage should include the requirement to connect to a public (mains) sewerage system (unless it is demonstrated that this is unfeasible to do so), or provide further details to demonstrate than a non-mains system can be provided that will not cause harm to the water environment. The following wording is suggested: Requirement: Foul water drainage (1) No part of the authorised development may commence, save for the permitted preliminary works, until full details of a scheme, for the connection, conveyance, treatment and disposal of mains foul water drainage on and off site has been submitted to, and after consultation with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water Services, approved by the relevant planning authority. (2) If, and only when, it is demonstrated that it is unfeasible to connect to a mains system, an alternative strategy for the provision and implementation of wastewater treatment shall be submitted to, and after consultation with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water Services, approved by the relevant planning authority. Any non-mains drainage proposal must include a management and maintenance plan to ensure it will not cause pollution to the water environment. (3) The scheme approved must be implemented as approved and maintained throughout the operation of the authorised development unless otherwise agreed with the relevant planning authority. 4.0 Land contamination 4.1 We have reviewed Chapter 11 of the ES and the associated Appendices, 11A-11D, in so far as it relates to issues within our remit, i.e. the protection of controlled waters. 4.2 The recommendations made in the Supplementary Phase 1 Assessment (10 October 2018 – Appendix 11B) for additional investigation of the VPI facility, were made subsequent to the Phase 2 Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Interpretative Report (Rev. 02, 19 September 2018 – Appendix 11D). The findings of all previous ground investigations were referenced in the Supplementary Phase 1 Assessment (Section 6). 4.3 We acknowledge that the data gaps identified in the Supplementary Phase 1 Geo-Environmental Assessment relate to the existing VPI facility rather than the proposed OCGT Power Station Site development land. In so far as it relates to the proposed development land to the north of the current VPI site, we do not consider that further risk assessment for controlled waters is required at this time. 4.4 However, should any redevelopment be undertaken in the area of the existing VPI facility, further work may be required to fully assess the potential risk to controlled waters from the potential mobilisation of contamination during construction. The Supplementary Phase 1 Assessment has identified potential risks from contamination associated with the VPI site. 4.5 We can confirm that Requirement 12 of the DCO is sufficient to ensure that these risks are appropriately managed during development to protect controlled waters. 5.0 Flood risk 5.1 We have reviewed the flood risk assessment (FRA) contained in Appendix 12A (ES Volume III). The proposed lifetime of the development has been identified as 40 years (paragraph 5.2.10). However, for the purpose of the assessment it has been assumed that the lifetime of the development is 100 years, providing a worst case scenario. The appropriate flood levels for this scenario have been considered. We also note that the assessment has used the UKCP18 climate change predictions, as required by paragraphs 4.8.5 to 4.8.12 of the Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1). 5.2 We can confirm that the assessment is appropriate for the scale, nature and location of the development and makes appropriate recommendations for mitigation. We concur with the recommendations that: • critical equipment be set no lower than 6.7m above Ordnance Datum (AOD); • flood resilience and resistance measures be incorporated into the proposed development; • any internal floor level providing a safe place of refuge for the occupiers of the proposed development area within the site would need to be elevated above a level of 6.7 mAOD; and • a Flood Emergency Response Plan be developed. 5.3 We are pleased to note a Flood Emergency Response Plan has been proposed but we would highlight that the Environment Agency does not normally comment on or approve the adequacy of proposed flood emergency response procedures accompanying development proposals, as we do not carry out these roles during a flood. Our involvement with this development during an emergency will be limited to delivering flood warnings to occupants/users covered by our flood warning network. The Planning Practice Guidance (Flood Risk and Coastal Change section, paragraphs 56-58) provides information on producing an evacuation plan for the development as part of the flood risk assessment. In all circumstances where warning and emergency response is fundamental to managing flood risk, we advise local planning authorities to formally consider the emergency planning and rescue implications of new development in making their decisions. 5.4 The DCO contains (in Schedule 2) Requirement 12, which requests the submission and approval of flood risk mitigation schemes, which need to be in accordance with the principles set out in Chapter 12 of the ES. We confirm that we support the inclusion of this Requirement to ensure that appropriate mitigation is included in the development and subsequently maintained throughout the lifetime of the development. However, as outlined in paragraph 5.3 above, the Environment Agency does not comment on Flood Emergency Response Plans and therefore requests being removed as a consultee to Requirement 12(6). 5.5 Please note that our advice relates to flood risk from fluvial and tidal sources only; we have not considered the risk of flooding from ground water, drainage systems, reservoirs, canals or ordinary watercourses. We recommend that further advice on these issues is sought from the relevant flood risk management authorities. 6.0 Environmental permit 6.1 The proposed combustion installation will require an operating permit from us under Schedule 1.1 Part A of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. We will be including the following key areas of potential harm when making an assessment for the Permit: • Management – including general management, accident management, energy efficiency, efficient use of raw materials and disposal/recovery of wastes. • Operating activities and techniques including the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT) for design and management. • Emissions to air and discharges to water, land and groundwater along with odour, noise and vibration. 6.2 Whilst we note that the applicant has undertaken a detailed air quality impact study, we have not currently reviewed this. A detailed assessment of the air quality impacts is required as part of the environmental permit application, and we will therefore undertake a review of this during our determination process for the permit. Cumulative impact modelling due to the presence of the neighbouring oil refineries and the neighbouring power station may also be required to support the permit application. 6.3 We also note that the applicant has not formalised the arrangements for the offsite discharge of process waters from the proposed activity, and therefore this will be assessed during the permit determination process. 6.4 Based on the information submitted with the planning application, we have not identified any major permitting concerns. An application for the environmental permit has been received at our National Permitting Service. At present we cannot provide any details relating to our determination of this permit, although we may be able to provide an update on progress as your Examination proceeds. 7.0 Further Representations 7.1 We will submit further detailed Written Representations in due course. We reserve the right to add or amend these representations, including requests for DCO Requirements and protective provisions should further information be forthcoming during the course of the examination on issues within our remit.”