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Ensure development projects aren’t derailed by air quality concerns

Developers proposing projects that would have adverse impacts on air quality should anticipate refusal on air quality grounds.

Here are some steps developers can take to make sure projects aren’t derailed by air quality concerns:

  • Involve outside experts as soon as possible – ideally prior to site acquisition – so they can review design proposals and identify potential air quality issues and broader environmental constraints in order to manage and mitigate them as the project proceeds.
  • Engage early with local planning authorities to minimise the risk of surprises when the planning application is submitted. Verde has long experience with this type of engagement and can guide you through the process.
  • Ensure that the planning submission meets the expectations of the regulators. This doesn’t mean over-specifying the air quality assessment, but making sure that the relevant risks are clearly understood and will be controlled as part of the development process.

The impact of both dust and vehicle emissions during the construction phase will have been considered within the EIS and there is likely to be a number of Environmental Commitments/Requirements emanating from the reference documents. Environmental Control Measures assist in meeting these commitments/requirements.

Air Pollution Environmental Control Measures

  •  In situations where the source of dust is within 25m of sensitive receptors (e.g., Designated Conservation Areas or residential housing, schools, hospitals, places of worship, sports centres and shopping areas (i.e., places where members of the public are likely to be regularly present)) the erection of screens (permeable or semi-permeable fences) should be considered.
  • Burning of any material on site should be strictly prohibited.
  • Haulage vehicles transporting gravel and other similar materials to site should be covered.
  • Access and exit of vehicles should be restricted to certain access/exit points.
  • Vehicle speed restrictions should be considered.
  • Stockpiles should be covered.
  • Gravel should be used at site exit points to remove caked-on dirt from tyres and tracks.
  • Equipment should be washed at the end of each work day.
  • Hard surfaced roads should be wet-swept to remove any deposited materials.
  • Unsurfaced roads should be restricted to essential site traffic only.
  • Wheel-washing facilities should be located at all exits from the construction site.
  • Dust production as a result of site activity should be minimized by regular cleaning of the site access roads using vacuum road sweepers and washers. Access roads should be cleaned at least 0.5 km on either side of the approach roads to the access points.
  • The frequency of cleaning should be determined by the Site Agent and is weather and activity dependent.
  • Stockpiles height should be kept to a minimum and slopes should be gentle to avoid windblown soil dust.
  • The following should be damped down during warm and sunny weather:
  • Unpaved areas subject to traffic and wind;
  • Structures and buildings during demolition;
  • Stockpiles;
  • Areas where there will be loading and unloading of dust-generating materials, and
  • Borrow-pits.

Construction Environmental Control Measures

Control of Dust from Construction and Demolition Activities (BRE, 2003)

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Verde Environmental Consultants provides a wide range of environmental air quality monitoring and management services, including:

  • Licence compliance monitoring.
  • Commissioning of a new plant or processes.
  • Contaminated site investigation or remediation monitoring.
  • Baseline monitoring for environmental impact assessments.
  • Industrial and community complaint or nuisance assessment.
  • Occupational exposure monitoring for vapours, dusts and aerosols.
  • Environmental and occupational management of construction projects.

Verde can provide for either short-term representative sampling or long–term monitoring depending on project types. More up to date monitoring options involve the installation of continuous air monitoring equipment connected by telemetry to a remote desktop.  Verde can set up options for text or email alerts to be received when certain “trigger” levels are exceeded.  All data will be stored in a cloud based database where real–time data access will enable prompt resolution of any potential non-compliances, as well providing proof to regulators or other stakeholders that the required standards are being complied with.

Verde will provide you with independent and impartial expertise and will ensure that the most appropriate and cost-effective monitoring approach is taken to match your specific requirements. We will help you:

  • Develop a monitoring scope to meet your specific needs.
  • Provide advice on environmental and planning legislative requirements.
  • Mitigate environmental and human health liability risks.
  • Liaise with regulators, legal/ insurance professionals, public and relevant stakeholders.