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;
- Areas where there will be loading and unloading of dust-generating materials, and
Construction Environmental Control Measures
- Where dust monitoring is a condition of planning permission granted for the operation of borrow pits, the requirements of the planning authority should be adhered to. Where specific emission limits are not set, a general guide that might be adopted is 1mg/m3. Batneec Guidance Note for the Extraction of Minerals (Environmental Protection Agency, 1997).
- Where required, a schedule for dust monitoring, recording and reporting should be drawn up.