Phosphate Success in Cornwall – PL31

We have been issuing Phosphate Assessment Reports in Somerset for over a year now, and the situation for many developers is becoming quite awful with delays now of over a year in decision making. We have made enquiries with Natural England as to why.

We have had some good news however, with one of our reports recently passed off in Bodmin, Cornwall (Postcode – PL31). This site suggested use of a package treatment plant, a filter tank, and a constructed wetland land (reed bed) to treat water prior to discharge to the Camel River. The site is immediately adjacent to the Camel SAC, so was quite a high risk site, yet the result was successful.

Nationaly we now have reports passed off in Sussex, Somerset and Cornwall, and thus feel failry cofient that our method is acceptable on the whole. Please ring to talk about your site. No Obligation of course.,

You can read more about Phosphate Assessments and Nutrient Neutrality on our main Website.

Carbon Footprint Work for Shopfitters – PL21

We have this week, complete two sets of carbon footprint calculations for a shopfitting firm in the Southwest of England.

The footprint work we have undertaken, will allow them to easily present a carbon footprint for a job, alongside their cost estimate. Some of their clients find this information important.

The method used was an input / output model. This allows us to calculate the carbon footprint of an item based on it cost. The method is perhaps the least accurate method for carbon footprinting. However, it is much much more likely to be undertaken owing to the simplicity of the method.

Tradition life cycle assessment and the subsequent carbon footprinting work can be be very time consuming, and prone to data gaps, which in turn result in incomplete studies. More time also means more money (greater cost) and as such companies with complex supply chains can be reluctant to undertake traditional LCA carbon footprinting as it coosts such a great deal.

The carbon footprinting values we have provided, slip easily in to existing reporting frameworks, and can be used to provide greater insight, in to the capital carbon involved in the various projects undertaken.

Location: 92PW+FR Ivybridge

Phosphates Mitigation Reports

2021 was quite a busy year for Southwest Environmental Limited, we had a fairly typical work load from our long term client base, however we have seen a lot of new work from new clients relating to phosphate assessments, and nutrient neutrality.

We have undertaken reports mainly in the Southwest, however we have also undertaken some reporting for sites in the south east, in the vicinity of Stodmarsh.

Despite having a few reports passed off, and dealing with 100’s of emails with regards to extra details, from planners, natural england, and ecologists the majority of applications mired by the Phosphate Issue remain in limbo.

It would appear there is no one cable or willing to make a decision to pass off the reports.

Some of the older reports date back to November 2020, and as you might expect that is a long time to wait for news on a planning application.

A Phosphate Ion – Creative Commons License (NEUROtiker)

Our reports are now however quite thorough in terms of their content. We have iron out early wrinkles experience in early days of 2021, and had many discussions with consultees and planners, adjust and refining our reporting process each time to meet content requirements.

We have advised on on-site schemes, such as reed beds, or on-site woodland (sometimes a combination of both), and we have a method for reduce reed bed sizes using a special filtration method.

Some sites are not able to implement on-site schemes owing to perhaps lack of space or proximity to mains sewer. In these instances we have specified off-site mitigation schemes such as woodland. Off-site reed bed schemes are a very complicated proposition.

If you would like to discuss your project and any associated phosphate, nitrate or nutrient issues associated with it. Then please do contact us.

Read more about Phosphate Assessments on our website.

Soak-Away Test Report Gloucester

Soak-Away Test Report Gloucester  

We have recently been commissioned to deliver a BRE 365 Soak-Away Test in Gloucester. The proposed development is residential. 

From commissioning to issue of report the turnaround for this project was under 5 days. 

The results were fair and we design the system in line with the planning authorities requirements, which was a 1:100 year rainfall event with a 40% allowance for climate change.  

Southwest Environmental Limited carry out soak-away testing all over the UK. If you need a report for planning, or to aid with design then please get in touch and we can provide a fixed price. 

P.s. The ground conditions on this job were sandy, with a touch of gravel. People often assume that if they see sand and gravel they will get a good result, but if there is an amount of clay in the sand and gravel mix, this can quickly reduce soakaway rates to low levels. 

Daylight and Sunligy Assessment – London – N4

We have recently been commissioned to undertake a sunlight and daylight assessment in North London (N4).


The project is relatively small involving a roof extension.


We have been provided with plan for the proposal, as well as detailed elevations, and we will prepare a before and after comparison of sunlighting and daylighting conditions.


The BRE209 guide suggests that  20% reduction in lighting levels is acceptable, most projects fall within the 20% allowance.


If you are looking for an environmental consultant in London to undertake a Sunlight and Daylight Assessment then please call or email Southwest Environmental limited we would be very happy to assist and we can also provide design advice.




Permit Variation – Trowbridge – Wiltshire

We have recently been commissioned to undertake a Permit Variation  in Trowbridge, Wilshire.


The site has been running under an existing permit for a number of years, but an upgrade to some of their equipment will mean that an environmental permit variation.


On the face of things this would seem fairly easy, but in reality it is very tricky as the EA often ask for all kind of information, which might extend to activities outside of the variation.


For example if you were to vary the permit because you are installing a new boiler over 1 MW, they may also ask you to provide new emissions data on your abatement system for dust extract.


More often than not things can and do inflate past the requirements for what logically might be expected when varying an environmental permit.


If you would like to find out more please call for a no obligation chat.



Flood Risk Assessment – Bristol

Flood Risk Assessment – Bristol 

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently been commissioned to prepare a flood risk assessment for a site in Bristol (Avonmouth). The site is subject to tidal flooding and, as if typical with the majority of the Avonmouth area, is low lying.

Avonmouth – Docks

Key factor explored in the flood risk assessment will be the anticipated flood depths from tidal, fluvial and pluvial (rain) flooding, and then design of mitigate measures.

In this instance the application is retrospective which will create further challenges. We will have to make sue of the current site lay out, existing outbuildings and other factor in order to present a positive proposal.

The report will include a Exception Test and Sequential Test

Image rights

English: The Royal Edward Dock at Avonmouth, 13 March 2014.
Source Own work
Author N. Johannes

Independent Review of Planning Documents – St Albans

Independent Review of Planning Documents – St Albans

We have recently been offered a small job by St Albans Council to look over a Planning Application, and provide steering on likely Environmental Impacts to the development.

The situation is quite unusual in that the a housing development was being assessed on the basis of proposed impacts from a large mineral working & landfill scheme, that had not yet commenced. 

The mineral working (quarry) scheme in question had been approved by environmental permitting, but planning permission was still pending at the time of our review.

We reviewed the extensive Environmental Impact Assessment that had been submitted in support of the Quarry & Landfill Application.

We made review of the following Environmental Impact Assessment chapters:

  • Noise Impact
  • Dust Impact 

We also recommended for further assessment in following areas:

  •  Bio Aerosol
  • Odour 

The main benefit to the local populace was the restriction of the sites operating hour to standard business hours.

Bio Aerosol and Dust risks typically fall away quite quickly at a distance of 250m from source, as the housing site was within 250 meters of the proposed quarry and landfill we recommended further assessment in these areas.

Surface Water Drainage Reporting – Essex

Surface Water Drainage Reporting – Essex

Acting on instructions from a repeat client we have prepared a number of drainage reports and plans for a project in Thurrock , Essex.

The work included a BRE 365 Report, A Surface Water Drainage Strategy and a Detailed Drainage Plan.

Surface water drainage requirements have become more and more onerous over the last few years, and you can expect a good deal of detail to be required at planning.

We used falling head test results from borehole soak-away tests to derive a required soak-away size in accordance with BRE 365.

We were then able to work up a detailed drainage scheme, include attenuation volumes, and drainage layout, drainage details and invert / cover levels.

BRE365 Soak-Away Testing in Gloucester

BRE365 Soak-Away Testing in Gloucester

SWEL recently received a phone call from a company in Gloucester who needed a BRE 365 soak-awat report for a planning application. They happened to have a digger and a water supply on site, so we attended site on the same day to take measurements etc. and produce a report (the following day).

We also included some surface water drainage strategy in the report, and made a robust conclusion that will hopefully see that the planning related matters are satisfied.

A Large Excavator

The digger used was really rather karge for the job, we would normally use a 2.5 ton digger. But in this instance we had a 20 ton beast, with a 1.5m wide bucket. Needless to say the holes were quite large.

If you require some soak-away testing undertaking we can help out, maybe not on the same day as we did here but we will do our best.

Foul and Surface Water Drainage