Category Archives: Environmental Impact

Top 5 Environmental Issues in Exeter

Top 5 Environmental Issues in Exeter

Here are the top 5 environmental issues in Exeter, Devon, UK. SWEL are Environmental Consultants based in Exeter, and are well placed to solve the below problems.

Air Pollution

Similar to many urban areas in the UK, Exeter struggles with air pollution. Traffic congestion, domestic solid fuel burning, and industrial activities contribute to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air. These pollutants can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, and even lung cancer.

Image of Air pollution in Exeter

Climate Change

Exeter, like most places globally, is experiencing the effects of climate change. This includes rising temperatures, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like flooding and heatwaves, and rising sea levels. These changes pose a significant threat to the city’s infrastructure, natural environment, and public health.

Climate change will exacerbate flood risk in exeter.

Exeter City Council has made a Climate Emergency declaration, the Council’s Net Zero plan, and other sustainability initiatives:

Biodiversity Loss

The natural habitats around Exeter are under threat from development, pollution, and climate change. This is leading to a decline in the number and diversity of plant and animal species in the area. The loss of biodiversity can have a knock-on effect on the entire ecosystem, impacting everything from water quality to food security.

“Government conservation policies such as rewilding, organic farming and ‘nature friendly farming’ measures can accelerate global biodiversity loss,” says Ian Bateman – University of Exeter 

Image of Biodiversity loss in Exeter

Waste Management

Exeter faces challenges in managing its waste effectively. The amount of waste generated by the city is increasing, putting pressure on landfill sites and making recycling and composting essential.

If you require a waste disposal service, it is important to check that the company and person taking the refuse away is properly licensed. If not then YOU could get fine.

Water Quality

While the overall water quality in Exeter is good, there are still concerns about pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage discharge, and industrial activity. Protecting water sources and reducing pollution is crucial for maintaining a healthy water supply for the city.

Sewage Works discharging in to the river Exe, such as Countess Wear Sewage Works, spilled raw sewage in to the River Exe 41 times in 2022, and other infrastructure associated with  Countess Wear Sewage Works (Pumping Stations) Spilled an additional 150 times during the same period.

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.

Odour Impact Assessment – Devon

Odour Impact Assessment – Devon

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently issued an Odour Impact Assessment report for a large poultry unit in Devon.
The report accounts for the placement of a large number of broiler (for meat) chickens in two sheds. 
There were various receptors near site that are sensitive to odour the limit being set at 3.0 eOU/m3.  
We use an AERMOD model to derive a Annual 98th Percentile Mean. 
The model use source inputs, which we referenced from the SCAIL report and receptors  are chosen, based on  proximity and sensitivity.

Ammonia Assessment – Cornwall

Ammonia Assessment – Cornwall

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently completed an Ammonia Assessment for an an agricultural building in Cornwall. 
The building is a large modern dairy unit with  associated yard areas and slurry management infrastructure. 
The brief from the client was to conduct a SCAIL Assessment so as to establish whether the project would screen out using this method of preliminary assessment. The project did not screen out, showing an exceedance of  ammonia deposition and concentration at nearby sensitive ecological receptors. 

Following this we constructed am AERMOD model to incorporate all features of the proposed development, and determined deposition and concentrations at the receptors that did not screen out in the SCAIL Assessment.
Our model return ed a positive result and we have submitted the report for assessment by Natural England.  

Noise Assessment – Camden – London

Southwest Environmental Limited  have been asked to prepare a Noise Assessment for a site on Camden High Street.  

Camden High Street is a short stretch of road (less than 500m long, forming part of the A400) in Camden Town, in north-northwest London.

KOKO, the former Camden Palace is in close proximity to the site and as such has been considered as a source of noise in the assessment. That being said planning conditions relating to the refitting and extension of KOKO see very strict noise control limits that should ensure minimal impact if properly enforced.

The report was assembled using secondary data from numerous baseline surveys that had been under taken in the area.

We then derived an appropriate background noise level, and compared this to British Standard noise level criteria, in accordance with BS 4142:214, the prevailing background sound level is not necessarily taken to  be the lowest recorded values, but rather the level that best represents the typical background  sound level during a defined period.

If you have any noise related planning issues, then please call the office for a no obligation discussion.

Air Qaulity Assessment – New Kent Rd, London

Air Quality Assessment – New Kent Rd, London

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently written an Air Quality Assessment for a site on New Kent Rd, London (SE1), the Air Quality Assessment report is for a small scale project. We prepare Air Quality Assessment Reports for any scale of project.

In this case the proposed project was at low risk of creating impacts as it was a single residential dwelling, the main focus of the report was assessment of risk from nearby sources such as New Kent Road.

NOX and Fine Particulate Levels fall off dramatically with distance, proving there is no canyoning effect. But in this case the streets lined with terraced houses do creating a canyoning effect which may prevent the dispersion of air borne pollutants.

This affect is hard to estimate, but we have used a review of nearby reports to make an estimate of air quality at the receptor (house) location and believe this will satisfy planning officials, with burdening the developer with disproportionate costs associated with bespoke modelling.

Image Courtesy of Luton Anderson 

Water Quality Impact Assessment – Kent

Water Quality Impact Assessment – Kent

Southwest Environmental Limited wear commissioned by a client from the Midlands, to undertake a Water Quality Impact Assessment in Kent. The assessment was for a proposed activity in a water body, where the water quality of said water body was very important to various stakeholders.

Luckily there was pre-existing monitoring data available from a pre-existing site which was utilised to form a baseline study.

The main risk from the activity was judged to be biological contamination of the water body. However, all the potentially impacted stakeholders would like not be affected owing to treatment of the water prior to use that would eliminate the biological contamination.

E Coli – A common Marker for Coliforms

The Water Quality Impact Assessment also identified that the baseline levels of pathogens within the water body as existing were relatively high, this was likely to introduction for farm land and water fowl. As the levels of these pathogens in baseline sample data fluctuated according to rainfall, which in the case of farm land / manure at least would indicate run-off as a source.

Lighting Assessment SSSI

Lighting Assessment SSSI 

SWEL have undertaken a Lighting Assessment in Rickmansworth, the site is to be developed, and lighting impact were required to be assessed. A thorough baseline study was made with a quantitative assessment of spill.

A  twilight survey was made to identify nearby light pollution sources. 

Riveting – Existing light fittings were surveyed. 

The Lighting Assessment Report was published in good time and was well received by the local planning authority. 

Noise Impact Assessment – Grays

Noise Impact Assessment – Grays

Acting upon instructions from client, Southwest Environmental have Produced a noise impact assessment according to British  Standards.

The noise assessment was carried out for a self storage warehouse project in the greys area the main impact considered within the report with traffic movements. Unlike typical warehousing we cannot expect large volumes of heavy goods vehicle traffic and research in noise levels were based around car movements rather than heavy goods vehicle movements another consideration was that of the 24 hour access required for self storage warehouses SWEL used data from various self storage associations to build a profile or anticipated vehicle movements the site is within an industrial area that there are residential units quite close to the eastern boundary of the site.

It was found that noise levels were as acceptable when assessed in line with the relevant British standards monastery was carried out over 24 hour period prior to the calculations being performed.

Noise Impact Assessment London

Odour Management Plan – Sussex

Odour Management Plan – Sussex

Southwest Environmental Limited have recently prepared an Odour Management Plan for a Nail Bar in Crawley, Sussex. The salon type establishment was sited within a busy shopping precinct. Our client had been requested by his local council to provide an odour management plan.

We were asked to prepare this document on a 3 working day turn around which we were just about able to do. We referenced industry codes of practices and focussed on the main causes of odour such as vapours and dust.

The odour management plan is a working document, and we aim to write such a report as simply as possible, with useful forms and survey checklists included for easy reference.

Odour Management Sussex