Category Archives: Planning

Planning Appeal – South Gloucestershire

Planning Appeal – South Gloucestershire

Southwest Environmental were engaged by a individual developer in the South Gloucestershire area. SWEL had previously supplied a Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan, and also a Flood Risk Assessment for the Site.

The planning application was refused on the grounds that the building character was not applicable to the area in which it was built. Which was clearly wrong, as the settlement has not specific character by which to compare the design of the building.

The other point for refusal was the failure of the site to pass the sequential test. Whilst some LPAs release excellent guidance for conducting the sequential test, the LPA in this instance were insisted on preventing the use of our normal assessment criteria (for determining reasonable alternative sites) whilst not suggesting any other criteria by which the site could be assessed!

To lead to a gridlock in the process, and despite us using our standard method for determining the sequential test, which was favourable, and has been widely accepted nationwide for 9 years the application for refused permission.

The appeal has now been lodged backed up by a 1800 word appeal statement, which sets out the grounds for appeal.

Planning Consultants Bristol

Expert Planning Objection – London

Expert Planning Objection – London


Southwest Environmental Limited (Environmental Consultants) were contacted by a residents group, who were trying to contest an application for a school in their neighbourhood. The residents group were concerned about the extra traffic generated by the proposed development and also as to whether the site was indeed suite for the intended use. 

An expert planning objection was prepared by Southwest Environmental we were requested that we limit our comments to those relating to air quality, although we would have happily commented on daylighting, traffic, or noise in this instance. 

The proposed school was situated on a busy junction, which has been subject to monitoring, for nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide has been shown to have chronic effects on the health of adults and children alike, although at present the is a great deal of uncertainty regarding safe exposure levels. 



To that end the European Union has set targets of 40ugm3 as an annual mean, and the site exceeds these values. There are have been various studies[1] that point to unsatisfactory air quality in the area, yet reports submitted in support of planning appear to show that this is not the case thus indicating a discrepancy.

In 2014 The European Commission launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to deal with air pollution. The EU reasoning behind case this was that levels of nitrogen dioxide, mainly from diesel engines, are “excessive” in many British cities. The Commission noted in its written statement at the time that nitrogen dioxide gas can lead to major respiratory illnesses and premature deaths.



It is important to note that there is no safe level set for exposure to nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is converted to nitric acid in the lungs, and this can exacerbate illnesses such as asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Studies[1] note the clear “associations between NO2 and respiratory problems among children”.

Professional Planning Objection – Lichfield, Birmingham

Professional Planning Objection – Lichfield, Birmingham – Into

A residents group from the village of Little Hay, Lichfield approach SWEL with concerns raised regrading the construction of a very large chicken factory, which was proposed to be within 500 meters of various residential and commercial properties.

Professional Planning Objection – Lichfield, Birmingham – Odour

Supporting documents submitted with the application showed that odour in particular was at very low levels, and would not affect surrounding properties, however remodelling of odour emissions by SWEL showed a very different picture.  

Professional Planning Objection – Lichfield, Birmingham – Dust

The dust impact assessment submitted with the application did not consider PM2.5 particulates, There is a wealth of evidence on the effects of short-term exposure to PM10 on respiratory health, but for mortality, and especially as a consequence of long-term exposure, PM2.5 is a stronger risk factor than the coarse part of PM10 (particles in the 2.5–10 μm range). All cause daily mortality is estimated to increase by 0.2–0.6% per 10 μg/m3 of PM10. Long-term exposure to PM2.5is associated with an increase in the long-term risk of cardiopulmonary mortality by 6–13% per 10 μg/m3 of PM2.5 [1].

 So it was felt important that the inadeqaucy of the assessment was brought to the attention o the planning authority.

 Professional Planning Objection – Lichfield, Birmingham – Pathogens

And so though out the application we saw the continued understatement of environmental impacts on a local level, and in some cases there were impacts that had not been considered at all.Such as risk from air bourne pathogens (figure 1).


[1] Pope CA III et al. Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality, and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002, 287(9): 1132–1141.