Delta-Simons was commissioned by GLP to undertake a bespoke project comprising possibly the first detailed, and fully Habitats Regulations Assessment compliant, risk assessment of contaminated land in the UK.
Planning permission was sought by GLP for the redevelopment of a strategically important former UK Coal ‘disposal’ Site (27 Ha. in area) to create a new warehouse and distribution facility.
The assessment was a key supporting document to the successful planning application which included the relocation of a 1km stretch of a watercourse directly feeding the River Mease Special Area for Conservation (SAC).
Scope of Works
The proposed development required the diversion of a tributary of the River Mease into a new watercourse around the perimeter of the Site, necessitating the construction of over 1km of new river channel and requiring assessment and management of underlying disused railway sidings, former UK Coal infrastructure a coal seam and bedrock.
Stringent assessment, in line with the Habitats Regulations, was required to enable the development, and included consideration of the cumulative effects of other nearby developments. Delta-Simons designed a robust assessment which included phased targeted intrusive investigation to obtain baseline soil and groundwater data of the existing and proposed watercourse routes and analysis to determine upstream water quality and enable commentary on the existing impact to the Site and potential contaminant loading to the watercourse. The assessment included academic review of international ecotoxicological data and consideration of Environment Agency conservation objectives for the SAC in order to provide the a sufficiently robust assessment considered acceptable by the regulating authorities and other project stakeholders.
The project concluded that the identified limited adverse effects could be mitigated by redirection of the channel. and sealing of a coal seam which would be exposed in the new watercourse.
Outcomes / Client Benefit
The design of the investigation and risk assessment was such that, in one phase of work, it was possible to demonstrate the absence of an adverse effect beyond reasonable scientific doubt (a significantly higher benchmark than the balance of probability approach taken by typical Contaminated Land assessment). It was therefore possible to focus the required mitigation measures and so enhance the outcome value to the Client and cost savings to the project. Delta-Simons successfully liaised with a variety of stakeholders, providing clear and robust technical support to the satisfaction of all consultees.
The Assessment was successful in removing a statutory ecological objection to the planning application and facilitated development of a large brownfield site, whilst ensuring a sensitive waterbody is protected and enhanced.