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Friday, 27 June 2008

Infringement under the Tort of Nuisance - The Proposed Recycling Plant at Sellindge

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Interim Schedule of Concerns re the Proposed Development of a Waste Treatment Plant and Associated Facilities at Otterpool Quarry - 24th June 2008

This document has been prepared for and on behalf of the residents of Sellindge and neighbouring villages including Newingreen, Lympne, Stanford with Westenhanger (The Residents) who would be adversely affected as a consequence of the proposed development of a Waste Treatment Plant at the Quarry Site on the corner of Otterpool Lane and the A20 in Sellindge.

It categorises the concerns of The Residents and expresses their concerns in summary form only. A more detailed report by the Sellindge and District Residents Association will be prepared and provided as a formal submission to Kent County Council Planning Applications Committee and our elected representatives.

1 Physical Appearance

1.1 There is a lack of information about the physical appearance of the proposal. No contextual elevations have been submitted with the application.

1.2 The size of the proposed development is completely out of proportion to the surroundings and to the needs of the local area population for waste disposal.

1.3 The planning application provides some indication of individual building heights. From this information we conclude that the proposed development would be overly dominant in the local landscape.

1.4 The proposed development would sit on rising ground above the village of Sellindge in a dominant position on the skyline viewed from the village.

1.5 It would also dominate the view from Folkestone Racecourse, parts of the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Newingreen, Westenhanger and, very importantly, from the North Downs AONB.

1.6 It would be visible from Farthing Common and other viewpoints on the Downs,

1.7 The main buildings would tower over the Airport Café on the A20, an important local landmark and meeting point, as well as other residential properties of Newingreen and the main part of Sellindge starting within 500 metres of the site.

1.8 There is a paucity of information in the application concerning the impact on the surrounding sight lines.

1.9 If this were a residential proposal of similar physical size, it would be rejected for the above reasons. For these reasons we request that an accurate visual representation of the proposed development be provided for public viewing in Sellindge Village Hall.

2 Traffic and Access

2.1 This proposal forecasts from 152 to 168 lorry movements in total per day. This number does not include vehicles required to remove waste water from the site, there being no consent to discharge waste water.

2.2 Our calculations show that were this operation working at full capacity, the already high proposed level of traffic movements is significantly understated.

2.3 Traffic movements required for staff and management appear to have been calculated without a clear statement of the actual numbers of personnel to be employed.

2.4 The effects of the additional traffic would exacerbate other traffic increases resulting from the further extension of the Lympne Industrial Park (Link Park 2) now under way, the proposed enlargement of the Holiday Extras site at Newingreen and increasing commuter traffic using Westenhanger Station.

2.5 The effects of additional traffic through the village of Sellindge, and especially the already busy A20 junction at Newingreen, would not be tolerated by The Residents, any more than the additional pollution and increased threat to safety.

2.6 We believe the traffic impact assessment conclusions to be flawed and significantly understated. The applicant should be asked to reconcile the assessment so that it is consistent with the proposed development operating at full capacity.

3 Operational Activities

3.1 There is nothing in the application which properly explains the proposed operation to the members of this community.

3.2 Residents are very concerned at the lack of information about exactly what material would be processed at the site, its origin and distance travelled, as in this respect the application appears to be at variance with the Proximity Principle underwritten by National Planning Policy Statements.

3.3 In the absence of any express discussion with the applicant, residents are unable to follow much of the logic as presented in the application, and the criteria used to reach conclusions on noise, odour and waste output.

3.4 The applicant is asked to provide full details of disposal and transportation of grey and black waters together with digestion plant process residues from the site within the declared lorry movements.

3.5 The application is silent concerning detailed movements of waste and other materials within the site and the applicant is asked to provide this.

3.6 The application does not show analysis that will have been carried out quantifying the risks to human health from airborne pollution, especially particulates and the necessary mitigation controls.

3.7 The Residents are concerned about the production of hazardous gases, including methane and hydrogen sulphide, and their discharge into the air above Sellindge and any potential danger this might pose to the area, The Residents, and the endangered species programme of the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. These gases are a danger to health and we request a full independent safety report detailing any risks to health and quality of life from them in such close proximity to residential areas.

3.8 The applicant should be asked to provide a detailed process map to explain the methods to be used in all aspects of the operation of the plant, showing all controls and how these controls will be independently monitored to ensure effectiveness.

3.9 The output from the processes envisaged, including noxious substances, would need to be removed and The Residents are concerned about what exactly these products are.

3.10 Residents are concerned how output from the site would be moved safely, where it would be taken and by what route.

3.11 We are further concerned about any potential risk to public health in the event that any part of the processing stages fail and a build-up and/or backlog of inbound or outbound material occur.

3.12 Residents would under no circumstances be prepared to tolerate any accumulation of rotting and foetid waste building up within proximity of the Villages.

4 Environmental and Ecological Impact

4.1 The Residents are angered by the decision by KCC not to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment as required under European Directive and Town and Country Planning Regulations in relation to this application, including the thorough consideration of alternative sites. It is the view of this community that such a requirement must be met in full. Failure to do so will be robustly challenged.

4.2 We highlight that the Environment Agency list this site as vulnerable, being located on part of the Kent North Downs Wealden Aquifer.

4.3 The Residents of the area therefore require a full Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out in respect of this application and that this be insisted upon by our elected representatives.

4.4 The Residents believe that this proposal is not in accordance with the requirements of the current draft Kent Waste Plan.

4.5 Residents are concerned at the absence of detail concerning bunding, containment of waste, hazardous materials, the control of hazardous operations, and a Safety Risk Assessment for this operation and the applicant should be asked to provide this.

4.6 Residents are concerned about proposals for the control and containment of vermin, flies and other nuisances.

4.7 We are concerned about the ecological and visual impact the proposed plant would have on the local area which includes the North Downs AONB

4.8 We are concerned about the effect this proposed development would have on the Folkestone Bed (Lower Greensand) Aquifer and potentially disastrous environmental consequences.

4.9 The proposed site is alongside a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The proposed development would have inevitable affect by arresting groundwater movement, with consequential downstream impact.

4.10 The submission documents claim that the proposed development is environmentally friendly. Contrary to this our view is that it is environmentally unsound. It is certain that this proposed development would significantly add to the phenomenon of global warming by reason of all aspects of the project, and as such is unsustainable.

4.11 This application is the second commercial waste treatment facility within 1 mile of Sellindge and is absolutely unacceptable.

5 Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal

5.1 Drinking water shortages throughout the South-East are frequently headline news. The Folkestone Bed (Lower Greensand) Aquifer is the second most important source of drinking water supply in Kent. The proposed development jeopardises future opportunities to use this aquifer for public water supply, or other uses, and this is unacceptable for all of Kent. We reiterate our demands for a full Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out.

5.2 The Residents are concerned that the application does not show how much water would be consumed by the plant when in operation. We believe that this must relate to the volume of liquids leaving the site although the application makes no reference at all to these matters.

5.3 The application refers to an existing consent to discharge surface water applying to the site. It does not. A surface water discharge consent was granted to Redland Aggregates in 1989 but has long been defunct.

5.4 We have noted that no active surface water discharge consent exists for this location. There is also no foul water sewer in reasonable vicinity of the site.

5.5 Sections of the local foul drainage network are already overloaded and under stress, overflowing when operating at full capacity, a fact logged by the residents of Westenhanger and the Environment Agency.

5.6 If the applicant intends to avoid employing road tankers to remove liquid waste from the site, a mains sewer to serve the site would have to be constructed, connected to the existing network, and that network extended and upgraded. We have yet to see the calculations of the waste output from the site and associated operations.

5.7 The Environment Agency requires full details of drainage proposals and protections for the site before it will consider or grant any plant facility operating licences. Detailed drainage design is a fundamental criteria for installations of this sort and should be evaluated within the main body of the planning submission. These issues are too important to be left to be dealt with as future conditional matters.

5.8 Groundwater levels in the local area are naturally high and the proposals do not show how the development would respond to this. The proposal envisages the construction of very large buildings, with correspondingly deep foundations for which no detail is provided. These must affect the local aquifer and groundwater flows. We require assurances and details of how these would be achieved without adversely affecting the groundwater.

5.9 We would expect the applicant to have to demonstrate site specific solutions to these fundamental issues.

5.10 The applicant states that conventional petrol interceptors will be used to remove contaminants from site area surface water run off. This technology would only separate any petroleum oils and not deal with water-borne contaminants. The application is entirely silent on the possibility of toxins escaping from the plant and methods of containment.

5.11 We are astonished that the application seems to have given these fundamental issues such little attention, and are most unhappy that the strategy to be adopted by the applicant for dealing with surface water drainage, foul water and industrial discharges is so unclear.

5.12 We would expect the applicant to demonstrate site specific solutions to these fundamental issues. The applicant is asked to specify their strategy, the risks associated with those matters, the controls that would be in place and the methods they would use to ensure all controls are effective.

5.13 These items are too important to be left to a condition in any proposed planning approval and we require the issues to be attended to before the application is considered.

6 Noise, Odour and Nuisance

6.1 Airborne particulates and dust from the Mixed Recycling Facility operation would soil the surrounding areas.

6.2 Insufficient study has been carried out to assess the true effect that noise and light pollution from the operation of the site would have on residents in Sellindge, Newingreen and Lympne.

6.3 Workers in the Lympne Industrial Estate would suffer diminished and unpleasant working conditions from the potential for airborne particulate spread.

6.4 Noise generation from on-site handling of MRF waste would include glass and metals “clattering” which would magnify the impact of intrusive noise.

7 Local Economic Impact

7.1 We are concerned about the effects that this plant, the traffic movements, the noxious odours, the prospect of airborne pollution, the visual impact and the operation would have on the local people, their economy and amenity.

7.2 The site is on a signposted tourist trail which highlights the beauty and history of the local area.

7.3 It would adversely impact the businesses of Folkestone Racecourse, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Westenhanger Castle and The Airport Café.

7.4 It would blight local property and depress values significantly.

8 Governance

8.1 The applicant should be asked to provide clear evidence of the strategy, economic case and business plan for this proposal. We believe that local waste output would be insufficient to satisfy a plant development of this size and that waste would be brought from increasingly greater distances to the site for processing.

8.2 The applicant should be asked to disclose details of any public contracts that it has been awarded in respect of this proposed operation and strategy.

8.3 We are concerned that additional requirements would have significant effect on the business case for this development. We have computed this to be marginal based on the consumption and extent of processing declared by the applicant.

8.4 We are concerned for public safety, the impact on public health and the dangers this proposal poses to the local environment and ecology. We are concerned that the application provides no information on disaster planning and this should be requested from the applicant before the application is considered.

8.5 We are concerned to establish the capacity of the applicant to withstand business interruption, given the information in the public domain about the applicant company's financial status.

8.6 We are very concerned that should the business plan for this proposal fail, in full or in part, this development would become an even greater and graver economic, environmental and ecological crisis for the local and surrounding community.

8.7 We request evidence of the applicant’s ability and bona fides to construct and operate a facility of such size which we believe would be one of the biggest in Europe.

9 Sustainability

9.1 This is not a sustainable solution to the problems of waste recycling, regionally or locally.

9.2 We are extremely concerned that the extent of vehicle movements makes this an environmentally unfriendly proposition

9.3 There are no proposals for dealing with biogas. Methane, the main by-product, is 20 times more significant than carbon dioxide as a climate change gas.

9.4 KCC has a statutory obligation to develop a Waste Plan for the County. We know that they have been doing this for many years and this site has not featured in this debate. The Quarry site must not be regarded as acceptable simply as a matter of political convenience.


The Residents of Sellindge and surrounding areas have the above concerns and these will be presented to the members of the Kent County Council Planning Applications Committee when they visit Sellindge to hear the concerns of The Residents. This schedule will also be issued formally to place on record. The intensity of residents' views has previously been evidenced by a large attendance at a Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 1st April 2008 and by a public march on 3rd May 2008 attended by over 600 residents.


This summary of the concerns of The Residents has been compiled from views expressed by Residents and specialists that have offered their support and help. It will be circulated to The Residents by email, village newsletters, or flyers and by placing it on which provides full information about the work of the Sellindge and District Residents Association on behalf of the Residents. It will also be copied to our current elected Parish, District and County Council representatives, and to the sitting Member of Parliament for the area.


The Residents of Sellindge, Newingreen, Lympne, Westenhanger, Monks Horton, Broad Green and surrounding areas


24 June 2008.

© 2008 Sellindge & District Residents Association 998.080622
with thanks to CPRE Kent for their support.
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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Meeting at Sellindge Village Hall with the KCC Planning Team - Tuesday 24th June, 7 pm


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