Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Barnet Council are making up the rules for air quality by major construction sites as they go along

 I was intrigued to read the section on air quality in the Council papers for the Brent Cross regeneration scheme, which is being debated next week  - Read page 51 of the report.

"Air Quality

The outline permission is subject to pre commencement conditions that aim to secure an acceptable air quality environment during the construction phase and for the lifetime of the development. Condition 30.6 requires that no less than 3 months prior to the commencement of construction works south of the A406, details of the type and location of equipment to monitor the levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) need to be agreed with the Councils Scientific Services. 

This has taken place and the necessary monitoring stations are in place. Further, Condition 30.1 requires a scheme for pollutant and dust management to be submitted to the LPA prior to the commencement of works within a sub-phase identifying the arrangements for monitoring dust and pollutants over the construction period in relation to the nearest sensitive premises. These obligations are required to be fulfilled for the duration of construction works for the regeneration and so is a long-term objective. In addition, these activities are required to be in accordance with the approved Code of Construction Practice (COCP) (LPA ref:18/2380/CON). 

Further to assessing air quality for the Plot 14 proposals specifically, it should be noted that Condition 30.4 of the S73 Permission requires details of all extraction and ventilation equipment to be submitted to and approved in writing by the LPA prior to commencement of any building. This will include details of any flues and odour filtration systems for the A3 units to ensure that odour can be adequately controlled. "

Air quality issues are perhaps the greatest health risk in our city. The current development by Barratts on the Ridgeway has seen numerous complaints by various residents about air quality issues. After speaking to residents in 2019, a meeting was arranged with the Council, which I was invited to. I wrote here about this here and there is a video documenting the dust pollution etc. There has not been the slightest recognition from the council that their monitoring of the dust and health impacts of the NIMR development on local schools, houses and businesses are. Interestingly, one of the attendees of the meeting, Mr Laurence Bard, who runs an aquaitic business at Finchley Nurseries, found that the planning permission had not listed his business, describing it as "open fields to the north". 

If you follow the above link, you will see that planners can hire planning officers from the Council to assist them. I flagged this up as a conflict of interest. I am of the opinion that Barnet Council should have a 'clean air policy' and that no planning permission should be approved without the developer proving that they can meet stringent guidelines. The paragrpahs above show that this is not the case and the rules are there to be flexible and to be bent to suit developers. Monitorings station locations should not only be agreed with the council (ie council officers paid for by the developer), but also by the local community. They should be placed where they can monitor the real life impact on residents, school children and local businesses, and these stakeholders should have a say in where they are placed. Sites where there are breaches should be closed down until the builders and developments are complaint.

Please take a look at this video from 2018 filmed at the NIMR site and tell me whether you think adequate care was taken with regards to dust and particle suppression.  I would urge all residents to lobby the council strongly to ensure they don't suffer the same fate with dust as Mill Hill. Sadly, I can see this scenario being repeated again at Brent Cross.


No comments: