Saturday, 22 November 2014

Planning Application for a 145KW Biomass Heating System in Signal Way

Two weeks ago, planning application S/14/1683 came to light when speaking to neighbours who live in houses backing on to Signal Way Trading Estate, and had been informed about this by the council.
There are many concerns about the effects on the area of the waste which will be burnt in this boiler, particularly the potential for toxic fumes, smells and noise in what is a densely populated residential area.
The building where the proposed biomass heating system will be installed is below the level of other surrounding buildings as can be seen below in the photograph below which is of the former station house. The joinery business where the heating system is proposed is on the left of the photograph:
And here's a close up of the old station with the wall below it:
The pathway signposted above leads to the geological SSSI along the old railway track of fossil beds, which will certainly be harmed by more nitrogen oxides being pumped into the already polluted atmosphere. It's the health of the people who live and work in this area though which is of greatest concern.
People have until the 24th of November to comment on this application by going to  . The original date for comments was 18th November, this was extended until the 24th of November, so don't be put off by the statement that the closing date for comments has passed.
I have spent days looking up information and finally will send this letter tonight:

Re: Application: S/14/1683
 Installation of a Bio-Mass Heating System
At Unit 11-14, Central Trading Estate, Signal Way, Old Town, Swindon
Dear Ms Busby,
I am writing to express my opposition to the application to install a 1 metre high flue from a 145 KW biomass burner TT Manufacturing ltd propose to install at their premises on Signal Way to dispose of their waste which will include fibreboards such as MDF or chipboard containing glues or resins, and treated wood. These materials release some toxic chemicals when they burn.
I think this installation is unsuitable for a small industrial estate in a crowded residential area with a history of the worst air quality in Swindon. The last year for which figures are available, is 2010 when the amounts of nitrogen dioxide, the only air pollutant measured in Swindon, was judged to be in exceedance of permissible levels at 37, Devizes Road, the local air quality testing site. incinerator will certainly not improve the situation, but make it worse.(1)

As long ago as 2007, Jonathan Porritt on a visit to Swindon told Cllr Rod Bluh, the then leader of the council that Swindon must make an attempt to get its act together regarding air quality. (2)

It’s difficult to assess what waste gases will be given off from the flue because these will be dependent not only on the substances being burned, but the manner in which are being burned. The application mentions operating times from 6am-6pm, is this the manufacturing times, or the time the incinerator will be operating? For almost complete combustion to occur, maximum temperatures are needed which wouldn’t be the case unless there was a 24/7 operating of the system.
This area is of High Environmental Value being situated adjacent to the Site of Special Scientific Interest on the old railway line, surely a contraindication that this is a suitable site? The old railway line is currently a haven for wildlife, including presumably various species of bats, birds, Great Crested Newts maybe and many badgers. It’s also very close to the other local SSSI, the quarry.
Apart from adverse effects on air quality that may not be obvious, there would also be a smell emitted, and noise. The flue at a height of 1 metre would mean fumes would be well below the rest of the buildings since this is in a cutting well below the rest of the surrounding buildings, so although 1 metre in height means the chimney would not be seen from surrounding areas, it would mean that exhaust fumes would linger for longer, causing greater health problems
The solid waste ash produced as a result of burning is not mentioned, this could cause a hazard if not carefully controlled, coating the local area in dust. No mention is made either of fly ash, the finer particles resulting from combustion of these fuels. How would these be managed?
Where else in Swindon has planning permission been granted for a similar system?
Landfill is causing problems but the solution to the problem is not to incinerate our way out of it. (3)
It would be great to think we wanted to create the best possible environment for local residents, and would not allow this biomass heating system to operate. It is in reality an incinerator for processed wood products like MDF and composite.
Yours sincerely
Linda Kasmaty

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