Investigation launched at Greendale Business Park by the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has announced they will be investigating a serious incident that happened at the Anaerobic Digestion Plant next to Greendale Business Park on Tuesday morning 03.07.2018.

The AD Plant at Hogsbrook Farm is owned by FWS Carter and Sons who also run Greendale Business Park but lease the plant to “Ixora Energy Ltd.” The plant uses farm crops harvested locally and livestock manure to produce biogas and bio fertiliser. The Gas is then used to produce Electricity that is fed into the National Grid and is used by Greendale Business Park.

The Grindle Brook has been impacted by the incident of a substantial leakage of “digestate” from the AD Plant. However, the impact was minimised by the direct action of bunding the watercourse and removing the effluent by vacuum tanker, actions which were taken almost immediately by the AD plant (and staff at Greendale Business Park).

The Environment Agency are confident that this action captured most of the discharge itself. However, it did result in a small stretch of deprived reach. Impact to this reach was minimised by tankering fresh water below the bund and frequent monitoring of the watercourse for any wildlife in distress by both the site and EA officers over the 3 or 4 days that this incident took place.

There was concern from members of the public, who saw operators discharging what appeared to be effluent into the stream at Greendale, however this was not the case. They were putting freshwater in at the point at which the discharge entered the stream, which helps provide oxygen to the stream and move any residual polluted water down towards the vacuum tankers to facilitate removal.

Water for this operation was taken from a lake between Honey Lane and the Greendale Farm Shop.

The AD Plants at Hogsbrook and at Clyst St Mary were both run by a company called “Greener for Life”, until the company went into receivership last year after 3 years of trading. However, several the directors secured further funding for a new company “Ixora Energy Ltd” to buy the assets and contracts of Greener for Life Energy Ltd.

There has been a number of incidents relating to Greener for Life Energy Ltd, which was a Devon-based company producing energy from agricultural waste.

In 2015 the company and the site owner of a farm near Tiverton Nomansland Biogas Ltd, were fined over £10,000 and made to pay £7,019 in costs for negligently polluting a watercourse and contravening the requirements of an environmental permit.

The two companies were handed the fine at Exeter Magistrates’ Court in June 2015 after being found guilty of polluting two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch where the effects of the pollution were substantial, with the Environment Officer finding 100 per cent sewage fungus coverage for one kilometer from the discharge point and significant sewage fungus growth impacting a total of two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch.

An Environment Officer said at the time: “The effluent has a severely polluting effect – it is 100 times more polluting than raw sewage. Starving the river of oxygen has led to a significant adverse effect on water quality, animal health and flora.

The Environment Agency have said that the incident at Hogsbrook may result in regulatory or enforcement action with regards to how and why it happened and how it should be prevented from happening again.

They also say that it was fortunate that no wider impact was identified and therefore the pollution was contained within the bunded area – which is probably a best-case scenario given the nature of the incident.

Update on Winslade Park (Clyst St Mary) planning application

PRESS RELEASE

“I have been advised that the planning application for Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary has been removed from the agenda for 31st October. This request was made by the owners of the site to East Devon District Council and came about as a result of the concerns made by the residents of Clyst St Mary.

At this stage, we don’t yet know if or when the application will go back on the agenda.

The Save Clyst St Mary group remains committed to ensuring East Devon District Council and the Applicant reach the right decision for our village with regard to this application. Any proposal should be both safe and sustainable.

On a different note, the planning application for Enfield Farm is still on the agenda and should be heard by the Devolopment Management Committee in the afternoon of 31st October. We have two residents speaking for us on Tuesday; should you wish to support them please feel free to do so.

On behalf of the SCSM team, please can I thank you all for your ongoing support over these past three years.”

EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL PLANNERS RECOMMEND DEVELOPMENT ON HIGH RISK FLOOD ZONES AT WINSLADE PARK

PRESS RELEASE

[Here’s a summary of recent developments regarding local planning applications which are likely to affect village residents. As you will see, things are once again starting to ‘move’ and we will endeavour toi keep you updated on decisions and outcomes if and when they occur. We are aware that since the Save Clyst St Mary campaign was first launched, nearly four years ago, a number of new residents have moved to the village who may wish to join the group. Should you know of anyone who has moved here since early 2014, we would be grateful if you could forward this document and encourage new residents to sign up to subsequent updates (via our email address or a note through the door of 11, Clyst Valley Road).]

“The latest hybrid planning application (16/2460/MOUT) from Friends Life Limited/Aviva for 150 dwellings, plus employment and new workplace units at Winslade Park is due to be considered by East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee on 31st October 2017, with the Planning Officers’ Recommendation to the Committee of Approval with Conditions within a 58-page document containing 20 Conditions plus a proposed Viability Legal Agreement.

The outline new build part of the application incorporates very limited information, which the majority of Consultees have found insufficient for making informed decisions and have either recommended refusal (Devon County Highways), have major concerns, find the proposals unacceptable or object (including Historic England, Sport England, the Parish Council, Ward Councillor and East Devon’s Historic Conservation, Landscape, Tree and Environmental Health Departments), plus 225 total objections generated by local residents.

For the existing local community of Clyst St Mary the flood risk is a major concern because historically the Grindle Brook and River Clyst have frequently caused severe damage.

[Pictures of historical flooding]

The link below identifies the current flood risk and shows the vulnerability of the Winslade Park site, proving that substantial future flood defences are essential.

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/map?easting=297816&northing=90559&address=100040161688

East Devon’s planning recommendation states “The access road leading into the site, the area where the offices are proposed and areas of land around the Grindle Brook running through the site fall within flood zones 2 and 3 on the Environment Agency’s mapping system.

The new-build employment units are identified to be located adjacent to the entrance drive, part of this site is within flood zone 2 and a smaller part is in flood zone 3. Whilst it is not best practice to site new buildings in the flood zone, the allocation of the site is constrained by the flood zone(s) and if all buildings were sited outside the flood zone(s) then it is considered that the quantum of development in the allocation could not reasonably be delivered and therefore could affect the viability of the scheme. The employment use would be a less vulnerable use than the residential use and therefore it is less likely to be used/occupied in the event of a flood. Accordingly, it is considered that the proposed location of the employment units (based on the illustrative layout) would be acceptable and is the most appropriate location.”

Although the Environment Agency has been provided with a Flood Risk Assessment, their own website states that “flood defences do not completely remove the chance of flooding and can fail in extreme weather conditions,” leaving future residential and employment users of this site at risk.

Aviva is one of the linked companies associated with this proposed development at Winslade Park. Their Chief Executive, Mark Wilson, was noted for finalising the £5.6 billion acquisition of Friends Life with the resulting merger turning Aviva into one of the UK’s largest investors managing £300 billion plus assets.

Writing in the Telegraph in 2014, he emphasised that there should be a halt on building on “defenceless” flood plains. He stated that “As a nation we need to build more homes, but the cost of development must include the cost of defences. We can’t stop the weather, but we can act in unison to minimise the impact of extreme events and we know that the threat is only going to increase, with scientists predicting greater flood frequency and extreme weather as a result of climate change. Although the current focus for us all is coastal and river flooding, surface water flooding is a major concern. More homes, driveways and car parks all contribute to more water flowing into the system, and flowing quickly.”

He acknowledged that flooding is one of the most traumatic events that any householder or business can face, with families forced out of their homes, valuable and much-loved possessions being ruined and businesses struggling to trade. It can be many months before the drying-out process is completed and subsequent repairs can commence and he understood the emotional cost, trauma and feeling of vulnerability that comes with flooding. His mantra continued “Let’s be crystal clear: no defences, no development.”

Such strong opinions on flooding are applauded and ideally could benefit the development proposals by the Insurance Group for the residential, workplace and community areas at Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary that lie within flood zones!

The accessibility of guarantees for affordable insurance on households and businesses in flood-prone areas is comforting for existing homes and businesses but is East Devon District Council so restricted in the availability of quality development sites throughout their sizeable District that they are left reliant on recommending development on high risk flood zones?”

“Cat and Fiddle” pub site to have new hotel

Though why Exmouth Journal thinks the A3052 site is “near Exmouth”, when at 8.3 miles away it’s actually closer to Woodbury (4.1 miles), Cranbrook (6.4 miles) and even Topsham (4.1 miles) is puzzling. It is, however, only 1 mile from Crealy Adventure Park …

Does the Local Plan allow for a hotel there?

“A new 33-bed hotel could be built in Clyst St Mary if a major planning application gets the go-ahead.

St Austell Brewery has entered a proposal to redesign the Cat and Fiddle Pub, in Clyst St Mary, and build a new two-storey hotel in the existing car park.

If given the go-ahead the pub and hotel would operate together with the pub being managed by the brewery to ‘maintain control’ of the whole site. …”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/new-33-bed-hotel-planned-clyst-st-mary-1-5226031

“New homes for edge of Exeter approved despite concerns they would overlook neighbouring properties”

Plans for 34 new homes on the edge of a 1,500 home development on the edge of Exeter has been given outline approval.

Councillors unanimously backed the outline plans for the housing scheme on land adjacent to Honiton Road in Clyst Honiton.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee were told that 50 per cent of the homes would be affordable housing and that it would join onto the 1,500 homes that will be delivered as part of the Tithebarn development.

But they raised concerns about some of the details of the plans and requested that when the application returns to them for reserved matters approval, some of the houses would become bungalows as there were concerns about residents of Blackhouse Lane being overlooked by new homes. …”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/property/new-homes-edge-exeter-approved-429104

Clyst St Mary Neighbourhood Plan news

“Neighbourhood Plan (Voting this Thursday 26th January)

Following the Inspector’s Report and some amendments, the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN has been accepted by East Devon DC.

The Referendum to decide on the adoption of the Plan will be held on 26th January and polling cards have been sent out. Even if you have not received a polling card, all registered voters can participate in the Referendum and cast their votes at Clyst St Mary Village hall.

Please support the Plan by voting for adoption in the Referendum. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will greatly strengthen the powers of the Parish Council to resist inappropriate development.

The final version of the plan can be viewed on our website: http://www.planning.bishopsclyst.co.uk

If you have any questions on the referendum or the Neighbourhood Plan, please ring Rob Hatton on 01392 874305 or the Chairman, Mike Norman on 01392 877012.”

Save Clyst St Mary update – November 2016

PLANNING APPLICATIONS

A big thank you for all the emails of support that we have received in the last few days regarding the latest planning application for development proposals for the Friends Provident site. We are currently working our way through this latest planning application. Although we remain open minded to the eventual solution to the site, we currently have grave reservations regarding these proposals for Winslade Manor and the Stables because the developer hasn’t offered any solution to a number of key National Planning policies such as :

-The loss of the leisure facilities (Stables Club) that were closed down at the end of 2015

-The flooding that has continued to occur at the site and the proposals to build houses and industrial buildings in the areas that frequently flood. (As I am writing this email I have just been advised of the closure of the A376 due to flooding!)

-The fact that our village remains unsustainable for such a significant population increase, having only one shop and a pub

-Lack of public transport links and the scale of congestion that already occurs on a daily basis (set to be exacerbated by the poorly considered location to the entrance by our Village Hall)

-The proposed site sits outside of the current approved Built Up Area Boundary

These are just a few of the examples and valid reasons why the proposals won’t enhance our village; worryingly, the proposed scheme has many other areas where we have serious concerns.

We have started writing some template letters of objection which you may want to use. We hope to be able to email them to you within the next week. Moreover, we understand that the Parish Council may be arranging a Public Meeting at the beginning of December to further discuss the planning application. As soon as we get a date and time, you will be informed.

FOUL ODOUR

East Devon District Council’s Environment Department is currently conducting a survey of households within our neighbourhood regarding the odours that were omitted from Enfield Farm and the anaerobic digester. Hopefully, since the last major problem five weeks ago, things have considerably improved. We have been told that this should finally solve the ‘odour issue’ that has annoyed residents for so long.