Correspondence between HCC Planning and Ellenbrook Residents – Brett consultation.

 

----- Forwarded message -----

From:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>

To:​​ johnjackson4@yahoo.co.uk​​ <johnjackson4@yahoo.co.uk>

Cc:​​ Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Mike Hartung <mike.hartung@btinternet.com>

Sent:​​ Thursday, 22 August 2019, 11:53:08 BST

Subject:​​ FW: Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

Dear Mr Jackson,

 

Further to your email of 15 August 2019, I attach the response from SLR Consulting to the points raised.

 

I also attach a summary of points raised by Mr. Hartung yesterday, which I hope to have summarised accurately. Brett Aggregates advise me to expect a response to these points in due course. I will of course forward the response to you when I have it, hopefully within the next few days.

 

Kind regards

Chay

 

Chay Dempster

Principal Planning Officer -  Development Management

Spatial Planning & Economy, Environment Department CHN216

Hertfordshire County Council

County Hall Pegs Lane

Hertfordshire SG13 8DN

Direct dial: 01992 556211

 

From:​​ Richard Ford <Richard.Ford@brett.co.uk>​​ 
Sent:​​ 21 August 2019 14:36
To:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Cc:​​ Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Karen Myers <Karen.Myers@brett.co.uk>; Stuart Wood <Stuart.Wood@brett.co.uk>
Subject:​​ Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

 

Dear Chay

Please find our attached response to the points raised by the Ellenbrook Area Residents Association (EARA) which you forwarded on 15th​​ August 2019.

Each point raised by EARA has been set out in our document and responded to.

Kind regards,

 

Richard Ford

Senior Planning Manager

Brett Group, Robert Brett House, Ashford Road, Canterbury, Kent. CT4 7PP

Tel: 01227 829075

Mob: 07918 608126

www.brett.co.uk

 

From:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Date:​​ 15 August 2019 at 16:23:15 BST
To:​​ Richard Ford <Richard.Ford@brett.co.uk>
Cc:​​ Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>, Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Subject:​​ FW: Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

Dear Richard,

 

We have received the response below from Ellenbrook Residents Association requesting that we suspend consultation on the additional information pending the provision of a complete and clear dataset in relation to the levels of Bromate contamination.

 

We are taking time to consider the points raised and to seek advice from the Environment Agency and Affinity Water.

 

Please can you also consider the points raised and provide us with a view on how you would like us to proceed.

 

Kind regards

Chay

 

Chay Dempster

Principal Planning Officer -  Development Management

Spatial Planning & Economy, Environment Department CHN216

Hertfordshire County Council

County Hall Pegs Lane

Hertfordshire SG13 8DN

Direct dial: 01992 556211

 

From:​​ Ellenbrook Area Residents Association EARA <info@ellenbrookresidents.org>​​ 
Sent:​​ 15 August 2019 14:53
To:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Cc:​​ Margaret Eames-Petersen <Margaret.Eames-Petersen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Margaret Eames-Petersen <eamesmargaret@gmail.com>; John Hale <John.Hale@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Lenny Brandon <lenny.brandon@welhat.gov.uk>; Paul Zukowskyj <Paul.Zukowskyj@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Grant Shapps <grant@shapps.com>
Subject:​​ Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

Good Afternoon Chay,


We have looked at the new submission in relation to the Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry application that has prompted a new round of consultation.​​ 


Having studied the two documents we request you suspend the consultation until you have dealt with the issues we have raised below.

 

When you look at the actual table of figures (Dataset) it is quite deceptive.




The table​​ shows the levels in a format that does not reflect the relationship with the WHO Guidelines on safe levels i.e.10µg/l.

 

A prime​​ example of this is BH108CHK ( Borehole in the Chalk layer).​​ 

It gives a figure of 0.2273mg/l​​ - seems low  until you realise that to relate it to the WHO guidelines µg/l​​ you need to move the decimal point 3 places to the right.

This reading should be read as 227.3µg/l.​​ It is actually 22 times over the recommended limit, we are not all experts and it has taken us time to understand why the figures of bromate contamination were seemingly low.​​ 




When you then go to the map accompanying this table and find this borehole 108 it makes reference to all three levels i.e. BH108U (upper Mineral Horizon), BH101L(Lower Mineral Horizon) and BH108C (Chalk aquifer).​​ 

                  ​​ It shows ND (none Detected) in red between the two markers.​​ 

                  ​​ It shows nothing else relating to these three separate readings.​​ 

                  ​​ So looking at the map you get the false impression that there is no Bromate at this location.​​ 

                  ​​ You can see from looking at the previous paragraph above that BH108CHK - Chalk Aquifer has a reading of 0.227mg/l or when stated in the same measure as the WHO guidelines 227.3µg/l.

                  ​​ The same 'error' can be found with borehole BH105

                  ​​ Is this an oversight or deliberately misleading, we certainly hope that it has not been done deliberately with a view to misleading the public merely an unintentional and misguided decision to use alternative measurements to the WHO.




We have requested full details re current Bromate levels and are once more asking for current figures up to June/July to identify the change in readings due to differing climatic conditions. This is a known probability and we believe this has been seen previously according to analysis of their own historic figures.




Further we are still asking for data from all boreholes, so we are now asking for the data from all the boreholes listed on the table or at least a rationale as to why this is not being released/available such as BH307.




A​​ number of others who are entitled to comment on this application,  may see  these figures on the dataset as 'low and within the 10µg/l​​ limit' and therefore this may well prevent them from making proper and correctly considered comments as is their democratic right. We strongly believe that the information circulated must be accurate, full, transparent and clear.




We are therefore asking that non misleading documents should be requested and the consultation suspended until such time as these corrected documents are submitted and a further 30 day period of consultation be commenced at that time




We look forward to your earliest response.




John Jackson

Submitted on behalf of EARA Committee

****Disclaimer****

The information in this message should be regarded as confidential and is intended for the addressee only unless explicitly stated. If you have received this message in error it must be deleted and the sender notified. The views expressed in this message are personal and not necessarily those of Hertfordshire County Council unless explicitly stated. Please be aware that emails sent to or received from Hertfordshire County Council may be intercepted and read by the council. Interception will only occur to ensure compliance with council​​ policies or procedures or regulatory obligations, to prevent or deter crime, or for the purposes of essential maintenance or support of the email system.

 

Click​​ here​​ to report this email as spam.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brett Group is the trading name of Robert Brett & Sons Limited. Reg No 227266 Robert Brett House, Milton Manor Farm, Ashford Road, Canterbury, Kent CT4 7PPV.A.T. Reg. No. 201138818 Registered office: 150 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A4AB.This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the originator of the message. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifies and with authority, states them to be the views of one or any of the Brett Group of Businesses.

Dear Richard,

 

I have been forwarded a link to Ellenbrook Residents Association where they have published an assessment of the further information​​ 

 

https://ellenbrookresidents.org/2019/08/14/brett-quarry-application-the-consultation-runs-until-6th-september-2019/

 

They have asked me two questions and made two other points about the data i.e. -

 

What is the difference between 201S/201D?

In regard to the readings for U/L/C - how is possible to have 3 separate readings from the same borehole?

The readings are from February 2019. The data does not account for seasonal variations where Bromate concentrations may be affected by the relative height of the water table​​ 

The mineral extraction is very close to the boreholes shown to be contaminated by Bromate, for example, Borehole 201 is 66m and BHButm is 150m to the north of the site boundary, both of these boreholes are shown to be contaminated by Bromate

 

They are saying the steady state (Thiem equation) of the lower confined lower aquifer has not been properly assessed. I am told this has the potential to lower the piezometric levels by up to 1m over a 300 to 400m distance away from the borehole well (depending upon the size of the excavation). They assume the effect could be very significant where substantial volumes of sand, gravel and water are removed. They believe the Environment Agency has not properly considered the potential effect on piezometric levels or taken into account how close the contamination is to the proposed mineral working.

 

They argue contaminated groundwater could be drawn in to the LMH lagoon from the surrounding confined lower aquifer. This will result in the LMH lagoon becoming contaminated by Bromate. They say during conditions where groundwater levels are particularly high the design infiltration rates will not occur, therefore the storage volume in the LMH lagoon will be exceeded and contaminated groundwater will be discharged in to the Ellenbrook either directly from the back-drain or as a result of groundwater flooding.

 

These points are bound to come up at committee and it would be very helpful to be able to address them in the committee report so that members have a clear picture in their minds before the day.

 

I would be grateful to be advised by SLR on the points and assumptions raised by EARA.​​ 

 

Yours sincerely​​ 

 

Chay Dempster

Principal Planning Officer -  Development Management

Spatial Planning & Economy, Environment Department CHN216

Hertfordshire County Council

County Hall Pegs Lane

Hertfordshire SG13 8DN

Direct dial: 01992 556211

 

From:​​ Ellenbrook Area Residents Association EARA <info@ellenbrookresidents.org>​​ 
Sent:​​ 21 August 2019 13:07
To:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Cc:​​ Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Subject:​​ RE: Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

Hi Chay.

 

I am surprised that you ask what grounds you should suspend the consultation, surely it is obvious that in our view, and you I believe must agree that the documents are inaccurate, the map alone gives false information. Therefor you are knowingly running a flawed consultation, it is only if the person looking at the consultation discovers for themselves the errors we have identified to you that they could possibly comment accurately on the position.​​ 

You may be 'following' procedure to the letter but surely accuracy and morality should be a consideration.

We will do our best to ensure as many people as possible are informed of the situation.

Regards

 

John

On 21 August 2019 at 10:36 Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk> wrote:​​ 

Dear John,

 

I contacted Brett Aggregates with EARA’s concerns and asked them to consider the points and provide us with a response.

 

The response today from Brett Aggregates says their consultant (SLR) is considering the points and will provide us with a response, but advise​​ ‘we [the LPA] currently have in your possession all of the data and information that we have’​​ 

 

We are required to publish any environmental information provided to us. We have requested the information from the applicant and they have been provided us with it.

 

I am unclear on what grounds we should suspend the consultation.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Chay Dempster​​ 

Principal Planning Officer -  Development Management​​ 

Spatial Planning & Economy, Environment Department CHN216​​ 

Hertfordshire County Council​​ 

County Hall Pegs Lane​​ 

Hertfordshire SG13 8DN​​ 

Direct dial: 01992 556211​​ 

 

From:​​ Ellenbrook Area Residents Association EARA <info@ellenbrookresidents.org>​​ 
Sent:​​ 19 August 2019 14:55
To:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Cc:​​ Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Subject:​​ RE: Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

Hi Chay.

Have you made a decision yet as to the consultation.

We would urge you to press the applicants to provide the full and accurate documentation and restart the consultation,​​ rather than waiting on EA and AW for their opinions.

As you have not contacted the general public direct for their views, merely an article in the newspaper, those of the public who do see the consultation and then are actually able to find the incomplete and somewhat misleading documentation may decide not to comment, whereas if the information was transparent and accurate they would.

Our concerns are that time is running out to get the publics view, it should not be EARA's job to let everyone know the correct position.

Please can you update us re your position as soon as possible.

 

Regards

John

 

John Jackson

07941 302 513

On behalf of EARA Committee

On 15 August 2019 at 16:29 Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Mr Jackson,

 

Thank you for your email. We are considering the points raised and will provide a response as soon as possible. I propose to forward your email to the Environment Agency and Affinity Water to consider the points alongside the additional information. I will ask them to address the points raised in your email in their response.

 

I will advise how we propose to proceed as soon as possible.

 

Kind regards

Chay

 

Chay Dempster​​ 

Principal Planning Officer -  Development Management​​ 

Spatial Planning & Economy, Environment Department CHN216​​ 

Hertfordshire County Council​​ 

County Hall Pegs Lane​​ 

Hertfordshire SG13 8DN​​ 

Direct dial: 01992 556211​​ 

 

From:​​ Ellenbrook Area Residents Association EARA <info@ellenbrookresidents.org>​​ 
Sent:​​ 15 August 2019 14:53
To:​​ Chay Dempster <Chay.Dempster@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Brian Owen <Brian.Owen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Jonathan Tiley <Jonathan.Tiley@hertfordshire.gov.uk>
Cc:​​ Margaret Eames-Petersen <Margaret.Eames-Petersen@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Margaret Eames-Petersen <eamesmargaret@gmail.com>; John Hale <John.Hale@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Lenny Brandon <lenny.brandon@welhat.gov.uk>; Paul Zukowskyj <Paul.Zukowskyj@hertfordshire.gov.uk>; Grant Shapps <grant@shapps.com>
Subject:​​ Request to suspend consultation re Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry Application

 

Good Afternoon Chay,

 

We have looked at the new submission in relation to the Hatfield Aerodrome Quarry application that has prompted a new round of consultation.​​ 

 

Having studied the two documents we request you suspend the consultation until you have dealt with the issues we have raised below.

 ​​ 

When you look at the actual table of figures (Dataset) it is quite deceptive.

 

The table​​ shows the levels in a format that does not reflect the relationship with the WHO Guidelines on safe levels i.e.10µg/l.

 ​​ 

A prime​​ example of this is BH108CHK ( Borehole in the Chalk layer).​​ 

It gives a figure of 0.2273mg/l​​ - seems low  until you realise that to relate it to the WHO guidelines µg/l​​ you need to move the decimal point 3 places to the right.

This reading should be read as 227.3µg/l.​​ It is actually 22 times over the recommended limit, we are not all experts and it has taken us time to understand why the figures of bromate contamination were seemingly low.​​ 

 

When you then go to the map accompanying this table and find this borehole 108 it makes reference to all three levels i.e. BH108U (upper Mineral Horizon), BH101L(Lower Mineral Horizon) and BH108C (Chalk aquifer).​​ 

                    ​​ It shows ND (none Detected) in red between the two markers.​​ 

                    ​​ It shows nothing else relating to these three separate readings.​​ 

                    ​​ So looking at the map you get the false impression that there is no Bromate at this location.​​ 

                    ​​ You can see from looking at the previous paragraph above that BH108CHK - Chalk Aquifer has a reading of 0.227mg/l or when stated in the same measure as the WHO guidelines 227.3µg/l.

                    ​​ The same 'error' can be found with borehole BH105

                    ​​ Is this an oversight or deliberately misleading, we certainly hope that it has not been done deliberately with a view to misleading the public merely an unintentional and misguided decision to use alternative measurements to the WHO.

 

We have requested full details re current Bromate levels and are once more asking for current figures up to June/July to identify the change in readings due to differing climatic conditions. This is a known probability and we believe this has been seen previously according to analysis of their own historic figures.

 

Further we are still asking for data from all boreholes, so we are now asking for the data from all the boreholes listed on the table or at least a rationale as to why this is not being released/available such as BH307.

 

A​​ number of others who are entitled to comment on this application,  may see  these figures on the dataset as 'low and within the 10µg/l​​ limit' and therefore this may well prevent them from making proper and correctly considered comments as is their democratic right. We strongly believe that the information circulated must be accurate, full, transparent and clear.

 

We are therefore asking that non misleading documents should be requested and the consultation suspended until such time as these corrected documents are submitted and a further 30 day period of consultation be commenced at that time

 

We look forward to your earliest response.

 

John Jackson

Submitted on behalf of EARA Committee

****Disclaimer****


 

 

Brett-responce-to-HCC-Planning-Queries-raised-by-EARA-21-8-19


Affinity Water

  • Why are the EA and Affinity Water not objecting to the proposed quarry that runs a risk of contaminating the ground water source of public supplies in light of the recent media statements referred to above?

 

We lodged an objection in August 2018 on the basis that we were concerned that the proposed planning conditions did not provide sufficient, enforceable, protection for our abstractions for public water supply at Tyttenhanger and Roestock.  We were concerned that the combined effect of scavenge pumping at Hatfield and any pumping at the quarry could direct the bromate plume towards these boreholes.  We have reached an agreement with Brett Aggregates, that we can enforce, providing for strict controls and early warning mechanisms to ensure that there is no risk to our public water supply sources in the context of our Hatfield abstraction and its impact on the bromate plume.  We therefore withdrew our objection in May 2019.

 

  • We are requesting up to date readings showing the level of bromate contamination on all the boreholes on Ellenbrook Fields.​​ 

 

We will provide you with the readings that we have available as soon as we can.  A number of other organisations collect data with regards to bromate. SLR (consultants acting on behalf of Brett Aggregates) collect data in relation to the proposed quarry activity, whilst the Redland Minerals Limited and Crest Nicholson Limited collect data in the wider catchment. The Environment Agency also collect data in specific locations for different purposes.

 

  • Why are the EA not objecting to the quarry continuing whilst still unsure of what remediation works are needed to effectively remove the bromate plume and prevent further loss of source water supplies?​​ 

 

We ask you to refer this question to the EA.

 

  • What plans do you have to reassure us that our health has not been compromised, nor has there been an increase in mortality rates, caused by the contamination being in our water before closure of the Bishops Rise WPS in circa 2000 and what steps will be taken to monitor the situation regarding our health ongoing.​​ 

 

We monitor the quality of water leaving all our works and the quality of water at customers’ taps in accordance with the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016.  We have not had any instances of water failing to meet the prescribed standard for bromate contained in these Regulations.

 

  • Who is accountable for the risks associated with the bromate plume including the risk to our water supply and the health risks to residents?​​ 

 

The Environment Agency is accountable for securing the remediation of the bromate plume by those responsible for the contamination, namely Crest Nicolson Limited and Redland Minerals Limited.  We are accountable for ensuring that all water we put into supply meets relevant drinking water quality standards.

 

Supplementary questions

 

  • Is Affinity Water objecting to the quarry now?

 

Following the further work undertaken by SLR (consultants acting on behalf of Brett Aggregates), the revised groundwater management plan submitted by Brett Aggregates which is enforceable by HCC and the undertaking provided by Brett Aggregates to us  we believe that the appropriate strict controls are in place to ensure no risk is present, so we have now removed our objection.

 

  • We have been told that the Bromate has already been detected on the quarry site; we have been refused / ignored regarding our request for data, the EA say they have not had this data and so cannot supply us. Does Affinity Water have the water bore hole data from the surrounding area and within the actual quarry, and what does that show?

 

As mentioned in point 2 above, there is some data collected from Affinity Water in relation to the bromate plume but not in the vicinity of the quarry. Our main purpose is to demonstrate that through our monitoring there is no bromate detected in the monitoring boreholes located south of the quarry and north of our Roestock and Tyttenhanger sources.  It needs to be noted, that other data is collected and disclosed to Affinity Water by third parties (as mentioned in point 2). This data is cross checked with our data where applicable to ensure consistency and confirm the plume location and bromate concentration. ​​ 

 

  • Can Affinity guarantee that any data is up to date and accurate?

 

Considering the amount of data collected by all interested parties and the monitoring frequency, we believe that adequate data is available for a robust risk assessment regarding the proposed quarrying activity.​​ 

 

  • Can you confirm that the quarry poses no risk whatsoever of drawing the Bromate plume South onto Ellenbrook Fields and affecting the source water?

 

Brett Aggregates’ operations may pose a risk if they are uncontrolled.  We believe that the proposed planning condition and the undertaking that Brett Aggregates has provided to us are sufficient to address any risk. ​​ 

 

  • If there is a risk of the bromate plume affecting the water source, what is the level of risk and how has this been calculated?

 

Please see comment above.

 

  • If there is a risk to the water source how does this sit with the recent media statements released by Marie Whaley (Affinity Water) and Sir James Bevan (Environment Agency) regarding the issue that within the next 5 years and beyond there will not enough water to meet demand?

 

We do not believe that there is a risk to public water supply now that we have secured an undertaking from Brett Aggregates.  Marie Whaley’s statement was a call to action asking for ALL stakeholders to take the issue of water conservation seriously. Climate change is predicted to reduce the amount of water we have available to supply while population growth results in a substantial increase in demand leading to an anticipated deficit of 256 Ml/day by 2080 if no action is taken.  Marie’s  statement was made as part​​ of our #WhyNotWater campaign calling for the government to introduce mandatory water labelling to help reduce per capita consumption of water.  ​​ 

 

  • If there is no risk to the water source from the bromate plume can you please explain how you have come to that conclusion?

 

As mentioned in previous comments above, we consider that the risk of the bromate plume migrating to other public water supply sources because of Brett’s proposed operations is being effectively managed through the very strict operating rules as set out both in the Groundwater Management Plan enforced by HCC and in the undertaking provided to us by  Brett Aggregates.​​ 

 

  • Is the water management plan guaranteed to be 100% successful? ​​ 

 

The heads of terms for the agreement between Affinity Water and Brett Aggregates provides for early warning triggers to be in place with data being available on telemetry for real time monitoring and risk assessment in the context of the dominant Hatfield abstraction. It provides for Brett Aggregates to cease pumping if there is a risk to public water supply.  As such, we are confident that this agreement is sufficient to effectively manage any risk arising from the proposed quarrying activity.

 

  • In the light of the failure in mitigating the plume at Bishops Rise pumping station – costing millions of pounds over 10 years - will Affinity Water cease operations and go for another remedial plan? ​​ 

The scavenging operation of Hatfield (Bishops Rise) has been partially successful, in terms of lowering the bromate concentrations detected at the downstream sources and has operated to protect public water supply.​​ 

 

As explained above, it is the responsibility of the Environment Agency to ensure that the persons responsible for the remediating the bromate plume, Crest Nicolson Limited and Redland Minerals Limited, take appropriate action.  There is a remediation notice in place that requires Crest Nicholson and Redland Minerals to meet the cost of scavenge pumping.   As you are aware, the current remediation notice expires this year and the EA carried out a public consultation on a replacement notice earlier this year to take all statements into account. Through this process, a long-term solution is being sought.

 

 

  • If another remedial plan is adopted by the Environmental Agency it is suggested by geologists that they should scavenge pump at hot spots on the plume. One of the highest readings is on Ellenbrook Fields, therefore if remedial action happens here it will be within 400 M from the quarry, so there will be a situation where one field is extracting bromate from the lower mineral horizon and the other (the quarry site) will be interfering with the same aquifer. Can you confirm that Affinity Water would not support the quarry plan in this situation?

If another site is selected in the vicinity of Brett’s quarry for scavenging operations similar to Hatfield, then the appropriate abstraction rate would need to be determined and the appropriate discharge route selected along with any associated treatment prior to discharge. At that time, any nearby abstraction (be it Brett’s or anyone else’s) will be taken into consideration with regards to any impacts on this new proposed scavenging scheme. It needs to be noted, that any scavenging operation in order to be successful would need​​ to operate at abstraction rates similar to Hatfield which can be an order of magnitude higher than those proposed by Brett’s abstraction for dewatering purposes.

 

  • NPPF policy is that no quarry activity takes place on contaminated land – what is Affinity Water’s position on this?

Affinity Water undertakes its own risk assessment in relation to operations in the chalk aquifer. In this instance, the contamination is already in the chalk aquifer below the proposed quarry, so the risk assessment is focused on any risks arising from changing the location or the concentration of bromate.

 

 

  • Can you explain that, given that the water companies since 2003 & EA have failed to treat this contamination, why an independent party is not being brought in to evaluate and suggest practical remedial action?

 

Crest Nicolson Limited and Redland Minerals Limited are responsible for taking action in respect of the bromate plume in accordance with the notice imposed by the Environment Agency.  We provide as much support as we can and participate on the Bromate Technical Working Group.  A lot of work has been done on bromate over the years by a number of organisations and the data has been shared amongst the parties to reach a common understanding of contaminant movement through the chalk aquifer. This was aided by the work done by two PhD studentships from UCL, as an independent body, in order to model the bromate plume and enhance our conceptual understanding.​​ 

 

 

  • Can you explain why there is not a review of any activity that may take place in the contaminated aquifer given that there is a potential threat to water supplies, not just locally but over a wide range of Hertfordshire?

 

As mentioned in earlier comments, separate risk assessments are undertaken for any activity near a groundwater source protection zone or in relation to the bromate plume to ensure adequate protection of the raw water quality of our sources. In collaboration with HCC and local authorities we frequently comment on and request specific actions to be taken to minimise any risk from the proposed activities.

 

 

  • Does Affinity Water and the applicants/agents have an agreement that should the water source become contaminated then Affinity Water will be compensated?

We have not sought an agreement for compensation because we are confident that the operating agreement puts in place robust arrangements for protection of our sources.  ​​ 

 

 

 


Brett SLR reply

RE: Response to Hatfield Road Quarry, Consultation Questions and Statements (21 August 2019)​​ 

27th​​ August 2019​​ 

​​ 

Brett Aggregates Ltd​​ 

​​ 

RE: Response to Hatfield Road Quarry, Consultation Questions and Statements (21 August 2019)​​ 

​​ 

DEFINITIONS​​ ​​ 

​​ 

UMH - Upper Mineral Horizon​​ 

UMA - Upper Mineral Aquifer​​ 

​​ 

LMH - Lower Mineral Horizon​​ 

LMA - Lower Mineral Aquifer​​ 

​​ 

LML – Lower Mineral Lagoon​​ 

​​ 

RESPONSE TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS​​ 

​​ 

  • What is the difference between 201S/201D?​​ 

​​ 

When BH201 was drilled, a small clay lens was identified in the centre of the LMH and a well was installed both above (201S) and below (201D) the clay lens, separated by a bentonite seal.  ​​​​ 

​​ 

  • In regard to the readings for U/L/C - how is possible to have 3​​ separate readings from the same borehole?​​ 

​​ 

There are 2 boreholes at each triple monitoring zone location. The UMA monitoring well is installed in a separate shallow borehole and the LMA/Chalk monitoring well contains 2 separate riser pipes installed in​​ the single borehole with the levels being separated by a bentonite clay seal.​​ 

​​ 

  • The readings are from February 2019. The data does not account for seasonal variations where Bromate concentrations may be affected by the relative height of the water table ​​ 

​​ 

The complete bromate data set already issued spans the period August 2013 to February 2019 so there is over 5 years of quarterly data for all the wells which clearly spans all seasons.​​ 

​​ 

  • The mineral extraction is very close to the boreholes shown to be​​ contaminated by Bromate, for example, Borehole 201 is 66m and BHB​​ is 150m to the​​ east​​ of the site boundary, both of these boreholes are shown to be contaminated by Bromate​​ 

​​ 

The distances referenced above are from these locations to the site boundary. Accurate distances are that BH201 is 240m and BH-B is 320m from the closest proposed mineral excavation in the LMH. The LMH will not be excavated in the location of the LM lagoon.​​ 

​​ 

  • They are saying the steady state (Thiem equation) of the lower confined​​ lower aquifer has not been properly assessed. I am told this has the potential to lower the piezometric levels by up to 1m over a 300 to 400m distance away from the borehole well (depending upon the size of the excavation). They​​ assume the effect could be​​ very significant where substantial volumes of sand, gravel and water are removed. They believe the Environment Agency has not properly considered the potential effect on​​ 

piezometric levels or taken into account how close the contamination is to the proposed mineral working​​ – The Thiem equation is a theoretical tool for water only and can demonstrate the drawdown effect over distance. The amount removed from the Well head is relevant to the curve at monitoring points away from the centre.​​ The size and travel rate through the aquifer is also part of the equation. A further complication is the aquifer – confined or unconfined. However we feel that removing some million tonnes of sand, gravel, clay and water must have some effect on drawdown from the adjacent contaminated areas.

​​ 

The hydraulic properties of the LMA were assessed in 2018. ​​ The drawdown referenced in the statement above is a substantial exaggeration and especially so when the 4 points referenced in our statements to Qu. 6 are factored in.​​ 

​​ 

A Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP) has been prepared that provides a detailed description of the mineral excavation and groundwater management process. The method of operation and GWMP do not align with the statements made in the above paragraph.​​ 

​​ 

The LMH will be worked ‘wet’ on a campaign basis allowing its extraction to take place during the lowest point of the LMA natural annual cycle. A small working area of approximately 100m x 30m will be excavated and then backfilled with site won inert material on a rolling basis thus restricting the open area within the excavation cell.​​ 

​​ 

Affinity Water plc has reviewed the GWMP and we have agreed a precautionary approach, real time water level data sharing, advanced notification and agreement of pumping, monthly sampling, agreed water target and trigger levels and regular meetings. ​​ The Environment Agency has also reviewed the GWMP and believes the management of groundwater on the site is feasible.​​ 

​​ 

6.​​ They argue contaminated groundwater could be drawn in​​ to the LMH lagoon from the surrounding confined lower aquifer. This will result in the LMH lagoon becoming contaminated by Bromate. They say during conditions where groundwater levels are particularly high the design infiltration rates will not occur, therefore the storage volume in the LMH lagoon will be exceeded and contaminated groundwater will be discharged in to the Ellenbrook either directly from the back-drain or as a result of groundwater flooding.​​ 

​​ 

Migration of the plume westwards due to our operations will not occur for the following reasons:​​ 

​​ 

  • No mineral will be extracted from the LMH within the LMA Infiltration Lagoon;​​ 

  • The LMA infiltration lagoon will create a local recharge mound that will serve as a hydraulic barrier to the lateral movement of the plume;​​ 

  • The capture radius created by a pumping well preferentially extends hydraulically up gradient and, in this case, not in a side gradient direction towards the plume;​​ 

  • The LMH within all phases will be backfilled with site won clay forming a​​ low permeability flow barrier between the lagoons and the rest of the mineral site, thereby the risk of lateral movement of the plume is further reduced;​​ 

​​ 

Infiltration rates will decrease with high water levels, but the location of the LMA Lagoon has been deliberately selected because LMA groundwater levels have never been high enough to confine the LMA and there will always be a significant downward head in this location. ​​ 

​​ 

With respect to the stated risk of contamination of the Ellenbrook, the GWMP describes strict water level controls such that groundwater in the LML never exceeds the water level in the UMA Lagoon and furthermore, pumping will be simply stopped before any critical over flow threshold is ever reached. LMA groundwater will therefore not be discharged into surface water.​​ 

​​ 

​​ 


Environment Agency

Dear Ellenbrook Area Residents Association

 ​​ 

Thank you for your very detailed email on 4 July 2019 to our Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan and Chair, Emma Howard Boyd. James and Emma have read your email and asked me to respond on their behalf. They will also receive a copy of this response.​​ 

 ​​ 

Thank you for clearly setting out your questions that I have responded to in turn below.​​ 

 ​​ 

1.   ​​ Why are the EA and Affinity Water not objecting to the proposed quarry that runs a risk of contaminating the ground water source of public supplies in light of the recent media statements referred to above?

 

We have carried out a detailed assessment of the specific site conditions and operations proposed by Brett Aggregates at the Aerodrome Quarry (also known as Ellenbrook Fields Quarry or Hatfield Road Quarry) in the planning application dated February 2016. We have recommended planning conditions to the planning authority to make sure that adequate controls are in place, including a requirement for a Groundwater Management Plan.  This is to ensure monitoring of the water environment, including groundwater, takes place and regular reviews are carried out to make sure there is neither a vertical, nor a lateral spread of the contamination resulting from the activities.

 ​​ 

With regard to the subsequent filling phases, appropriate conditions to protect groundwater are included in the environmental permit.

 ​​ 

Our opinion is that the mineral extraction and landfill proposals can successfully manage the risk to water quality.

 

  

2.   ​​ Please supply to EARA up to date readings showing the level of bromate contamination on all the boreholes on Ellenbrook Fields.

 

The site is not yet operational and therefore we do not hold up to date information on the applicant’s borehole monitoring.​​ 

 ​​ 

If you would like to write to​​ HNLenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk​​ with a list of boreholes for which you would like recent data, we can provide available data for the surrounding area. However, we may not be able to do this by 24 July 2019, which you mention as a potential date for a planning discussion. Bromate pollution data is collected to characterise the whole of the groundwater contaminant plume and monitor its extent.​​ 

In your email, you show an Environment Agency map based on data between 2013 and 2017. The sampling density, other than at St Leonard’s Court itself, is insufficient to define groundwater quality at specific sites. For this reason, a developer is required to carry out their own groundwater quality monitoring to provide the necessary detail for their site. In the case of the Aerodrome Quarry, there is such a monitoring network in place.

 

 

3.   ​​ Why are the EA not objecting to the quarry continuing whilst still unsure of what ongoing remediation works are needed to effectively remove the bromate plume and prevent further loss of source water supplies?

 

As demonstrated through our recent consultation on groundwater pollution from the St Leonard’s Court contaminated land site under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Contaminated Land Regulations, we are working to make sure that those responsible for the bromate and bromide groundwater pollution carry out appropriate remediation. Although the consultation is closed, you can find details at:​​ 

www.consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/hnl/land-contamination-at-st-leonards-court-sandridge

We can only object to development on the basis of the groundwater pollution plume if we believe the development will lead to an increased risk to groundwater which cannot be satisfactorily managed through planning controls.

 

We do not consider that the proposed development will prevent appropriate remedial activities from taking place.

 

 

4.   ​​ What plans do you have to reassure us that our health has not been compromised, nor has there been an increase in mortality rates, caused by the contamination being in our water before closure of the Bishops Rise WPS in circa 2000 and what steps will be taken to monitor the situation regarding our health ongoing.

The Environment Agency does​​ not have a remit for public heath aspects of water supply. Public Health England have responsibility for public health, nationally. Locally, both Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council and Environmental Health, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have responsibilities for aspects of public health.​​ 

 

 

5.   ​​ Who is accountable for the risks associated with the bromate plume including the risk to our water supply and the health risks to residents?

 

Affinity Water are responsible for public water supply; the independent regulator for their activities is the Drinking Water Inspectorate. Health risks are the responsibility of the health bodies mentioned under question 4 above. The Environment Agency protects the water environment, both groundwater and surface water. We do this through the regulation of activities such as discharges to ground, landfill and water abstraction and by providing our views on planning matters.

 

 

I understand your concerns and wish to assure you that we continue to work diligently to protect both groundwater quality and quantity within the contaminant plume and the surrounding area. If you have any further concerns, please do contact our area teams (HNLenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk) who are happy to help with your enquiries.

 

Yours sincerely​​ 

 ​​ 

Sam

 ​​ 

Sam Lumb​​ 

Area Director for Hertfordshire and North London​​ 
Environment Agency | Alchemy, Bessemer Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 1HE​​ 


Mr Dempster’s response

I write in response to the petition to development control committee on 27th June 2019 which invites the council to –

‘Defer making the decision regarding the application by Brett Aggregates to quarry on Ellenbrook Fields until information is provided to the Committee is current and up to date. We expect that an informed decision should be made on relevant information that has been collated and gathered recently, including but not limited to, up to date traffic surveys, current studies of air pollution, and a study undertaken on the cumulative impact of this and other plans submitted or proposed in the surrounding areas on these issues and local residents and frequenters of this area’.

Your presentation referred to the need to provide up-to-date traffic and air quality surveys, and flood risk and health impact assessments that take account of existing and proposed developments since January 2017, including the housing developments at Sandpit Lane, Beaumont School, Ellenbrook Meadows, Comet Hotel student accommodation, as well as the commercial developments at Hatfield Business Park, Glinwells Nursery, Pearce Recycling and Hatfield Quarry.

Health Impact Assessment

The Environmental Statement includes individual assessments of noise and air quality. There is no policy requirement for planning applications to include a human health impact assessment.Hertfordshire Public Health advised there is no requirement for a separate health impact assessment to be submitted with the application because the individual noise and air quality assessments provide sufficient information to assess the potential human health impacts.

Air Quality

The site is not within an air quality monitoring area indicating there is no significant degradation of local air quality. Welwyn Hatfield Environmental Health department requested continuous air quality monitoring be put in place prior to mineral extraction. The monitoring locations have been agreed with EH officers. The draft planning conditions require monitoring equipment to remain in place throughout the development to assess the impact of the mineral working on local air quality. The conditions include measures to avoid adverse impacts during operations. Similar conditions are in place for the approved developments at Hatfield Quarry to avoid any degradation of local air quality.

Traffic

The impact of additional HGV traffic on the HGV has been assessed by the Highway Authority as being within the existing daily fluctuation of traffic using the A1057. The proportion of HGV traffic from the development site, in combination with Hatfield Quarry traffic, is less than 10% of total traffic using the road. The Highway Authority considers this level of additional traffic would not have a severe impact on the road network. The development provides the necessary local infrastructure improvements and financial contributions. A comparison of traffic survey data between 2015 and 2019 indicates the levels of traffic using this section of the A1057 has not increased significantly between the two dates.

Impact of other approved developments

The other housing developments mentioned are Oaklands College [348 homes], Beaumont School [75 homes], Jove Gardens [22 homes], the former Radio Nursery site [28 homes], and the equivalent of 272 units of student accommodation at the former Comet hotel site. The student accommodation relates to the adjacent University campus and is not expected to generate significant additional car journeys. The other housing developments are within St Albans district at distances of 2.5km, 2.3km and 0.5km from the proposed quarry site entrance. There are various options to access these housing developments that do not involve using the section of A1057 in the vicinity of the quarry entrance. The pattern of traffic movement generated by the housing developments is expected to be dispersed across the network. Each development provides the necessary highway infrastructure and appropriate contributions to mitigate the highway impact. The Highway Authority considers the impact of these developments to be acceptable.

In terms of the commercial developments; the Hatfield Business Park developments do not exceed the maximum levels of traffic modelled as part of the overall Hatfield Aerodrome development; the additional glasshouse development at the Glinwells site is not expected to generate significant additional levels of HGV traffic; the traffic generated by the Smallford farm shop will be dispersed over four local roads. The Pearce Recycling site is within the built-up area of St Albans over 1km west of the quarry entrance. The majority of HGV movements are unlikely to pass the quarry access. The traffic surveys will include the Pearce Recycling HGV movements passing the quarry entrance. In terms of the combined quarry HGV movements, the proposed development together with the operation of Hatfield Quarry would represent less than 10% of total traffic using this section of the A1057. At this level the Highway Authority is satisfied there would be no severe impact on the local highway network.

Bromate

The presence of Bromate contamination in groundwater is unrelated to mineral working. The extent of the Bromate plume does not affect the proposed mineral extraction area. The level of Bromate concentration in groundwater has been monitored by the applicant over an extended period from 2010 leading up to the submission of the planning application. This has involved the applicant working with the Environment Agency to ensure that the proposed method of working will have no significant impact on Bromate contaminations at the site level. The Environment Agency has no objection to the proposed development and advises that a Groundwater Monitoring Plan condition will provide satisfactory mitigation. Affinity Water share that view. The proposed precautionary method of working is designed to minimise the risk of further contamination; this includes working the mineral deposit in small parcels in wet conditions with only essential limited dewatering. In parallel it is proposed to infill each of small parcel using inert waste to avoid large voids being exposed. The working will be lined with a geological barrier to prevent cross contamination of groundwater in the upper and lower mineral layers.

Surface Water

The individual developments on the Hatfield Business Park provide appropriate sustainable urban drainage at the green field run-off rate. The Lead Local Flood Authority has been consulted on all major developments within the business park since 2015 and have accepted the proposed discharge rates in all cases. The quarry application proposes to manage groundwater and surface water within the site using two infiltration lagoons. Working the lower mineral in wet conditions reduces the need for dewatering. An exceedance route (backdrain) is proposed to Ellenbrook to avoid the possibility of uncontrolled flooding from the site. The infiltration lagoons provide sufficient water storage so that controlled discharge to Ellenbrook would only occur in exceptional circumstances.

I trust that this response addresses the points you raised. If you require any further response I would be grateful if you would write to me prior to committee on 24 July 2019.

Yours sincerely

Chay Dempster
Principal Planning Officer - 
Development Management
Spatial Planning & Economy,
Environment Department CHN216
Hertfordshire County Council
County Hall Pegs Lane