FAQ: The Environment

  • What impact will this facility have on the environment?

    The facility would not have been granted planning consent unless it demonstrated that it would not have a significant impact on the environment. It is the responsibility of the applicant for any facility to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority, which consults a number of other organisations (such as the Environment Agency) to ask for their opinion on the application.

    The accepted method for an applicant to illustrate the effects of any facility is to perform an Environmental Impact Assessment.

  • What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

    An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process that assesses the potential effects on the environment of a proposed development or project. If the likely effects are unacceptable, measures in design or other mitigation can be put in place to reduce or avoid those effects. If this is not possible, then the development will not be allowed to proceed.

    The potential environmental effects are systematically studied and include visual impact, traffic, air quality, noise, dust, odour, the effect on human health and flood risk to the site (amongst others).

  • Who does the EIA and how do you ensure it is independent?

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is prepared by professional technical specialists, who are subject to the professional and ethical standards of their relevant industry body. The EIA is then peer reviewed by other environmental advisors who are a corporate member of IEMA (The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment).

    The findings of the EIA are reviewed by the relevant technical specialists within the Local Planning Authority and also subject to comment by the statutory consultees (i.e. Natural England, Historic England, Highways England, etc.). It is also open to public scrutiny.

  • Does the EIA take into account proposed new developments too?

    Yes. New developments must be considered as part of the traffic impacts assessment. The traffic flows from any new development which has already obtained planning consent (even though it may not yet have been constructed) must be taken into account in the traffic impact assessment process, as if the development were already up and working.  At present there are no new developments planned.

  • What about the visual impact? Would the plant be visible from miles away?

    The visual impact of the facility has been evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment that accompanied the planning application when it was submitted.  The Assessment concluded that the proposed development was appropriate to the setting and townscape character of the site and within the context of the land uses surrounding the proposal. The introduction of the development would not result in any significant effects on the local landscape within and around Rotherham.

    With careful design, it can complement the other developments and buildings nearby. An appropriate colour scheme will be selected to create a landmark building that will harmonise with its surroundings. Additional tree planting will take place along the southern and western boundaries of the site.

  • How much traffic will there be? How many heavy good vehicles will be coming and going?

    It is anticipated that RDF will be delivered to the site via a combination of residual waste collection vehicles (RCVs) that will typically be 18 to 22 tonnes (gross weight) or articulated bulk haulage vehicles from nearby RDF transfer stations. 

    The facility is expected to generate up to 126 heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) movements per day (63 in / 63 out), which is the equivalent of 55 deliveries and 8 collections per day. There would also be car trips associated with staff and visitors.

  • What measures are being taken to avoid creating traffic jams or more congestion?

    Traffic analysis showed the numbers of vehicles servicing the REC and the warehouse would not have a significant impact on the road network, and would be unlikely to increase the risk of accidents. Recognising that traffic is a serious concern for many people, the proposals have taken into account both construction and operational traffic and put forward mitigation measures, such as a Construction Traffic Management Plan. Once the facility is operational, a Travel Plan for staff and visitors will be in place to minimize the number of vehicle movements. HGV deliveries are expected to be spread evenly throughout the 12 hour period and there is unlikely to be a peak in movements.  However, if necessary, deliveries may be pre-booked into the plant prior and scheduled to avoid busy times during the morning and evening.

  • What are the proposed routes to and from the facility? Can delivery vehicles take short cuts?

    Vehicular access to the facility will use the existing site access taken from the northern side of the A6178-Sheffield Road via a priority T-junction arrangement. The access to the site was upgraded as part of a recent planning permission and has been designed to comfortably accommodate the movements of HGV vehicles.  All vehicles will be able to enter and leave the site in a forward gear and manoeuvre within the confines of the site in a safe and efficient manner.

    The A6178-Sheffield Road provides the main link to Junction 34 of the M1 Motorway, which is located approximately 1 kilometre south-west of the site. To the east of the site, the A6178-Sheffield Road leads towards the centre of Rotherham, approximately 2.4 kilometres from the site.

  • Has rail been considered for bringing in the RDF?

    The scale of the site is not practical to accommodate a modern rail terminal and the land required for development associated with a terminal would undermine the ability to build the proposed REC.  It would also not be an economically viable option especially when rail loading facilities need to be available from where the waste arises, and since the waste may come from several different sources, this is not cost effective.  The waste may arise from different places as contracts change, so building rail infrastructure is no guarantee that it can be used in the future.  Given the availability of fuel within the area the delivery of fuel to the site by road will be more viable than rail delivery which only really becomes competitive when greater distances are involved.  Finally, even if the practical and economic constraints could be overcome, detailed studies would still need to be undertaken to establish whether the rail network has sufficient capacity to accommodate trains bringing waste to the site.

  • What are the delivery and collection hours proposed for the facility?

    Monday to Fridays – 7am to 7pm

    Saturday – 7am to 2pm

    Sundays – None

  • More traffic means more diesel fumes. What will be done to ensure that the air quality is not affected by the facility?

    The results of the Air Quality Assessment, based on predicted traffic generated from the proposed development and other nearby development, have indicated that air quality would not be adversely affected as it represents only a minor increase to the overall traffic in the local area.

    The impact of additional traffic resulting from the facility has been considered and is not significant so that its impact on the surrounding air quality is negligible.

  • What noise can be expected?

    The site is located within an urban area and surrounded by industrial development. Monitoring has been done to assess the existing noise levels at properties that could be potentially affected by the construction and operation of the proposed development. The surveys showed that noise levels at these properties are mainly influenced by road traffic travelling on the surrounding road network, both during the day and night-time periods.

  • Will it be noisy during construction?

    Noise will always be kept to a minimum but the industrial setting means that construction noise is unlikely to be heard over existing industrial processes by neighbouring communities.

  • What about odour?

    The facility is very unlikely to cause any detectable odour issues. The Odour Risk Assessment has shown that the odour effects will be negligible. The odour modeling has reinforced this conclusion, indicating that odour concentrations will be below the relevant criterion at all local sensitive locations.

    There will be no outside storage of material.

    For the gasification plant, the RDF is unloaded within a closed reception hall, with fast acting roller shutter doors that are kept shut (except to let delivery vehicles in and out). The reception hall is maintained at a negative air pressure by use of air intake fans located within the hall itself. These fans channel the air through ductwork to the gasification chamber, where it is used to burn the synthetic gas, which has been generated as part of the process. As a result, any odours are destroyed within the gasification chamber.

  • Does the process extract water from or discharge water into waterways, such as the River Don?

    No. The gasification process does not take water from or discharge water into any waterways, as it is a closed system.