Brett Aggregates concrete batching plant at Ramsgate Port has, to the best my knowledge, never had an environment impact assessment, even though Thanet Council correspondence implies that it has and even though its rules say it should have had.In a letter to Brett dated 28 October 2010 TDC planner, Doug Brown, suggest that the “Council Harbour Master had made a report to English Nature (now Natural England) with regard to the batching plant proposals. He then asks Brett “whether you have a copy of correspondence from the Harbourmaster confirming he would make the report .. this would give me confirmation of how environmental implications were addressed”.
Because the batching plant became operational in 2010, I assumed that Mr Brown had received satisfactory confirmation that the Harbourmaster had reported to English Nature. I also assumed that because the plant was operational English Nature had been reassured by the Harbourmaster’s communications with them and had no objections to the plant. However I wanted to see for myself what the Harbourmaster actually said to English Nature and submitted Freedom of Information requests to TDC, KCC and Natural England to obtain a copy of his submission to English Nature. All three organisations have now replied to me confirming that they have no record of a report or submission by the Ramsgate Harbourmaster about Brett’s concrete batching plant at the Port of Ramsgate.
This is odd because TDCs 2006 Local Plan, which was in force at the time when Brett Aggregates set up their concrete batching plant requires that developments in and around the Ramsgate Port area must have an environmental impact assessment. The relevant sections of the Local Plan are -
· Policy EC9 Ramsgate New Port says “all land-based facilities at the port should be subject to an “acceptable environmental assessment of the impact of the proposed development”.
· Policy EP5 Air Quality Monitoring says “development proposals that might lead to ..a significant deterioration in local air quality resulting in unacceptable effects on human health, local amenity or the natural environment will require the submission of an air quality assessment”
· Policy EC8 Ramsgate Waterfront says “all proposals must ensure the integrity of the nature conservation interests within the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Special Protection Area, the Special Area of Conversation and the RAMSAR site is maintained”
If the council had followed its own polices when Brett had requested to set up its concrete batching plant I would have expected officers, or perhaps consultants, to have produced reports addressing these policy requirements. This information would then, I presume, have been collated by the Harbourmaster for sending on to English Nature. It now seems very likely that none of this ever happened and that the Brett concrete batching plant has been operating for almost 6 years without any environmental assessment ever being carried out about its impact on the nearby protected marine areas or the town of Ramsgate and its residents. This is not only a very serious breach of the council’s policies, but it also means that we have no way of knowing if the batching plant is causing pollution.
I have submitted one final Freedom of information request to Thanet Council just to be 100 percent certain that TDC has nothing on file about the environmental impact of the Brett concrete plant. If it doesn’t then its policies require it to have one carried out as quickly as possible.