Dear Mr Waite
As the Director with responsibility for Ramsgate Port I would like to draw to your attention to serious irregularities with regards to the operation of the Brett Aggregate concrete batching plant at the port.
The batching plant commenced operation in 2010. In a letter written by former TDC planner, Doug Brown, to Brett Aggregates on 28th May 2010 (copy attached) it is stated that "Alex Stanmore of Bretts confirmed that The Council Harbour Master at the time would make a report to English Nature (now Natural England) with regard to the batching plant proposal. The Harbourmaster, in an email dated 14th February 2008, confirmed to Alex Stanmore that "You have all the necessary permissions and information that you require from us" (Thanet Council). I would be grateful to know whether you have a copy of correspondence from the Harbourmaster confirming he would make the report for my records, this would give me confirmation of how environmental implications were addressed".
I have submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to Thanet Council, Natural England and Kent County Council requesting a copy of the Harbour Master's report about the environmental impact of Brett Aggregates Concrete Batching Plant and all three organisations have replied saying that they do not hold this information. This leads me to assume that contrary to the implications of Mr Brown's letter of 28th May 2010, the Harbour Master did not produced such a report.
I submitted a further FOI request to TDC asking whether the council held in its records any other reports or documentation on the environmental implications of the Brett Aggregates concrete batching plant at Ramsgate Port. I received a reply from TDC on 15 December which states that "We can find no record of any reports as referenced in your request and therefore we are unable to answer your questions any further."
At the time when the Brett Aggregates Concrete Batching Plant was established 2010 TDCs Local Plan included the following policies.
1. (Policy EC9 Ramsgate New Port) “all land-based facilities at the port should be subject to an “acceptable environmental assessment of the impact of the proposed development”.
2. (Policy EP5 Air Quality Monitoring) “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”
3. 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
These policies still remain place.
These policies still remain place.
On the basis of my FOI requests I can only conclude therefore that the Brett Aggregate concrete batching plant has been operating at Ramsgate Port for 6 years without having been subjected to the appropriate environmental impact assessments as are required by TDCs own policies. Bearing in mind the extremely sensitive nature of the area in which the plant operates the lack of appropriate assessments is very worrying.
As the responsible Director I request that you conduct an urgent investigation into how it was possible for the environment assessment to have been overlooked, especially bearing in mind the policy context. I also request that you contact Brett as quickly as possible to ensure that they urgently commission, at their expense, the appropriate environmental impact assessments on their concrete batching plant at Ramsgate Port as is required by TDC policy, and that the report (s) are produced by a suitably qualified professional. In the meantime, I believe that Brett Aggregates concrete batching operations at the port should be suspended until the results of the environmental impact assessments have been produced and cleared as safe/ low risk.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter
Yours sincerely Ian Driver