Former Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver, claims that the Brett Aggregates Concrete Batching Plant at Ramsgate Port has been operating in breach of Thanet Council (TDC) polices for over 6 years.
Opened in 2010 the plant should, according to TDC’s planning policies, have had a comprehensive environmental impact assessment carried out on it to ensure that it would not have any adverse effects upon air quality and the nearby nationally and internationally protected marine areas.
TDC’s planning policies state that1. (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”.
It was suggested in a letter from a council planning officer in 2010 that the Ramsgate Port Habourmaster had prepared a report for English Nature (now Natural England) in 2008 about the environmental impact of Brett’s proposed concrete batching planet at the port. But a Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted to Thanet Council, Kent County Council, and Natural England by Ian Driver, revealed that the report cannot be located and probably never existed.
In a follow up FOI to Thanet Council Driver asked “if the council holds in its records any reports produced during before, or after 2010, which address the council’s planning policy requirements in relation to the Brett concrete production plant at the port. Or if the council holds any other information or reports on the environmental impact of the Brett concrete batching plant at Ramsgate Port”. Thanet Council replied to Driver on 15 December saying that “We can find no record of any reports as referenced in your request”.
Said Driver “Its utterly astonishing that a potentially polluting concrete batching plant has been allowed to operate in an environmentally sensitive area of Ramsgate’s seafront for more than 6 years without having first being subject to a robust impact assessment, as is required by TDCs own polices. I have written to the Leader of the Council, Chris Wells, asking for an investigation into this serious failure, and for Brett’s to be ordered to commission, as quickly as possible, an independent environmental impact assessment carried out by a properly qualified person. Brett’s as the plant operator, should pay for this report and copies must d be provided to TDC, KCC and Natural England so that the situation at the port can be properly assessed. If the plant is found to present any dangers or unacceptable risks it should be closed down immediately”.
He added “Hundreds of Ramsgate residents have turned up to two packed public meetings to express their strong opposition to Brett’s proposals to expand its operations at the Port to include a large aggregate washing and crushing plant. It now turns out that Brett’s existing concrete production operation has not been subject to an environmental assessment and does not comply with TDC planning policies”.
“A concrete plant operating extremely close to a busy town is not a good idea as the risk of air pollution is greatly increased and air pollution can have a devastating impact upon peoples’ health. Locating a concrete plant near to nationally and internationally protected marine area also presents a serious risk to Ramsgate’s natural environment. Personally, I believe that the Council should terminate its lease with Brett, but at the very least there is an urgent need for an environment impact assessment to be carried out quickly”.