RPS carried out a detailed air quality assessment as part of the environmental impact assessment for the redevelopment of the London Gate Business Park also known as ‘The Old Vinyl Factory’ due to the site’s history: it was originally owned by British music company EMI and the location where iconic records by The Beatles and Pink Floyd were pressed.
The assessment covered both the impacts on the surrounding area and the site’s suitability for residential use. It considered the combined impact to local air quality from a new District Heating Network (DHN) plant, traffic movements generated by the scheme (including those within ground-level, multi-storey and basement car parks), and the adjacent railway line.
The Old Vinyl Factory
The railway line adjacent to the site was a particular concern, as it handled heavy diesel train traffic and the pollutant contribution could potentially be significant. In this case, we used nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring data from diffusion-tube samplers arranged along a transect to the railway line to demonstrate the pollutant contribution from this source was acceptable.
Planning permission was granted for the development in 2013. However, despite the fact that the EIA considered the air quality effects to be not significant, one of the planning conditions required further mitigation to control pollution from the DHN plant due to its proximity to the recently-designated Air Quality Focus Area in Hayes town.
RPS produced a mitigation strategy for the applicant, detailing a reasoned and proportionate approach for targeting the mitigation to reduce NO2 levels at sensitive receptors. The strategy considered offsetting payments, options for further catalytic-controls on the DHN stack emissions, and quantified the pollution removed by the proposed green infrastructure planting scheme.
The proposed mitigation measures not only reduced exposure to the small additional contribution of NO2 concentrations from the DHN plant, but also the much larger contribution to exposure from NO2 and PM10 pollution sources in the wider area.
Using a Damage Cost Assessment, RPS demonstrated that the costs of the mitigation proposed by the applicant far exceeded the damage costs of the scheme and was therefore more than proportionate to the cost and marginal exceedance of the Air Quality Strategy objective, which was predicted under conservative assumptions.
The mitigation strategy successfully discharged the planning condition and further mitigation was not required.
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