Superhub go-ahead – more noise allowed

Barnet planners have changed the planning conditions for the road/rail aggregates/construction-spoil superhub at 400 Edgware Road.

When the planning committee approved the application, that wasn’t the end of the story. They authorised council officers to rewrite the draft conditions. Meanwhile there were requests to the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State to call it in. Neither did. So on Friday 6th July, Barnet Council issued the decision notice granting planning permission. The conditions are different. Here’s what we’ve spotted:

  • Clause 5 now allows all types of aggregates.
  • Clause 5 and passim: permitted construction wastes described as “non-putrescible” rather than “inert”. This is clearer but broader. Oil, paint, varnish and solvents may be non-putrescible but not inert.
  • Clause 6 changes from two aggregate train deliveries and one waste train export a day to three trains a day.
  • Clause 7: plot 2 to be used for waste, not plot 3
  • Clause 11 could have been read as requiring hoods and baffles on all floodlighting; it no longer does but still requires design approval from the council.
  • Clause 13 now allows train departures from the site outside operational hours; the draft only allowed arrivals.
  • Clause 17 now spells out that 452 HGV movements a day are only allowed Monday-Friday, and that 264 are allowed on Saturday.
  • New Clause 22 stipulates the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition to avoid queuing on the A5.
  • Clause 24 (draft clause 23) reduces the on-site speed limit from 15 to 10 mph.
  • Clause 28 (draft 27) new subclause (d) requires the Site Management Plan to include stockpile dust/particle management. This replaces Draft clause 33, which required stockpiles to be covered outside operational hours.
  • Clause 29 (draft 28) significantly changes noise level restrictions.
    • Night train arrival noise levels shouldn’t exceed 45 dB averaged over 5 minutes but now that’s averaged over 15 minutes, allowing for noise to exceed 45 dB for longer.
    • Noise levels in operational hours (measured at the nearest sensitive property in the Railway Terraces) are now allowed to match background noise levels; in the draft, they had to be 5 dB below background.
    • Noise levels in operational hours measured at the nearest sensitive property in Fellows Square can be 8dB above background noise levels; they weren’t limited in the draft.
    • There was a paragraph limiting disruptive noise (“a distinguishable, discrete continuous note (whine, hiss, screech, hum) and/or distinct impulse (bangs, clicks, clatters, thumps)”) to 10 dB below background. That’s been deleted.
  • Draft clause 33 required stockpiles to be covered outside operational hours. It’s been deleted; Clause 28 (d) above replaces it.

(The decibel scale is unusual and it can be hard to understand what an increase of few decibels means. Every increase of 10 dB represents a doubling of perceived loudness. As one website puts it “Here’s another way of looking at it: If the sound from one typewriter registers 60 dB, then ten typewriters clacking away would register 70 dB (not 600 dB!), and they would sound only twice as loud as one typewriter.”)

The draft conditions that were presented to the public and the planning committee are here and the final decision notice with the new conditions is here.

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