The planning application for a road/rail superhub at 400 Edgware Road tells us
“it is estimated that a total of 370 – 570 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) could leave the site each day, to export aggregate” which could be “including sand and gravel” or “will depend on local demand and could consist of sand, ballast or MOT Type 1 road stone (mixture of stone fragments and fine particles)”, and there’s demand for cement too.
This stuff will be brought in by rail, stocked in piles, and loaded into HGVs. It’s dusty stuff and a dusty business handling it. So how much dust will there be?
In one of the 17 appendices, there are tables covering 42 different locations with all sorts of figures for current levels and predicted levels of NO2 and PM10 pollution from … traffic. Dust pollution from the unloading of trains, from the loading of HGVs and from the stockpiles, from the basic operation of the site – that’s not included. It’s left out of the calculations and there are no figures for dust levels at other aggregate sites.
We are told that the wind’s generally in a good direction, blowing from the south-west across the railway tracks, but often in a bad direction, blowing down from the north-east instead. We’re told that on average, the wind isn’t likely to ‘re-suspend’ dust – to actually pick it up – because
“approximately 57% of the time mean-hourly winds do not exceed moderate levels.”
That ‘moderate’ 57% includes the gusty hours when the wind’s rising and falling, and it happily ignores the 43% of the time that that mean-hourly winds do exceed moderate levels – often by quite a lot.
There will be rain, and mitigation measures: there’ll be sprinklers. Wheels will be washed. Drivers will be told to cover their loads.
“It is anticipated the dust impact during the operational phase will be minimised.”
What does ‘minimised’ mean? Politicians talk of minimising the tax burden and very occasionally shave a percent or two off – we still pay plenty. It seems we’re being told we have to accept ‘minimised’ dust pollution as part of our regeneration. It will annoy us but it will not be significant. Here’s what Appendix 13-1 says:
“Guidance recognises that, even with a rigorous dust management plan in place, it is not possible to guarantee that the dust mitigation measures will be effective all the time, for instance under adverse weather conditions. The local community may therefore experience occasional, short-term dust annoyance. The scale of this would not normally be considered sufficient to change the conclusion that the effects will be ‘not significant’.”
That last sentence is beautifully phrased. But what are we being told? That we will suffer, but that such suffering is usually written off as insignificant when people are planning giant dust-generating operations.
There will be monitoring, we’re told, and something will be done if there’s too much dust. How much is too much? We’re not told. That would open up the whole question of how much dust there will be, and nobody wants to say.
There’s more about the superhub on our page here. Do add your comments and share what you know about the proposal below, but if you want the council to listen, you’ll have to object on their website. The planning application is here; its reference number is 17/5761/EIA. You can add your comments and objections online there, if you cannot access the portal, please email Chloe Tomson, Barnet’s planning officer, with your objections. Chloe.Thomson@barnet.gov.uk. The full site name is “Cricklewood Railway Yard, the land at rear of 400 Edgware Road NW2 6ND”.
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