News from the Mill,
On the 2nd June 2020, 2 Agriculture hosted the first local village liaison meeting for some time. The meeting was chaired by the mill manager (John Sherrell) and attended by representatives from the Parish Council (Sue Lintern) and the Environment Agency. Also, in attendance was the National Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager (David Melladay) and the regional Health, Safety and Environmental Coordinator (Mark King).
The idea of re-kindling the meetings was to bring clarity to recent events, dispel rumours and to try and bring a closer, more open relationship between the mill and the local residents.
Several mill staff are new in post. Many in the mill management and engineering team and the meeting was a good way to introduce them.
Several complaints had been raised recently aimed at the mill and that the liaison meeting was thought to be a good way to reassure residents that the mill is working hard to ensure its impact remains as low as possible. Capital investment continues to be spent on infrastructure in the mill to ensure that the mill runs with as little impact as possible (Noise, dust, odour etc).
This raised questions about the future of the feed mill at Stoke Ferry because a planning application had been submitted some time ago to close the mill and re-develop the land for residential purposes.
At the time of the meeting, no new news had been given to the mill staff from head office so this information was not available. On the 22nd June, however, an announcement was made that the company were preparing to hold a virtual public consultation in advance of submitting a planning application to build a new mill, to replace Stoke Ferry, near Snetterton in Norfolk. The company now expects to proceed with this application soon.
As you are probably already aware, lockdown did not affect the way we do business. In fact, we were busier than normal during the first two months of lockdown compared to the average year due to the high demand on supermarkets and suppliers. While the country went on lockdown, 2 Agriculture remained at full speed at the heart of the country’s food chain infrastructure. Apart from some office staff who were able to work from home, most of the key workers we employ struggled on in the heat!
Sue Lintern (representing the parish council) raised a number of concerns by local residents and these points were discussed as follows: –
1. The noise generated by lorries on Furlong Road as they pass over the many potholes. – It was agreed that a joint approach by 2 Agriculture and the Parish Council toward the Highways agency would be a good way to try and get the condition of this road improved. It is thought that, by improving the road condition, this may reduce the clattering which is made when the vehicles pass along it. This is in hand and a letter is being drafted by 2 Agriculture to the highways agency.
2. The noise created by the spare vehicle wash. – At the time of the meeting, the main lorry wash was out of use due to breakdown. Spare parts had been requested and have subsequently been fitted. The main lorry wash is now back in action and the use of the louder pressure washer has ceased. We hope that this has brought peace back to this corner of Stoke Ferry.
3. Due to a number of complaints about noise coming from the main mill site, the EA carried out a visit and requested that the site obtain an independent noise survey report. A company called Peak Acoustics was chosen out of three independents to provide the survey and report. The survey was carried out on the 9th and 10th of July and the report is expected imminently.
4. The General upkeep of the listed building bordering the site. – At the time of the meeting, the mill manager had already procured a company to attend the site and begin a renovation facelift of the buildings. The rear aspect of the buildings had already had roofing repairs to ensure damp proofing. At the time of writing this newsletter, the buildings are already undergoing renovation work.
5. A concern was raised by a resident linking the potential harm from COVID19 to respiratory problems raised by the inhalation of grain dust. This was initially answered by the Environmental Agency representative who said “he had seen reports of this that the public may be aware of but could not validate any evidence linking the effects of grain dust to COVID 19 or increased risk due to the presence of grain dust.”
Mark King (regional health safety and environmental coordinator) went on to explain that “the mill already has to conform to the levels of dust emitted by the Environment Agency and that recent tests of the emission points showed that the mill was under its permitted emission levels”.
NB. The emission point tests are carried out by a certified independent assessor company. Half of all emission point were tested in December 2019 and the other half in April 2020
The mill manager went on to explain that a large amount of capital investment was about to be spent on the mill infrastructure in order to ensure safe, efficient clean running of the mill for years to come. This is essential as regardless of how long the mill stays in its current site as the mill needs to stay safe and compliant.