Favor Parker Village Liaison Committee Meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2002
Friday 1st February 2002
Mr. Dave Robson (Principal Environmental Health Officer, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council)
Chris Hitchens (Managing Director, Favor Parker Ltd)
Ken Vine (Mill Manager, Favor Parker Ltd)
Peter Burgess (Transport Manager, Favor Parker Ltd)
Alastair lnskip (Assistant Mill Manager, Favor Parker Ltd)
Mr. Tony White (Chairman of the Parish Council)
Mr. Les Bonnett (Parish Councillor)
Mr. George Patterson (Parish Councillor)
Mr. Ray Thompson (Editor of "The Village Pump")
Several concerned residents
Mr. Hitchens opened the meeting and explained that this was an extraordinary meeting of the Favor Parker Village Liaison Committee to which the Chairman of the Parish Council, the Borough Councillor and Mr. Thompson had been invited in order to address issues raised in recent months in "The Village Pump".
Mr. Hitchens said that the company had always taken a responsible attitude to the problems and issues created by operating a large mill in a village centre location. This had not changed with the change of ownership and although in an ideal world the mill would not be where it is, the reality was that it was unlikely that it would move in the near future.
Mr. Hitchens introduced Mr. Robson and explained that as Principal Environmental Officer for King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council he normally attended meetings of the Liaison Committee and acted as chairperson.
There were apologies for absence from Mr. Manley (Borough Councillor).
Mr. Robson said that the Minutes and Matters Arising would be dispensed with and that the meeting would move directly to Current Matters.
Mr. Robson said that there had been regular liaison meetings, with the normal attendance being one or two representatives from the village and two parish councillors in addition to two or three representatives from the company.
Mr. Thompson said that "The Village Pump" published articles of interest to the village. In recent months there had been a string of articles on general pollution matters directed against Favor Parker. A number of the authors of articles and letters published were present and he would ask them to explain their concerns.
Ms Donna Roberts expressed her concern over the speed of vehicles on the Furlong Road. As a village childminder she regularly walks children along this route. She said that the Favor Parker drivers were considerate in their driving and that the problem lay with drivers visiting the site driving too fast. The problem is not helped by the parking of vehicles outside the Post Office and on the junction.
Mr. Burgess responded that the vehicles parked outside the Post Office caused a problem for HGVs maneuvering, but at the moment there is nothing that can be done about this. All contract hauliers and suppliers have been advised to direct vehicles along the bypass and Furlong Road to avoid the village, and have been asked to treat the movement of vehicles between Furlong and the Mill with the "utmost care".
On the issue of a crossing facility, Mr. Robson said that this was a matter for the Highways Department and he would write to them with the concerns raised. In the meantime it is essential that incidences be reported with the registration number of the vehicle so that action may be taken. Contact names and telephone numbers would be circulated in the next issue of The Village Pump.
Mr. Peter Williams said that at the corner of Wretton Road and Buckenham Drive there was insufficient room for two lorries to pass each other and they mounted the pavement. This is also by a blind bend.
Mr. Hitchens acknowledged that this was a problem and a potential solution lay in developing the access to the mill through Self s field. If this were done then vehicle movement through the village centre would be minimised. Clearly, there were many issues involved with this option and Mr. Hitchens stressed that no plans would be submitted without full consultation, but it remained an option to improve the overall situation.
Mr. Burgess stressed that it was important that all incidents are reported so that action could be taken with the drivers concerned.
Mr. White reported that the Parish Council had approached the Highways Department regarding a number of issues including the parking of vehicles on the High Street, but has yet to receive a response.
Mr. Hesketh-Harvey said that there was evidence of material damage to buildings in the village and highlighted those buildings of Grade II listed status. He said that in the lee of the mill there were thick deposits of green sludge on roofs and in guttering. In particular the gutters of the church had become blocked and this led to damp in the roof. He was concerned that as a result of this the church was probably lost.
Mr. Robson said that the company operates within an authorisation issued by the Environmental Health Office controlling emissions to air, including grit and dust. There are numerous controls utilised by the company to control emissions to atmosphere.
Mr. Robson said that dust and particulate sampling was carried out on an annual basis to confirm that the company worked within the limit set by the authorisation of 100 mg/rn3. The issue of damage to buildings would fall within the scope of the Planning Office rather than Environmental Health.
Mr. Robson confirmed that monitoring of emissions within the village was undertaken.
Concern was expressed over the frequency of the monitoring and Mr. Robson reiterated that the company was operating within the legal requirements, but if it was found that either the limits or conditions of the authorisation were broken then the company could face prosecution. On the issue of whether the company was liable for any damages caused by emissions, this would be a civil matter.
Mr. Thompson asked about the wax-like deposits. He said that he did not accept the explanation he had received from the Environmental Health Office that it was produced by bees and queried whether this was related to the fine mist sometimes seen coming from the mill.
Mr. Robson then outlined the process within the mill where the air used to cool the products is then ducted through cyclones to remove the dust and then through 'wet scrubbers' to remove odour causing particles. The air passing through the scrubbers could pick up water vapour and, under certain atmospheric conditions, this caused a fine mist. Mr. Vine confirmed that the water within the scrubbers is changed every eight hours of running.
It was agreed that further samples of the wax-like deposits should be taken and analysed. Its source could then be identified.
Mr. Hesketh-Harvey queried whether the dust emissions had any effect on the lungs and Mr. Robson outhned the situation regarding PM10 emissions that were considered within the "Review and Assessment of Air Quality in the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk". Favor Parker was identified as a potential emitter of PM10 and consultants were hired by the Borough Council to assess levels emitted in relation to the standards to be set. EPACS modelling showed that there would not be a breach at the nearest house to the site. The details of the air quality review may be downloaded from the Borough Council website.
In answer to a question regarding the chimney, Mr. Robson said that this was not involved in emissions of dust or particulate, and served the kerosene boilers used to raise steam for the process.
In answer to a number of points Mr. Hitchens said that the company viewed its duty of care very seriously and sought to operate in a way which minimised its impact on the village. The upkeep of buildings was an ongoing process and this would continue.
Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Paul Holley to make a comment; Mr. Holley had been one of the six concerned villagers to write to "The Village Pump".
Mr. Holley said that his house, Millstone Cottage on Oxburgh Road, was on the end of a noise corridor with a direct gap through to the factory. The noise levels are ongoing, and he is aware of others to whom it is a problem. Mr. Holley said he would like to be constructive in approaching the problem, and asked if further noise readings could be taken from around the village. In the past he has forwarded information on noise-cancelling technologies to Mr. Robson and would like to investigate these.
Mr. Robson said that he had been unable to establish a statutory noise nuisance at Millstone Cottage. He was aware of noise-cancelling technology, which had been developed for use by the military. In relation to Favor Parker, the noise sources were too numerous and over too wide a range of frequencies for the application of this technology. The recladding of parts of the mill with insulated cladding had reduced noise levels where this had been done, and the recladding was continuing. He would be more than happy to review the noise assessments but would need to visit properties in the village and to establish the cause of any noise. The nature of the general drone from the factory was difficult to establish, and the option of enclosing the mill with new cladding would be the most effective solution.
Mr. Vine said that the programme of recladding was ongoing and would now concentrate on the intake area.
Mr. Robson said that any particular problems should be brought to his attention and confirmed that he was more than willing to investigate noise complaints and he would take details following the meeting, or he may be contacted at the Borough Council.
Mr. Williams questioned whether the needs of the village were given a high enough priority, and whether the concerns of village residents and their quality of life were given second place to the needs of the business and its shareholders.
Mr. Hitchens disagreed with this statement.
Mr. Thompson said that the issue of light from the mill at night had also been raised in "The Village Pump".Mr. Harrison said that he had seen lights on in the factory 24-hours a day and questioned the need for floodlighting of the mill. In response, Mr. lnskip said that for health and safety reasons there was a requirement to provide illumination. Mr. Hesketh-Harvey asked about the light at the end of the Furlong store and was informed by Mr. Inskip that this was provided for the drivers' car park.
Mr. Hitchens accepted that the location of lighting needed to be reviewed and agreed to undertake this at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Thompson said that this meeting represented the first opportunity for villagers to present their grievances to the company. Favor Parker needed to provide feedback to the village and keep residents up to date with developments in the factory.
Mr. Robson summarised the issues raised at this meeting as:
Mr. Robson said that the minutes should be passed to "The Village Pump" for publication, and the Liaison Committee needs to put information back to the community and provide feedback. He suggested that the next meeting should be held in the next 4-6 weeks and should start by addressing the issues raised today. It may not necessarily be the case that solutions will have been found by the next meeting.
Friday 15th March 2002 at 2.30pm was agreed as the date of the next meeting. In addition to the representatives from the company and the Parish Council, the representatives from the village were agreed to be Mr. Brian Harrison, Mr. Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Mrs. Pat Holton and Mr. Ray Thompson.