War Memorial Gary Trouton

Favor Parker Village Liason Committee Meeting

July 2003

Minutes of the meeting held on Friday 9th May 2003

1. Present:

Mr Dave Robson (Principal Environmental Health Officer, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council)

Mr Steve Bannon (Transport Co-ordinator, Grampian Country Foods)

Mr Roy Cooper (Assistant Production Manager, Grampian Country Foods)

Mr Brian Harrison (Village Representative)

Mrs Pat Holton (Village Representative)

Mr Alastair Inskip (Health and Safety Manager, Grampian Country Foods)

Mr Trevor Manley (Borough Councillor)

Dr John Rees (Director of Public Health, West Norfolk Primary Healthcare Trust)

Ms Jane Robertson (Environmental Health Officer, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council)

2. Apologies

Apologies for absence were received from Mr Thompson and Mr Mann.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed to be an accurate record of the proceedings.

Mr Robson introduced Dr Rees to the meeting and said that he had been invited to address some of the health issues raised in previous meetings.

Mr Harrison said that open grain hatches and spilt grain continued to be a daily problem between the Mill and Furlong. Mrs Holton said that vehicles shed dust when the turned into Furlong Road and suggested that this might meet the definition of a persistent nuisance.

The company to confirm that the street sweeping is continuing, and to introduce checks at the intakes to confirm that grain hatches are closed.

Following the meeting it was found that the street sweeping had been carried out on an ad-hoc basis during the winter months. Regular street sweeping on a fortnightly basis has been implemented.

Mr Harrison said those complaints of smell and odour problems were probably being under-reported to the company and the committee.

Mr Harrison said that he was disappointed that the graffiti was still present on the walls around the factory. This created a very poor impression of the company in the village.

Mr Cooper said that the painter was on-site next week and this was one of his priority tasks.

4. Complaints received since the last meeting

Mr Inskip reported on complaints and comments received by Favor Parker since the last meeting:

30th January:

A report was made that the mill was louder than normal. The time of the noise matched the delivery time of a load of limestone. The supplier and haulier have both been made aware of the complaint.

31st January

A report was made that lorries were running with the sheets open and creating dust. The haulier responsible for the mill lorry between the Mill and Furlong received a warning for not securing his vehicle sheet.

31st January

A "trundling" noise was reported from the mill, most noticeable at night. The noise was traced to a loose chain in a transfer conveyor. The conveyor was adjusted to tighten the chain.

3rd February

The mill fire alarm was reported as running for a period of twenty minutes. A vehicle using the intake had struck the sprinkler pipe.

6th February

A strong fish smell was reported that persisted from late afternoon into the night of the 5th February. The clean air units were inspected and found to be working correctly.

28th February

A letter was received by the company from a resident of the village. The resident complained of noise, smell and traffic. A reply was sent by from the company.

14th March

A complaint was received reporting a lorry revving loudly the previous night. Vehicle N705 had experienced mechanical, the engine had run up to full revs and would not shut down.

25th March

A haulier was reported travelling from the Mill to Furlong with the tailboard open, making a loud banging noise. The vehicle was held at Furlong, the driver apologised and assured that he would not repeat it. A comment was also received that vehicles were running with the grain hatch open. The Furlong staff check vehicles and ensure that hatches are closed.

27th March

A comment was received that there was a large amount of dust being deposited in the village. The air filters were checked and found to be working correctly.

5. Noise

Mr Harrison said that the levels of noise at his property had improved and this was attributed to focussed maintenance on high level conveyors and elevators. However there is still intense noise at street level walking past the village hall.

Mrs Holton said that the noise of the lorries was also of concern to residents.

6. Transport

Mr Bannon said that the tachographs were being professionally analysed from May onwards and reports on speeds would be available. The limitations on the precision of tachographs might make it difficult to determine exact speed on the short stretch between the Mill and Furlong.

Mr Harrison said he was disappointed that an analysis of tachographs had not been carried out since the last meeting.

Dr Rees suggested that the police could be requested to operate a speed trap on the areas of road affected.

Mr Harrison said that residents in the village had conducted a traffic survey, and over a 24-hour period over 350 vehicle movements were recorded that could be attributed to the Mill. He asked what effect implementation of the 48-hour working week would have on traffic in the village.

Mr Bannon said that the negotiations were continuing, but 24/7 working was not being considered at this time. The total number of vehicle movements would remain unchanged, with the current working pattern being rearranged across the day. Vehicle movements between Furlong and the Mill during the early hours of the morning (2 - 5 a.m.) are expected to decrease as a greater number vehicles will be loaded at the end of the day in preparation for the following day.

Subsequent to the liaison meeting the company has adopted the suggestions made at the December meeting and a voluntary 20mph speed limit within the village limits will be observed. Means of enforcing this are being considered.

7. Odour, dust and particulates

Mr Robson said that the next Borough Air Quality Review was due to be completed in May and would be available to the public following auditing by DEFRA and adoption by the Borough Council.

Mr Inskip said that the company was considering several options to improve the air treatment plant in consultation with the Environmental Health department.

8. Health Concerns

Mr Harrison said that he was concerned about the constituent of the particles that passed through the scrubbers and into the atmosphere. Of particular concern are oil seed rape, wheat, barley, maize and growth promoters. His daughter suffers acute allergic reactions when visiting the village.

Mr Rees said that oil seed rape was not allergenic, but toxic.

Mr Harrison said that "Stoke Ferry Cough" was a problem known to his GP and summarised the health issues as:

(i) allergenic problems

(ii) concerns over gluten allergies and wheat particles in the dust

(iii) concerns over growth promoters and antibiotic resistance

Dr Rees said that he had lived next to a mill in the past and understood the problems being experienced by the residents. The problem with all this issues is linking cause to effect. To demonstrate associations required cohort studies over time and represent a huge undertaking.

Regarding allergies, it is difficult to make a diagnosis of allergy, as there are many contributing and confounding factors. Some immunologists are saying that as a society we are becoming increasingly sensitised and this may be linked to over-cleanliness and the injection of antibiotic and hormones into farm livestock.

In order to demonstrate an association between wheat dust and the cough it would be required to demonstrate that the incidence was different to that in another location.

Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem within hospitals.

Gluten allergies are linked to flour and to coeliac disease.

In studying asthma it is difficult to gain the required precision at a local level for several reasons, including different definitions of what constitutes asthma and different computer systems and methods of coding.

Mr Rees estimated that for the University of East Anglia to investigate these concerns would involve a study probably costing in excess of £100,000.

9. Any other business

Mr Harrison asked if the Good Vehicle Operating License had been advertised.

Mr Bannon said the regulations did not require the renewal of an Operating License to be advertised. Only major variations to a license require advertising.

Mr Harrison said that the Parish Council had queried planning permission for the wall spikes that had been fitted. Mr Inskip said that no correspondence on this matter had been received from either the Parish Council or the Borough Planning Department. The spikes had been installed after local youths had climbed the wall, caused damage to vehicles and property in the car park behind the wall and had scaled the slope of the wall to the first floor and threatened staff. Of major concern to the company was the safety of those climbing the wall to the first floor, at which point there was an 18' drop on either side. Wall spikes had been selected over other alternatives following consultation with the local Crime Prevention Officer. The Health and Safety Executive in Norwich are also aware and are satisfied that the spikes do not represent a safety risk. Mr Manley said that the Planning Department is looking into the matter.

Mr Harrison said that the graffiti on the Dukes Head was still present and combined with its generally run-down appearance detracted from the conservation area in the centre of the village.

10. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is 2.30 p.m. on Friday 5th September 2003. An agenda will be circulated before the meeting and items for inclusion should be sent to Alastair at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.

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