Favor Parker Liaison Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the March Meeting of the Village Liaison Committee
Stoke Ferry Feed Mill
VILLAGE LIAISON MEETING
Wednesday 2nd March 2004
Present: Ms Jacqueline Murfitt (Environmental Health Officer, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council)
Mr Brian Harrison (Parish Council representative)
Mrs Pat Holton (Village representative)
Mr Alastair Inskip (Grampian Country Food Group)
Mr Kevin Moore (Environmental Health Officer, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council)
Mr Mike Smith (Grampian Country Food Group)
Mr Ray Thompson (The Village Pump)
Mr Keith White (Grampian Country Food Group)
Apologies were received from Mr Murphy, Mr Manley and Mr Rosser.
2. Minutes of the previous meeting (6th October)
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and noted to be very good.
3. Matters arising
Mr Harrison said that the facade of Cobbles still had not been painted. Mr Smith said that the area around the window repairs had been painted, the view had been taken that the facade of this building was generally in a good state having been painted the previous year. Once the weather improves this area will be painted again this year.
4. Complaints received since the last meeting
Mr Inskip reported on complaints received by the company since the previous meeting:
13th December A comment was made that a laden vehicle was seen driving through the village towards the Buckenham Drive entrance at 4am on Saturday and could the noise discussed at the previous liaison meeting relate to vehicles passing over drains.
Mr Harrison said that he had observed almost continuous movements of heavy goods vehicles into the site using the Buckenham Drive entrance between 4 and 7 am most mornings. Vehicle movements during the day were lower than at this time.
Mr Smith said that whilst much of the fleet started from the Mill in the morning, he could think of no reason why they should be entering the mill at this time in such numbers. He suggested that more of the fleet could be moved to Furlong for overnight parking once loaded if this would improve the situation for the village.
Mr Harrison said that he had also followed Favor Parker vehicles heading towards Wretton and Southery.
Mr Smith agreed that goods vehicles must not use this route due to the weight limit and as the road was unsuitable for large vehicles. However no evidence had been presented to say which vehicle(s) were involved, or dates/times at which this had been seen and it was therefore impossible for the company to take action against the driver responsible.
13th December Report of fine/mist spray between the mill and the village hall. This was being investigated at the time of the call as a member of staff had already noted it. There was evidence of water droplets being carried over from nos. 3 and 4 press clean air unit; the pressure through the system was reduced and the problem stopped.
13th December Britphos advised that their mineral delivery would be late in reaching the site. EPO and relevant residents were advised. It was noted by a resident the following morning that the delivery was very loud (in advising of the late delivery I requested feedback on the volume of the vehicle as Britphos had assured that the delivery was being made by a quieter vehicle). They were advised that their vehicle was not as quiet as they had indicated.
14th December Report that a Betts vehicle was observed returning to the mill on Saturday with the grain sock still attached, no dust was seen and grain hatch may have been shut. No further action taken at this time. Also reported that twice on Sunday, Chilvers vehicles were seen driving between Mill and Furlong unsheeted and shedding dust. Written notice issued to Chilvers.
24th December Complaint over proposed running on Boxing Day, also a complaint a few days later of "red steam" from the mill. Mr Smith visited the complainant and discussed the matters.
21st January Strong smell reported in the village the previous evening that continued through the night. Described as "stomach curdling". Description of smell similar to that reported at an earlier meeting when the cause was a structural failure of a baffle within a clean air unit. Clean air units inspected but no operational problems identified. Smell not present the following morning.
14th February Report of terrible smell the previous Saturday morning, made working outside in the garden impossible. Also not notified of Sunday running. The wrong number was rung to notify EPO of a breakdown late Friday afternoon that was likely to cause running on the Sunday. As a result the message was not passed to the EPO in order to be passed to residents..
Ms Murfitt asked that the company also checked against the 6th of February as it was reported to her that the mill started early on that Sunday.
17th February Report that a delivery of minerals had not finished being discharged until after 7pm, it was noted that the vehicle was not overly noisy.
22nd February An immediate neighbour to the Mill reported killing a rat found running in his back garden. Pest controller was called and attended the neighbouring premises. Improved access was arranged for the pest controller to the strip of land between the premises and the mill for future visits.
22nd February Concerns of residents over the red discolouration on the roof of the mill were reported to the company. Refer to meeting.
24th February Report of strong smell outside and also noticeable within the house. At the time of the complaint one production line was stopped having the pump of the clean air unit replaced. A strong agricultural smell was noted from a nearby farm the following morning.
26th February Dust fall noted in Wretton Road area and very bad smell. Traced to flap on Provenair becoming dislodged. Flap replaced with permanent cap.
27th February Dust noted on car in Buckenham Drive. See above.
A series of anonymous messages have also been received, if the caller wishes to make a serious complaint could he please contact Mr Inskip on 01366 502 385.
Ms Murfitt reported on complaints received by her department since the last meeting:
The Council has received 3 complaints January to March one on 21st January refered to above - still waiting for Mr Inskip to report his findings on the investigation into the clean air units and the state of their baffles so that he complainant could be notified as to what actions the company found on investigation and whether any actions were taken as a result.
Another on the 26th complaining about odour and noise from the mill - diary sheets had been sent out but had not been returned to date.
The last on the 14th February reference to Saturday working - see notes above.
The Council had also received a number of complaints pertaining to the weekend working leading upto Christmas and the very early start of the Mill on Box Day Sunday.
On discussing the matter of the 22nd February Mr Moore reported that the number of Rat Treatments for all Stoke Ferry - not just the Mill and surroundings had remained the same over two years being at 10 requests for service in 2003/04 and 11 2004/05 - thus Environmental Protection do not appear to be experiencing any increase in service requests due to the Mill activities.
Ms Murfitt noted that of the complaints relating to the company she had received since joining the Borough Council, ten were still open. The majority of these open complaints will be closed through lack of evidence as diary sheets provided to complainants have not been received and she is unable to take further action without evidence.
Mr Inskip reported that the company has commissioned a noise survey. Originally scheduled for 23rd/24th February it was postponed, and again from the 2nd/3rd March, due to unfavourable weather conditions. For an accurate assessment the weather should be dry and calm, with wind speed less than 5ms-1 (11mph).
The Environmental Health Office is to provide assistance to the consultant carrying out the assessment in determining suitable locations for the monitoring to be carried out in the village. The monitoring will be undertaken outdoors and beyond the site boundary.
Mr Harrison said that he thought that the character of the noise from the mill had changed over the years. The installation of the new cladding sometime ago had caused a marked change in the nature of the noise. The background noise was generally accepted but the greatest disturbance came from extraneous noises, such as rattles and squeaks, and these were the noises complained about.
Mr Inskip reported that Norfolk County Council Highways has been contacted and a date is being arranged with the local area office. To be discussed at the meeting are ways in which the company can reduce adverse impacts associated with vehicle movements through the village. Already suggested is improved signage from the bypass directing deliveries to the correct part of the site.
Transport related subjects previously discussed in Liaison Meetings will be raised with Highways at this meeting.
Mr Inskip reported that the company has agreed to provide a speed reactive sign to the Parish Council to be located on Furlong Drove as discussed at the previous meeting
There was a discussion on car parking on Furlong Drove, in particular on several occasions in the last week when vehicles parked on both sides of the road created chicanes that increase the risk of vehicle movements in this area. The parking on both side of the road outside the Village Hall on auction nights was also mentioned. It was agreed that matters relating to parking in the village fall within the scope of the Parish Council and outside that of this forum.
Mr Smith said that the company had written to merchants from whom it buys raw materials and specified the rules for deliveries coming in to the mill, e.g. the voluntary speed limit. In the past the company has sought to inform the hauliers directly, but it is intended that by contacting the merchants the rules can be forwarded from them to the hauliers they contract. It was felt that some hauliers had been missed by the previous method.
Mr Harrison asked how the impact of the 48-hour Working Time Directive would affect the vehicle movements through the village, taking the statement from an earlier meeting that it was likely that the vehicle fleet could be reduced he predicted that lorry movements would occur over a greater proportion of the day.
Mr Smith said that there were efficiencies to be made in the average payload of each vehicle, for example by encouraging customers to order against vehicle carrying capacity and reducing thereby empty space within each delivery, and by balancing the composition of the fleet between the smaller 8-wheel vehicles and the larger articulated trailers. At the moment not all the fleet is utilised throughout the day some vehicles are stood idle in the afternoon. The changes necessitated by the Directive will permit vehicles to be better utilised during the day.
7. Odour, dust and particulates
Ms Murfitt said that the installation of a dust monitor on Furlong Drove had now been approved and the unit was awaiting removal from its present site in King's Lynn and reinstallation in Stoke Ferry. Analysis of the monitor will be both quantitative (how much) and qualitative (what is it).
Mr Inskip asked if a control monitor was also to be installed; Ms Murfitt replied that the data would be compared against known background samples.
Mr Harrison noted that the recent snow and hail had removed a large part of the red deposition from some area of the factory roof although some of this has subsequently returned. It concerned him that this indicated that the deposits were only loosely bound to the surface and could be wind blown from the roof.
Mr Harrison said that he had still to receive an appropriate response to his query regarding the health effects of emissions from the factory. Mr Inskip said that Grampian had recently appointed a Group Environmental Advisor whose expertise is in this area. He is currently preparing a report that will be issued as soon as possible.
Mrs Holton said that the red dust had worsened in the last nine months, and had not been noticeable prior to this.
Ms Murfitt said that she and Mr Moore had taken samples after the last liaison meeting in December and these had been analysed by a Public Analyst.
The results showed trichomes - "hairs" associated with plant material and various miscellaneous plant cell structures as one might expect from the clean air units - also present were fragments of two moulds Cladosporium and Alternaria which are of a brown nature and could possibly explain the "red" colouration which is evident on the roofs.
More significant was the high presence of a brown featureless inorganic solid, which on further examination was identified as iron oxide - rust. The source of the rust is unclear - whether as a result of the metallic roofs oxidising through moisture deposition or whether the rust particles are being deposited from elsewhere - but again would point to why the perception is that the roofs are turning red over the mill.
Once again the Council has asked for detailed information of the clean air unit servicing and maintenance to ensure that these particles are not symptomatic of a deeper rooted complaint.
Mr Smith said that the contract to clean had now been awarded and the correct equipment for safe access was being arranged. The emphasis of the company will be on preventing such deposits from occurring again in the future. Mr Smith will forward the findings of the most recent filter servicing to Ms Murfitt.
There was a discussion on odour complaints. The background smell noted at varying places and times within the village and associated with the factory generally does not give rise to complaints, either because it was accepted or because it was not felt worthwhile to complain about. Complaints generally refer to abnormal smells of offensive character that may persist for varying lengths of time, and have been associated in the past with weather conditions, problems with abatement equipment or have no identified cause.
Ms Murfitt asked the residents present whether they believed the odour, duct or particulates had become worse.
Mr Harrison said that he thought that the smell had worsened after Grampian had taken over Favor Parker. Problems with noise were no further forward than three years ago.
Mr Thompson said that the yellow deposits had stopped, but problems with general dust remain. He thought that perhaps he had become desensitised to the smell, but sometimes there were dreadful smells.
Mrs Holton said that from time to time the smell was very bad, but again, perhaps she was desensitised to it as visitors commented upon it more frequently than she noticed it. The dust was of greater concern than the smell.
Ms Murfitt said that on her frequent visits to the village she walked around the areas where complainants had reported continuous smells but to date had only noted the characteristic smell of the mill as transiently occurring in differing places at different times. On asking if Mr Moore, who is a frequent visitor to Stoke Ferry, his opinion he agreed that he had yet to witness a Statutory Nuisance - attributable to the Mill
8. Any other business
Mr Smith said that he was trying to reduce the impact of the business on the community in three ways:
(i) Reducing aberrant noise (e.g. conveyor squeaks and rattles) by employing a maintenance technician at night to specifically tackle these problems both proactively (greasing, lubrication) and reactively (tracing and responding to squeaks, rattles).
(ii) Identifying problems at the moment they occur and responding in an appropriate and timely fashion. Currently being assessed for suitability are systems that will continuously monitor dust emissions from release points that link back to the process control systems and shut down the relevant parts of the plant in the event that emissions increase above permitted levels.
(iii) Reviewing odour/dust abatement systems. Systems to reduce odour and dust emissions are complex and expensive. Capital has been requested to replace or upgrade the existing systems. New technologies are being evaluated to determine if they offer improved abatement and lower emissions.
There was a discussion on the transition to Environment Agency regulation under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) scheme. From 31st March the regulation of the mill at Stoke Ferry in common with all mills producing over 300 tonnes per day is in transition between local Borough Council and the Environment Agency. Precise details of how the Environment Agency will participate in Liaison Meetings in the future are still unclear. The Liaison Committee is committed to continuing the present forum and maintaining the dialogue between the company and its neighbours. It is unlikely that the transition will be completed before the September meeting at the earliest.
Mr Harrison said he had read the recently published directors report produced by Grampian and noted the stance on developing as an integrated business and developing new and innovative products. To maintain competitive production costs would have to be lowered and how would this affect the feedmill?
Mr Smith said that he fought his corner for investment in the mill, and so far he was winning.
Mr Harrison asked if the closing of factories by customers in the region was affecting the mill.
Mr Smith said that recent closure announcements by customers would have effects on the feedmilling business of the mill, but at this time the extent was unknown and discussions were under way with the customers concerned.
Mr Harrison asked about recent speculation that Grampian was planning to go public.
Mr Smith said that rumours had been printed in the press and a response from the company had been published. He was unable to add to these, as he knew no more than had been published in the articles.
Mr Thompson and Mr Moore gave apologies for the next meeting. Indeed Mr Moore will be unable to attend the next two meetings due to previous commitments.
Ms Murfitt thanked the company for the refreshments during the meeting.
9. Dates of Meetings for 2005
2.30pm, Wednesday 1st June 2005
2.30pm, Wednesday 7th September 2005
2.30pm, Wednesday 7th December 2005