War Memorial Gary Trouton


September 2005

Minutes of the June Village Liaison Committee

Agriculture Division

Stoke Ferry Feed Mill


Wednesday 1st June 2005

Present: Ms Jacqueline Murfitt (Environmental Protection 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)

Ms Helen McCaffery (Environment Agency)

Mr Mike Smith (Grampian Country Food Group)

Mr Keith White (Grampian Country Food Group)

1. Apologies

Apologies have been received from Mr Moore, Mr Murphy, and Mr Thompson.

Mr Rosser sent his apologies and asked to resign from the committee. Mr Harrison read a letter from Mr Rosser to the meeting.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting (2nd March) and matters arising

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.

Ms McCaffery introduced herself to the meeting, as a local inspector it will be her role to assume regulatory responsibility for the mill when the company receives its permit from the Environment Agency under the IPPC regulations. The company has submitted its application for the permit and the issue of permits is being dealt with centrally by the SPG Group of the Environment Agency based in Bedford.

An advert was placed in the Lynn News on Tuesday 31st May giving public notice of the application made by the company. There is a 28-day consultation period during which time interested parties may submit information relevant to the application (concludes 28th June). There are public copies of the application available for viewing at the Environment Agency offices in Peterborough and at the Borough Council Offices in King's Lynn (please telephone first to arrange access). Ms Murfitt said that she would see if it was possible for the Borough Council copy to be brought to the Village Design Statement Meeting on the 16th June.

Mr Smith asked how long it would take the Environment Agency to determine the application.

Ms McCaffery said that there is a statutory 4-month period within which the application must be assessed. However, if the Environment Agency requires further information from the company they can "stop the clock" whilst the information is requested and provided. The Environment Agency can also request an extension to the determination period, for example to review information submitted in the consultation period. It can take six months, or longer, before a permit is granted.

Mr Harrison said that he was extremely disappointed in the delay in issuing the minutes of the last meeting.

Mr Smith said that the minutes of this meeting would be issued within two weeks.

Mr Harrison said that the VAS (vehicle activated sign) was with the Highways awaiting an installation quote. A road marking has been placed on Furlong Drove indicating its likely site.

Mr Inskip said that Highways had attended the site and discussed traffic options with the company. A number of suggestions were made and will be followed through.

3. Complaints received since the last meeting

2nd March It was reported that a Favor Parker articulated lorry overtook a funeral cortege in Methwold between 11am and 11.15am. The company apologised to the family for any distress caused. It was not possible to identify which vehicle was involved, but from information provided it was possible to narrow it down to one of two vehicles. The drivers of both these vehicles were advised of the distress caused.

15th March Complaint that the fire alarm was sounding the previous night, also the sprinkler pump generator running. Also complained of a late delivery of minerals the previous Saturday night (10pm) and that the mill had run on the Sunday without having been previously informed. In the follow-up call it was also noted that there had been an appalling smell on the Saturday and the general smell from the mill was worse..

Mr Smith will arrange for noise attenuation of the sprinkler diesel generator to be investigated

19th March Complaint of a conveyor/elevator squeaking. Call taken by BP and KW actioned..

5th April Report of a bad smell at 6.30pm the previous night that could be smelt within the house. A bad smell had been noticeable over the past fortnight. The smell was described as a "heavy mill smell" and "slightly fishy". No fault found with CAUs.

It was also reported the following day that the smell had been bad the previous night to the extent that the windows had to be kept closed. At the same time it was reported that there had been a late tanker delivery of minerals. Investigation determined that the tanker had over-run the delivery time by 10 minutes and had weighed out the site at 19:21.

Mr Smith will arrange for the temperature of the CAUs to be monitored against the optimum temperature suggested by Ms Murfitt (30-40 degreesC). Mr Inskip reported that he and a colleague had visited a site operating a cold plasma odour abatement unit. The suitability of this type of abatement is being considered, however the nature of the emission from a feed mill differs from that of the unit observed (distillery dark grains processing) and this technology may not be suitable, although significant odour reduction was being achieved in the installation seen.

19th April Complaint of noise and vibration that caused a plate to fall from the wall. It was identified that the noise was caused by sections of the old weighbridge being dropped into the skip for disposal. The contractors were advised that they must place the pieces into the skip as carefully as possible, however it was not possible for the loader to reach the bottom of the container and the first pieces into the skip had been dropped. Mr Moore rang to discuss as a complaint was also made to the EPO, Mr Moore was advised of the cause and actions taken and Mr Moore also undertook to ring the complainant..

25th April Complaint that the noise of elevators/conveyors caused a disturbance during a barbeque on the Saturday evening. B-side only had run on the Saturday night for an additional three hours between 6pm and 9pm to make up for a shortfall in production caused by a 13-hour breakdown on B-side during Friday night/Saturday morning..

4th May Letter forwarded from Stoke Ferry Parish Council.

Complaint of increased noise and dust associated with the mill. In particular concerns over transport operations in the night, increased levels of noise after midnight and night time discharges of dust.

6th May Report of a yellow and white Grampian lorry seen driving through Wretton at 11.15am on Thursday 5th May (vehicle heading away form Stoke Ferry). It has not been possible to identify which vehicle was seen, but all new drivers have been advised of the weight limits in the area of the mill.

9th May Ms Murfitt notified the company that she had received a complaint as follows:

(i) complaint that the mill ran on the early May bank Holiday;

(ii) complaint of tanker discharge on Easter Monday that started 7am, during which the driver repeatedly banged the side of the vehicle;

(iii) complaint of Chilvers lorries running between the Mill and Furlong on Sunday without sheets fixed over the load.

9th May Several complaints left on the voicemail over the weekend:

Thursday evening:

(i) Mr Inskip's voicemail not switched on;

(ii) nauseating smell from the mill;

(iii) still awaiting a copy of the minutes of the previous meeting

Saturday morning:

(i) mineral tanker started discharging at 7.30, it was believed that there would be no deliveries over weekends;

(ii) Mr Inskip's voicemail not switched on.

Sunday morning:

(i) Mr Inskip's voicemail not switched on;

(ii) foul smell from the mill..

As agreed at an earlier meeting, Mr Inskip's telephone extension had been diverted to Mr White's telephone as he (Mr Inskip) was not in the office. Why the diverted calls were then not going to voicemail if unanswered will be looked into. The complainant spoke with Mr Smith on the telephone on the Friday and the source of the smell was investigated. Whilst the tanker was early in starting its delivery, the company requires tanker deliveries on Saturdays and no assurance contrary was ever given.

9th May Report that a bulk tanker (yellow DAF cab, lift-off ISO container) was seen crossing the bridge and later seen parked in the Mill yard discharging its load. The vehicle was identified as belonging to Bertschi of Teeside and the driver was spoken to. He had taken a wrong turn and when he reached the bridge and saw the weight limit he was unable to turn around.

12th May Complaint of an elevator/conveyor squeak that had been audible for the previous week. It was also noted that there had been a bad smell the last several days.

The conveyor was identified as the wheat transfer conveyor and lubricated.

13th May Email received complaining of increased noisy associated with a high level fire door being left open in the early morning.

31st May Complaint received as follows:

(i) On the last two Sundays a Grampian 8-wheeler has been driving between the Mill and the Furlong in the evening without its sheet in place. On the most recent Sunday this was 7.45pm;

Details have been forwarded to the Transport Department for action.

(ii) On Friday there was a klaxon/siren that sounded for 30 minutes. The siren is located next to a red light by the minerals intake. The complainant contacted the mill supervisor at the time.

The siren is connected to the minerals intake and is a high level alarm to warn the driver that the bin is full and to stop discharging his load. The alarm sounded at the end of a delivery, and this was reset. However, due to an electrical fault the alarm was reactivating each time the level in the bin dropped as the product was used. The alarm was isolated, and repaired by the duty electrician on Monday.

Ms Murfitt said that her department had received two formal complaints, already discussed above, and seven informal complaints, some of which have already been discussed and many of the rest relating to Sunday working.

4. Weekend working

There was a discussion on extended working hours at the mill over weekends. The standard operating week at the mill starts at 6pm on Sunday evening and finishes at 6pm on Saturday evening. The additional hours in question are shifts that may be run on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. Mr Smith said that he avoided running additional shifts wherever possible. The tonnage of feed sold was kept at a level that could be met within the standard week; however, there were a number of factors that could lead to additional shifts being required at the weekend:

(i) The volume of feed required by an individual customer varies during the growing cycle, younger birds require less feed but their intake increases as they grow. Whilst the average tonnage sold is within the capacity of the plant there are peaks and troughs around this average.

(ii) The type of feed sold varies from one week to the next as the livestock fed moved through its growing cycle. Some feeds are quicker to make than others. From time to time the individual growing cycles of farms fall into a pattern where a larger than usual number of farms are requiring large amounts of the feeds that are slowest to manufacture*.

Looking forward, a project is underway to better understand the ways the cycles interact, and through greater accuracy in predicting customer requirement seek to average out these peaks.

(iii) Unplanned maintenance following breakdowns causes loss of production time and reduces the amount of feed that can be produced in the week. The demand for the feed (the amount consumed by the livestock) remains the same and if too great a period of time is lost this must be made up for by an additional shift at the weekend.

At times of high demand for finished feed the amount of lost time that can be absorbed into the standard week without requiring overtime is reduced.

Frequently, it is a relatively minor breakdown towards the end of the week that, in conjunction with breakdowns earlier in the week, tips the balance and forces the running of an additional shift.

* The opposite is also true, and there are periods where the greatest requirement is for the fastest feeds to manufacture and the mill either ceases production early on Saturday afternoon (as early as 2pm) or starts later on Sunday night (as late as 4am on Monday morning).

Mr Smith asked the meeting if there was any preference by the villagers as to which shift (Saturday night or Sunday day) caused least inconvenience to the residents. The residents present said that it was preferred that neither shift should run.

Ms Murfitt said that she had attended a meeting with Mr Smith and Mr Halls of the company and forecast tonnage was discussed. The outlook over the next 3-6 months is similar to last year and few extra weekend shifts are predicted.

Mr Harrison said that since Easter the mill had run most Sundays.

Ms Murfitt said that the annual projection would appear to show this as the trend over the next year. Thus this would/could be an annual pattern.

Mr Harrison said that this was unacceptable to residents, the noise and smell representing an intrusion into the amenity of people's gardens. He was concerned that this would have an adverse affect on the value or property.

5. Noise

There were no further comments, matters having been already addressed in the meeting.

6. Odour, dust and particulates

There was a discussion on air quality and emissions from the Mill. Mr Harrison was disappointed that he had still to receive a satisfactory answer to his request for information. He will raise the matter at the next Parish Council meeting. Mr Smith said he would pursue the matter.

Ms Murfitt said that the air quality within the village formed part of the next phase of the Borough Air Quality Review. Monitoring points were currently situated within the village, although she was disappointed that some of the points appeared to have been tampered with or vandalised already.

By way of additional information that may be of interest to the meeting (but not relating or reflecting on the company) Ms Murfitt reported that it was known that Norfolk as a whole has a high death rate attributable to asthma, the highest in the country. The lowest death rate is found in the Ipswich/Orwell area. A study by the World Health Organisation found no cause attributable to the difference between these geographical areas. Further stages of this study have still to receive funding.

7. Any other business

Mr Harrison said that he had observed GCFG drivers parking their lorries on Furlong Drove whilst using the Post Office.

Mr Smith said he would instruct all drivers that they must walk to the Post Office and not park lorries on Furlong Drove.

Mr Harrison noted that the Cobbles was looking very nice after its repaint.

The attendees thanked the company for the refreshments.

8. Dates of Meetings for 2005

2.30pm, Wednesday 7th September 2005

2.30pm, Wednesday 7th December 2005

Alastair Inskip

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