Doncaster MBC Local Impact Report


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Doncaster MBC Local Impact Report on the North Doncaster Chord

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Doncaster MBC Local Impact Report

  1. 1. Appendix 1 Local Impact Report Network Rail proposal for the construction of 3km chordlinking Askern and Skellow lines over the East Coast MainLine and embankment works along boundaries. In addition,modification to the existing rail infrastructure and closure of the existing Joan Croft level crossing with a replacement road bridge. IPC Reference Number TR040001
  2. 2. Contents1.0 Introduction2.0 Site and Surroundings3.0 Details of the Proposal4.0 The Need for the Proposal5.0 Relevant Planning History to the site and surrounding area6.0 Site and area constraints7.0 Relevant Development Plan Policies and their relevance and relationship to the proposal 7.5 National 7.7 Regional 7.10 Local8.0 Issues and Considerations 8.1 Setting of Listed Buildings and Archaeology 8.10 Visual Landscape 8.16 Trees and Landscaping 8.22 Ecology and Wildlife 8.29 Noise 8.39 Flooding 8.42 Air Quality9.0 Local Transport and Highways issues and considerations10.0 Economic Matters11.0 Considerations on the impact of the proposed provisions and requirements within the draft order12.0 Conclusion
  3. 3. 1. Introduction 1.1 Network Rail (NR) have submitted an application for a new 3.2km twin track railway line, constructed of two embankments and a 246m long viaduct across the East Coast Main Line (ECML) connecting the Skellow and Askern lines and also a new road bridge, following the closure of Joan Croft Level Crossing. 1.2 The application for the proposed development is to be determined by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) which is responsible for consideration of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP’s). The proposed development is deemed to be a NSIP as it a construction / alteration of a railway (section 14(1) (k) of the Planning Act 2008 (the act)). 1.3 Local Authorities in whose areas applications for NSIP’s are submitted, are invited to produce a Local Impact Report (LIR). The Act requires that the IPC must have regard to the LIR in deciding applications. The definition of an LIR in the Planning Act 2008 is ‘a report in writing giving details of the likely impact of the proposed development on the authority’s area (or any part of that area)’. The content of the LIR is a matter for the local authority concerned but the IPC has published guidance on its content. This report generally follows that guidance.2. Site and Surroundings 2.1 The site lies approximately five kilometres north of Doncaster Town centre in a mainly rural area. The nearest settlement to the proposed development is Thorpe-In-Balne which lies one kilometre to the east. The nearest town to the site is Askern which is approximately four kilometres to the north. Surrounding the immediate site is a gathering of dwellings and farmsteads. Former railway cottages are situated at Joan Croft level crossing. 2.2 The main access into the area by road is either from the A19 approximately two miles to the west of the site, (which also runs parallel to the ECML) or from Barnby Dun/Thorpe-In-Balne. Barnby Dun is approximately three miles east of the ECML. Between these two access points the roads are narrow rural country roads. 2.3 The area is generally flat and low lying and is characteristic of the Humberhead levels and within the River Don flood plain. The River Don runs to the east of the ECML. Although the area is flat there are long distant views and the area is broken up by hedgerows, trees and woodlands. The largest area of woodland is Owston Woods which lies immediately to the west of the proposed development on the edge of the A19. Generally the area is entirely agricultural in nature, mainly pastoral. 2.4 The area is crossed by a number of railway lines. The ECML runs north to south through the area. At Joan Croft junction the ECML is joined by the Skellow line which runs east-west, also the Askern line branches off to the north west just south of the junction.
  4. 4. 2.5 The most prominent physical features in the vicinity are the cooling towers of the former Thorpe Marsh Power Station. This site lies to the east of the proposed development and is a visible feature over significant distances.3. Proposal 3.1 The proposal is for construction of a 3km chord linking Askern and Skellow lines over the East Coast Main Line (ECML) including embankment works and modification to existing rail infrastructure. The applicants, Network Rail (NR) have also proposed to provide a road bridge over the ECML to the north of Joan Croft level crossing. 3.2 The railway line is to be constructed on a grass sided embankment on each side of the ECML. The track will be supported on 7.2m high embankments and a new viaduct 9.5m to the top of the safety parapets. The embankment will comprise of 500,000 tonnes of granular imported fill suitable for construction of side slopes of 1 vertical to 2 horizontal. 3.3 The proposed road bridge which will replace Joan Croft level crossing will utilise traditional reinforced concrete abutments and wing walls with an integral concrete deck on pre-cast concrete beams to minimise maintenance requirements. 3.4 Two access routes are proposed to serve the construction site. 3.5 East of the ECML – access is proposed via a combination of rail and road. The bulk infill material is proposed to be delivered by rail into a siding located at Thorpe Marsh power station. The fill material would be transported to the working areas on wagons routed on Field Station Road and via Applehurst Lane level crossing. 3.6 West of the ECML – Various option routes have been part of NR’s pre- application consultation. The preferred option is for access via the A19 from the M62 motorway then along Rockley Lane which would operate as a one-way system for construction traffic and to provide passing places to allow normal traffic to continue to use Rockley Lane safety. The one way system would operate via Rockley Lane and out via Holme Lane which makes best use of existing roads and is the easiest and safest way to manage traffic and minimise impacts on hedgerows and biodiversity. 3.7 In order to construct the development the temporary haul roads, passing places and junction enhancements are proposed to be built to connect parts of the work site within the existing road network. The haul roads are to be connected to the local public roads and it is agreed that the junction enhancements at Rockley Lane and Holme Lane with the A19 will be retained on completion to enhance the local road network. The temporary haul road and passing places will be removed and land restored. 3.8 The proposed construction is expected to take 18 months. The proposed commencement of the construction is unclear as is the start date of the operation of services. No details have yet been given with regards the
  5. 5. construction methods, workforce number, quantity and source of materials, frequency and number of deliveries or working hours. 3.9 Once the chord is operational, this will provide a direct rail link between the Skellow and Askern lines, north of Doncaster station and will remove Humber Ports Coal freight traffic to the West Yorkshire power stations from the ECML. Once, the road bridge is operational this would enable the closure of the Joan Croft level crossing.4. The Need of the Proposal 4.1 Shaftholme Junction is a key junction on the increasingly popular ECML. The line runs between London and Scotland and Shaftholme Junction is the point at which freight trains join the busy passenger line. 4.2 Over the past decade there has been a 35% increase in passengers travelling between Doncaster and York and a massive 60% increase in the amount of freight carried by rail across the UK. 4.3 At present, slow moving coal traffic from Immingham interacts with the ECML at Shaftholme and Joan Croft Junctions just to the north of Doncaster. These existing junctions are not currently aligned and as a result the rail freight uses 15 miles of the ECML, a high speed passenger line, before reaching the Aire Valley power stations. This causes a bottleneck at Shaftholme Junction and is a restriction to the growth of the freight and passenger services on the ECML. 4.4 The new railway would join the Askern line, approximately 150m south of the Haywood level crossing, and the Skellow line approximately 500m after the Applehurst Chord, close to the Applehurst Lane level crossing. A multi-span steel viaduct structure is proposed to be used for the twin track railway to cross Joan Croft Lane and the ECML. 4.5 There is also an environmental case for getting more freight off roads onto rail and thereby further increasing the demands made on the rail network which cannot be catered for on this Doncaster – York section.5. Relevant Planning History 5.1 In respect of the railway junctions at Shaftholme they were authorised under various Acts of Parliament. 5.2 Other significant development within the locality is that of the redundant power station known as Thorpe Marsh. The site closed in 1994. The power station turbine hall and other ancillary buildings were demolished in the late 1990’s however the cooling towers still exist on site. 5.3 In 1999, a planning application was submitted at the former power station (reference 99/0345/P) for the change of use to a car storage and distribution facility. This was refused on 20th May 1999 due to the fact that the highway network is totally unsuitable for the size of vehicles to be used and the site is too far away from trunk roads, `B roads and the motorway for its intended use. The
  6. 6. decision was subsequently appealed and accordingly dismissed (PINS Ref APP/F4410/A/99/1024257). 5.4 Also for the above site, in February 2010 an application was submitted under the provisions of Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 and deemed planning permission under Section 90 (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the consent for a 1500 Mega Watt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) electricity generating station on approximately 10 hectares of the former coal- fired power station at Thorpe Marsh. The LPA was only a consultee on this application and the decision fell to the Secretary of State for the Department Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to determine this application. 5.5 On the 31st October the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change issued a decision for the development and deemed the development granted. 5.6 At the time of preparing this report it is still unknown as to when the cooling towers will be demolished.6. Site and area constraints 6.1 The majority of the site area is located within Countryside Policy Area (Policy ENV 4) with the remainder of the site being designated as Green Belt (Policy ENV 3), this is according to the Doncaster Unitary Development Plan (UDP) (Adopted July 1998, saved by the Secretary of State September 2007). The general extent of the Green Belt is defined by a line approximating to that of the East Coast Main Line. Extent of Green Belt and Countryside Policy Area surrounding the site
  7. 7. 6.2 The land lies within Flood Zone 2 and 3a. The temporary works also propose constructing haul routes and stockpiling construction material in Flood Zone 2 and locating a site compound in Flood Zone 3a. 6.3 The proposed development directly affects two public rights of way, namely Public Footpath No. 11 and Public Bridleway No. 13 Owston. Also, affected is the Trans Pennine Trail, a long distance multi user, recreation route. 6.4 The site lies close to a closed landfill site sited to the south east of the site known as HJ Banks and Co. 6.5 The site area encompasses hedgerows considered as ‘important’ on historical grounds under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.7. Relevant Development Plan Policies and their relevance and relationship to the proposal 7.1 Doncaster Council is currently in the Publication Stages of its Core Strategy 2011-2026 (Doncaster Local Development Framework). Policy 3 (Countryside) states that proposals in the Green Belt and Country Protection Policy Areas will generally be acceptable including essential infrastructure. Also, proposals will be supported where they would protect and enhance the countryside, not be visually detrimental by reason of siting, materials or design; not create or aggravate highway or amenity problems and preserve the openness of the Green Belt and Countryside Protection Policy Area. 7.2 In the UDP Policy ENV 4 (a): Countryside states that development will not normally be permitted for purposes other than agriculture, forestry, outdoor recreation and leisure, cemeteries, essential service provision by statutory undertakers or other uses appropriate to a rural area. Proposals will be acceptable only where (i) it would not prejudice by reason of its nature, scale, siting or design, the purposes of the countryside and in particular would not lead towards the physical or visual coalescence of settlements, (ii) it would not create to aggravate highway or amenity problems and (iii) it is sited, designed and where necessary screened so as to minimise its impact on and wherever possible enhance the character, landscape and nature conservation value of the local environment. 7.3 The UDP Policy ENV 3 (c): Green Belt states that development will not be permitted, except in very special circumstances for purposes other than uses of land which include essential facilities which are genuinely required which preserve the openness of the Green Belt and which do not conflict with the purposes of including land in it. Proposals will be acceptable only where they would not be visually detrimental by reason of their siting, materials or design and would not give rise to unacceptable highway or amenity problems and would not conflict with other policies. 7.4 Other planning policies to be considered include; National Guidance Planning Policy Statement 1 - Delivering Sustainable Development Planning and Climate Change - Supplement to PPS1
  8. 8. Planning Policy Statement 4 - Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth Planning Policy Statement 5 - Planning for the Historic Environment Planning Policy Statement 9 - Biodiversity and Geological Conservation Planning Policy Statement 13 – Transport Planning Policy Guidance Note 14 - Development on Unstable Land Planning Policy Statement 23 - Planning and Pollution Control Planning Policy Statement 24 - Planning and Noise Planning Policy Statement 25 - Development and Flood Risk Regional Planning Policy - The Yorkshire and Humber Plan -Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 Section 13 – Regional Transport, Policy T4 – Freight Local Planning Policy - Doncaster Unitary Development Plan Adopted July 1998, saved by Secretary of State September 2007 ENV16 – Development Involving Agricultural Land ENV17 – Areas of Special Landscape Value ENV18 – Landscape Conservation ENV34 - Setting of Listed Buildings ENV53 - Design of New Buildings ENV60 - Landscaping in New Developments T5 - Highways Safety T32 - Transport Facilities T33 - Rail Network and Freight Movement T38 - Public Rights of Way T40 – Development of Public Rights of Way T41 – Diversion of Public Rights of Way T44 – Trans Pennine Trail PU4 – Groundwater PU5 - Land Drainage PU6 – Watercourses PU12 – New Public Utilities PU13 – Design of Public Utilities Local Planning Policy – Doncaster Council Core Strategy 2011-2026 Policy 1 – Quality of Life Policy 3 – Countryside Policy 4 – Flooding Policy 9 – Providing Travel Choice Policy 14 – Design and Sustainable Construction Policy 15 – Valuing our Historic Environment Policy 16 – Valuing our Natural Environment Policy 18 – Air, Water and Agricultural Land7.5 National7.6 The main objectives of national policy for modes of transport are to integrate planning and transport to promote a more sustainable transport choice both for carrying people and freight.
  9. 9. 7.7 Regional 7.8 At the regional level the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) sets out policies relating to transport uses, investment and management. In particular, Policy T4 (Freight) states that the Region will develop an integrated freight distribution system that makes the most efficient and effective use of all modes of transport subject to environmental considerations. 7.9 Plans, strategies, investment decisions and programmes should maximise the use of rail or water for freight movements to and form new and existing developments and significant change of use and recognise the contribution these modes can make to the transportation of bulk materials including waste. 7.10 Local 7.11 At the local level the proposed site is located in the Green Belt (GB) to the west of the ECML and Countryside Policy Area (CPA) to the east of the ECML as designated in the Doncaster Unitary Development Plan (UDP). Policy ENV1 and ENV2 states the Council’s general commitment to protecting the GB and CPA from inappropriate development and policies ENV3 and ENV4 sets out the development management criteria applying to it. 7.12 Policies ENV3 and ENV4 sets down the Borough Council’s overall development management policy within the GB and CPA which have equal force. However, there is a general presumption against inappropriate development within GB and as such developments will not be approved except in very special circumstances. Developments in CPA are based on the guiding principle that development in the countryside should both benefit economic activity and maintain or enhance the environment. Although the proposed development does not fall within the uses normally allowed in the GB and CPA, the main thrust of ENV3 and ENV4 is to ensure that new development should not prejudice by reason of its nature, scale, siting or design the purposes of the GB and CPA. Consideration therefore needs to be given to whether there are special circumstances to warrant approval contrary to policies ENV3 and ENV4. 7.13 Special circumstances in this instance include the fact that the development is the only place to provide a direct link between Skellow and Askern lines to reduce volumes of freight traffic on the ECML as well as other economic and environmental considerations. One of the environmental considerations in this instance is for getting more freight off roads onto rail and thereby further increasing the demands made on the rail network which cannot be catered for on this Doncaster – York section. Also, to improve the economy by increasing the capacity on the ECML for passengers and freight.8. Issues and Considerations 8.1 Setting of Listed Buildings and Archaeology 8.2 The setting of a listed building is often an essential feature of its character. The visual merits afforded by listed buildings are often partly the result of the position they occupy in the town, village or countryside. The juxtaposition of other buildings, trees or other landscape features and views can all be extremely
  10. 10. important. Developments which close off important views of the buildings or which detract from its immediate environment will be resisted.8.3 Designated heritage assets are defined at Annexe 2 to Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 5 as including: Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Registered Parks and Gardens and Conservation Areas. (Designated assets may also include World Heritage Sites and Registered Battlefields, which do not occur in the Borough.) Designations are made in accordance with relevant legislation. Not all heritage assets are nationally designated. A building, monument, site, place or landscape may be identified by the LPA’s during the process of decision-making or through the plan-making process as being a valued component of the historic environment.8.4 The submitted assessments take account of the views to and from the surrounding Listed buildings. The designated asset nearest the proposed chord, would be the Grade II Listed Poplar Farmhouse at Thorpe-in-Balne (approximately 0.92km to the north). This property is within the village envelope and which does not face directly towards the proposed chord, its setting was considered not to be affected.8.5 The site of Manor House Farm, Thorpe-in-Balne, incorporates both a Scheduled Monument and a Grade II star Listed Building (approximately 1.14km to the north). It was considered that the setting of neither would be significantly affected. The former Chapel would not be visible in the same view as the development, nor would it look towards it. The unbuilt area of the Scheduled Monument is more exposed within the landscape, but lies on the north-east side of the settlement, which interposes in most views.8.6 There are a number of buildings and structures within 2km of the proposed development which might be considered to be of local architectural or historic interest, including Joan Croft Cottages, farmsteads and other buildings, and elements of the historic rail network. Undesignated archaeological sites have been considered by the SYAS. Some of the buildings of local interest in the study area would be considerably closer to the proposed development than the designated assets would be, and their settings would be more directly affected. The effect has been assessed in the submitted report. Detrimental though this might be in some cases, however, the heritage significance of the buildings is considered to be insufficient to weigh significantly against the wider benefits which would follow if the proposal is allowed.8.7 Distant views of the proposed chord would be likely to be had from a number of other designated assets, in particular from Listed Buildings. However, they are even more distant than Thorpe-in-Balne and, given their scale and historic purpose, it is considered that their settings, as defined in PPS5, would not be affected.8.8 The submitted assessment has demonstrated that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on Listed Buildings within a 2km radius. However, it acknowledges there will be an effect on undesignated sites of medium and low value. Mitigation measures such as a photographic survey has been incorporated into the proposals where feasible and none of the resulting effects are to be greater than slight adverse in terms of significance.
  11. 11. 8.9 The construction of the proposed development will also result in an impact on any areas identified as an archaeological interest. These areas should be mitigated through an appropriate scheme of further investigation and reporting which should be agreed with the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.8.10 Visual Landscape8.11 The UDP states that new developments involving significant construction work will be required to provide a comprehensive scheme of hard and soft landscaping in terms of the scope, design, quality, techniques and maintenance. As part of the proposed development submission details the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) are relevant. This assessment draws on DMBC’s Landscape Character Assessment and Capacity Study of Doncaster. Within the LVIA the process should be divided into four broad areas, a baseline assessment, consideration of potential impacts, mitigation and an assessment of residual effects. A landscape character and capacity assessment of Doncaster MBC was carried out by ECUS in 2007 which the reviewed changes in the landscape and updated character types into landscape character areas. The study examines the capacity of the landscape to accommodate various types of development including housing and strategic employment; however, it does assess impacts on the landscape such as infrastructure works such as bridges or proposed railways.8.12 The proposed development lies predominantly in landscape character area F2 Owston to Sykehouse Settled Clay Farmlands but also affects Tollbar Settled Clay Farmlands and E2 West Don and Dun River Carrlands. These landscape character areas are predominantly flat and low lying and are characteristic of the Humberhead levels. Thorpe Marsh Power Station and Power line currently dominate the landscape of E2 West Don and Dun River Carrlands and other landscape character areas within Doncaster. The area where the proposal is to be located is predominantly rural, with surrounding land used mostly for agricultural purposes.8.13 Due to the nature of the scheme and relatively undeveloped nature of the area, it is considered that the construction of the project will have an effect on the visual appearance of the local landscape and needs to be carefully assessed. Minimising the visual impact by reducing the height of the embankment and bridge by closing Joan Croft level crossing and lowering the overhead lines should be welcomed from the visual impact aspect and subject to proper consideration of the highway effects of constructing the road bridge.8.14 The ES contains a comprehensive assessment of landscape impacts of the scheme and the proposed planting should address the visual impact of the scheme on identified receptors once established. The mitigation measures are required to soften the appearance of the North Doncaster Chord structure and proposed road bridge.8.15 Despite mitigation measures, it is considered by the Council that the accumulative effect of both the Chord proposal and new road bridge proposal within this area of Green Belt and Countryside Policy Area will have significant impacts upon the visual amenity in and around the area.
  12. 12. 8.16 Trees and Landscaping8.17 It is important to consider the protection of existing trees, hedgerows, wetland, habitats and other natural landscape features. The proposal will be required to ensure that there is no unnecessary loss of trees or hedgerows.8.18 The submitted ES documents cover most of the issues that were raised in earlier discussions with the applicants and its proposals will generally minimise and/or mitigate the negative impacts of the proposal. However, the proposal will still result in the almost entire loss of a solid hedgerow shown on the 1839 Dun Drainage North River Don plan due to the oblique angle that the proposed western haul road crosses it. This hedgerow is intact and is considered ‘important’ on historical grounds under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 as an integral part of a field system pre-dating the Inclosure Acts (this date taken to mean before 1845). All efforts should therefore be made to retain this hedgerow. Moving the haul road and compound to the south of the hedgerow would minimise the impact of development and help preserve the historic landscape.8.19 Where it is not possible to avoid creating gaps in hedgerows it is important that they are restored with a species mix according to the particular hedgerow on completion of works.8.20 Road alignment at the A19 junctions needs to be carefully planned and implemented to avoid tree loss as far as possible – the tree survey suggests that 10 trees could have to be removed on the northern side of Rockley Lane near the junction despite their distance from the existing carriageway (wide grass verge, ditch and hedgerow). In addition to the arboriculture / silvicultural impact of the loss of these trees several of them have wounds that would offer potential roosting sites for bats.8.21 Subject to amendment of the western haul road alignment to preserve the section of ‘important’ hedgerow identified at 8.11 and restoration works identified at 8.12, it is considered by the Council that the cumulative effect of the proposal will not have significant impacts upon the on hedgerows or trees in and around the area.8.22 Ecology and Wildlife8.23 Various policies within the UDP protect wildlife and species. Some animals such as bats and badgers are also protected by their own legislation. The presence of a protected species is a material consideration in considering development proposals which are carried out which would be likely to result in harm to the habitats.8.24 Generally, the scope of the ecological survey work that has been provided in relation to this development proposal is satisfactory.8.25 The key feature of interest that has been identified is a nationally significant population of great crested newts within 500m of the proposed development site. The creation of a number of new ponds, would be highly beneficial to the great crested newt population. At present the majority of this exceptional population is predominantly using a single water body, making it potentially vulnerable to
  13. 13. outside influences, such as disturbance, water level fluctuations or pollution events. Given the size of the proposed scheme and the guidance in national planning policy, it is not considered unreasonable for ecological enhancements to be included.8.26 Other protected species such as bats, badgers and reptiles have been identified through the surveys.8.27 Within the submitted documents (Section 6.2.1) it states that there is no requirement for supplementary mitigation, given that that incorporated mitigation is sufficient to result in the avoidance of any significant residual effects. For a scheme of this size, it would be expected to see a firmer commitment to delivering supplementary mitigation. This view is supported by national planning policy. One of the key objectives of PPS9 is that construction and development should have minimal impacts on biodiversity and enhance it wherever possible. The new National Draft Planning Policy also expresses a similar sentiment, encouraging the incorporation of biodiversity in and around developments.8.28 It is supported by the LA that all mitigation measures are encompassed into sustainability deliverables for this development.8.29 Noise8.30 There is potential for noise to be generated both by the construction works and its traffic and additional trains associated with the development.8.31 The standard used by Network Rail to assess noise exposure is BS5228:1997 (Noise and vibration control on construction and open sites) is not considered to be the most appropriate for such a large scale development. In this case, noise levels are expressed as a 12 hour daytime average and give no indication of peaks or short bursts of intrusive noise. Table 2.3 (in Volume 2 of the Environmental Statement) indicates exposure at the BS5228 noise limits for more than one month will give significant adverse effects.8.32 As 500,000 Tonnes of infill material will be used as part of the land formation, a more appropriate guidance would be Mineral Policy Statement 2 (MPS2) Annex 2 which provides guidance on controlling and mitigating the environmental effects of noise from mineral workings and associated operations. This statement was formulated in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Community Noise that states, “to protect the majority of people from being annoyed during the daytime, outdoor sound levels from steady continuous noise should not exceed 55dBLAeq on balconies, terraces and outdoor living areas”.8.33 MPS2 sets noise controls that will protect residential amenity without imposing unreasonable burdens on the applicant. BS5228 sets a 65dBLAeq over a 12 hour period which is difficult to monitor, whereas MPS2 sets an absolute noise limit of 55dBLAeq over a 1 hour period. This is a more practical noise limit to monitor. MPS2 also allows increased temporary daytime limits of up to 70dBLAeq,1hr for periods of up to 8 weeks in a year, although the operator must aim to deliver temporary works at a lower level of impact wherever possible.
  14. 14. 8.34 During construction it is anticipated that construction works will take place over a 17-20 month period between December 2012 and April-July 2014. With construction working hours been between 0700 to 1900 Monday to Friday and 0800 to 1300 on Saturdays and some rail deliveries expected between 1900 and 0700. To add to this the rate of traffic is estimated at 6 vehicles per hour with a peak of 10 vehicles per hour for bulk fill materials. The planned daytime hours of construction are in accordance with those proposed within MPS2.8.35 The Environmental Statement advises that night time work is expected for a period of one month during the construction period. In accordance with MPS2, a noise limit of 42dBLAeq at the nearest noise sensitive properties would be required.8.36 Post construction it is anticipated that there is an increase of freight traffic along the Askern Line of one train, in each direction per hour. It is also anticipated that the Chord will provide greater capacity and efficiency on the ECML for high speed passenger trains and enable an additional passenger trains per hour. The ES (Vol. 2) identifies that Crossing Gate Farm will be adversely affected by the operation of the Chord. Network Rail has identified that this (and other noise sensitive properties) will be assessed to identify whether they are eligible for secondary glazing, in accordance with the Noise Insulation Regulations 1996.8.37 The Council has received concerns with regards the additional noise from construction traffic and both freight and passenger trains on both the Askern line and ECML after construction. Network Rail has stated that best practice in design and construction will be used to minimise the noise and vibration from the track and rolling stock. The concerns raised by residents include the impact of the noise which has not been assessed for the wider communities and its surrounding areas such as Askern residents. The standard designed into the scheme is to provide an estimate of the likelihood of the proposal leading to complaints from the surrounding area rather than the actual impact of noise on the resident’s daily lives, particularly on an evening and weekend.8.38 Given that some elements of the construction traffic may have a 24 hour operation and that the operational noise climate is proposed to have 12 hour noise limits, it is considered that the impact on residential impact will be high during the construction period. The noise climate that will be imposed on the surrounding residential areas is likely to be higher than that suggested by the Environmental Statement and will represent a change for the worse as far as the public and residential amenity is concerned. Although, the Council welcomes the proposal it is essential that the noise controls are in accordance with MPS2 rather than BS 5228.8.39 Flooding8.40 The site lies within Flood Zone 2 and 3a according to the Environment Agency maps.8.41 As the Council are a consultee on this proposal, it is considered appropriate that the Environment Agency’s comments on flood risk made directly to the IPC are taken account of.
  15. 15. 8.42 Air Quality 8.43 The Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) process is set out in Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. It places an obligation on all LA’s to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas, and to determine whether or not the air quality objectives (laid down in The Air Quality Regulations 2000 as amended 2002) are likely to be achieved. 8.44 Where exceedences are likely an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared and an Action Plan produced outlining the measures it intends to put in place to work towards achieving the objectives. In Doncaster, there are currently 4 AQMAs with a 5th due to be declared by the end of 2011. These are based around major roads in the area. Monitoring takes place across the Borough mainly to measure the emissions from road transport. Development proposals that have the potential to impact on air quality must be assessed to ensure that they will not lead to deterioration in air quality. 8.45 The assessment provided for this proposal has not answered the questions put to it through the previous consultation and so it is not possible to agree with the validity of the report. The IPC have put forward comments which were similar to those given by the Council. The changes in road vehicle numbers during the operational phase are expected to be low. However, details of the number of trains have not been discussed in the air quality chapter. It states they are below the screening criteria however it is not clear exactly what the potential worst case for the increase number of trains over the long term is and equally the screening criteria does not negate the need for impacts of a new scheme to be assessed. Equally there seems to be no cumulative impact for nearby development, such as Thorpe Marsh, which may impact on the background levels being considered in the assessment.9. Local Transport and Highways issues and considerations 9.1 The use of the rail network for movement of freight, particularly where large volumes are involved, can offer significant advantages in terms of speed and the avoidance of road traffic congestion. There are also significant environmental noise and pollution benefits possible by reducing the number of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) on roads, particularly where they would pass through sensitive areas such as residential areas. The Council’s UDP policies take account for this when proposals are being considered. 9.2 The A19 is a main arterial route connecting Doncaster Town centre to the North of Doncaster through Bentley and Askern and then to Selby and York. The A19 lies to the west of the proposed site and is one of the main access routes for vehicular construction traffic. The use of the A19 by construction traffic will have some impacts upon Askern Town, which already suffers delays from the ‘down time’ of the Station Road/Moss Road level crossing. However, no formal assessment of the impact of the construction has been undertaken. 9.3 Whilst it is appreciated that the number of HGV’s serving the site is significant, it is acknowledged that this is a short term issue during the construction period, and the proposals include the use of rail to import fill to construct the Eastern embankment in order to mitigate the level of construction traffic. Furthermore, DMBC Highways Officers and Network Rail have agreed appropriate haul routes
  16. 16. to minimise the effects of construction traffic. The proposals include improvements to be carried out at both the Rockley Lane and Holme Lane junctions, together with localised passing bays along the haul route. The impact will also be further mitigated by the creation of a one way system for construction traffic and also the creation of a temporary haul route to by-pass part of Holme Lane. The routes used for construction traffic will have a full condition assessment carried out and any necessary strengthening works undertaken prior to their use. These improvements are considered to be appropriate mitigation in traffic and transportation terms.9.4 The Joan Croft Level Crossing Study identified an indicative level of reassigned trips from the Moss and Shaftholme route, given that the road bridge would provide journey time benefits over these routes. Whilst this technical assessment predicted an increase in use of the road across Joan Croft level crossing to the A19, this increase is relatively modest in absolute terms. The results estimate that 7 additional vehicles will use this route in the AM peak hour (average hour between 0730-09.30); 5 in the inter peak hour (average hour between 1300-1500) and 30 in the PM peak hour (average hour between 1600- 1800). Although, the documentation does not provide operational analysis of junctions along the routes, DMBC Highways Officers advice is that the modest increase in vehicle numbers does not compromise highway safety on these roads or junctions. It must be noted that when comparing the impacts of having the Joan Croft road bridge and not having it, Network Rail have a programme of upgrading manned crossings with obstacle detection systems. Network Rail has confirmed that Joan Croft would be part of the programme if the bridge were not planned. The significance of this is that currently Joan Croft level crossing is closed unless road vehicles want to cross. Under an obstacle detection system the crossing would be open for road crossings until such times as a train is approaching. The result would be that the crossing down time would be more attractive to traffic in future even if the road bridge is not built. The assessment carried out included this scenario and the results between the over bridge and the upgraded crossing were very similar. Furthermore, the total closure of Joan Croft level crossing without the over bridge is unacceptable in transportation terms due to the severance this would introduce to the local community and users of the Trans Pennine Trail here.9.5 With regards the Joan Croft road bridge proposal, the Council can confirm that no objections are raised to either the rationale or design parameters for the bridge at this location. As well as retaining highway linkage, the proposed road bridge provides added benefits by removing the potential road safety dangers associated with at grade crossing of the East Coat Main Line. However, local residents and communities have concerns with regards the increase of traffic along this route.9.6 The Council has assessed the road traffic collision data for C53 Station Road/Moss Road, Askern to Junction with A19 High Street to Junction with C97 Trumfleet Lane and A19 Doncaster Road/High Street/Selby Road to Junction with Tiltshills Lane to Borough Boundary (North Yorkshire) traffic accident data has been analysed from (2007 to end September 2010), compared to the previous four year period (2003 to 2006 inclusive) and it can be concluded that there is no trend that needs to be addressed through road or junction improvements. Whilst there is a perception of danger at junctions along these
  17. 17. routes the reports conclude that the number of collisions reported is typical in relation to statistics for these road types.9.7 From a Highways Authority perspective support cannot be given to the closure of Joan Croft level crossing in the absence of any other proposed connectivity. This route forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) which is a national route for pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists with no immediately suitable alternative route. The road forms part of the network in a rural community and provides resilience to the network during incidents or restrictions on other parts of the network. Losing this link would lead to community severance. The duty of the Highways Authority is to maintain the public enjoyment of highways within its jurisdiction.9.8 The TPT is a long distance multi user recreation route. The route of the TPT runs along Middle Lane/Joan Croft Lane through to Thorpe-in-Balne. The road is rural in nature with low amounts of traffic flow. This makes it more attractive to non-motorised users. Any increase in traffic along the road will have an impact on trail users and their enjoyment of the trail. Network Rail are committed to carrying out staged safety audits and after studies to assess the impact on Joan Croft Lane post construction of the bridge. If the results of these studies show that the resultant increase in traffic flows have an adverse impact on the safety of road users, in particular pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, then Network Rail will undertake any necessary improvements along this route and also the diversion of the TPT, if required, at their expense.9.9 Residents and the Council are concerned that the extra freight trains which the Chord allows for will lead to greater disruption in Askern town centre from the additional ‘down time’ at level crossings. The concerns raised include the increased time of crossing closures at Station Road/Moss Road crossing and A19 Selby Road, Askern and further on Norton Common Road/Station Road, Norton and the highway issues which this will cause. It is thought by local residents of Askern and Norton that the extra ‘down time’ at level crossings will affect the traffic flow on the A19 and that the phasing of traffic light will not solve the problem due to the increased volume of traffic and frequency of trains. Specific information has not been provided on how many extra trains will use the Askern line in the longer term. There is currently one train an hour in each direction proposed to be transferred from the ECML to the Askern line. Each downtime will result in the highway being closed for 3 minutes.9.10 A concern also raised in respect of highway safety is that the proposals do not show a turning head facility for vehicles accessing the railway cottages located on the west side of the ECML Joan Croft level crossing. If a turning head is not provided refuse vehicles and delivery vehicles may not be able to access and exit these properties in a safe manner.9.11 Having assessed all the highway and traffic information supplied and following on from extensive meetings with the applicants it is considered that the proposals during construction and afterwards can be agreed subject to strict regulation of construction traffic, and the improvements that will be made to the highway network. Network Rail will be required to implement the recommendations of the relevant Safety Audits which will need to be undertaken. The proposals will have a negative effect on the highway network particularly the down time at level crossings and the Trans Pennine Trail.
  18. 18. However, it may be considered that the benefits of moving freight by rail and the increase in the number of passenger trains using the east coast mainline out weighs these negative effects of the scheme.10. Economic Matters 10.1 The view of the Council and of the local residents is that this facility is required in the geographical location proposed and due to the nature of the development has a lack of long term economic benefits on the regeneration of the area. 10.2 It is acknowledged that there would be jobs created during construction. Although, the applicants have stated that around 50 additional construction jobs is expected and that this would have a potentially positive impact on employment. However, due to the nature of the development there will be no long term jobs created by this proposal. Due to the specialised nature of the construction of the development many of the jobs at the construction stage may go to a ‘temporary’ workforce from elsewhere rather than the local residents. It is however acknowledged that there may be some apprenticeships created and opportunities created for work experience.11. Conclusion 11.1 The IPC guidance on the LIR recommends that a view is given by the authority of the relative weighting between the social, economic and environmental issues associated with the proposal and the impact of the scheme on them. 11.2 It is felt that there will be some positive impacts on the area in respect of the possibility of the creation of temporary jobs during the period of construction. However, due to the long term nature of the development, no jobs will be created in the future therefore having a neutral impact within the area. 11.3 In terms of the environmental matters there would be some positive benefits in respect of the upgrading of the junctions along the A19 at Rockley Lane and Holme Lane, an extension to the ecological habitat management within the area and additional tree planting and landscaping as part of the proposal. However, this has to be set against the visual impact the two bridges will have on the character of the existing rural area which will affect people’s experience of the area and impact on its tranquillity. 11.4 In terms of highway connectivity, there are huge benefits including public safety on the creation of the proposed road bridge and the closure of Joan Croft level crossing. However, this does not off set the concerns raised that the proposed road bridge would be likely to increase the risk of vehicles routing between communities to the east and the west (A19) therefore causing potential environmental, residential amenity and highway implications.