The planning permission granted by South Tyneside Council and permit issued by the Environment Agency requires various environmental aspects to be monitored as part of the ongoing operations at the site, including:
- Landfill Gas and Leachate
Dust – continuous dust monitoring is carried out at 5 agreed locations by means of the frisbee gauge and sticky pad methods to assess the levels of dust in the local area and also the direction from which the dust has originated. The recorded data is then analysed in conjunction with the metrological data from our onsite weather station which measures and records wind speed, direction and temperature. This enables the source of the dust to be identified in terms of the local area i.e. is the source from the quarry or from other external sources / influences.
Noise – noise monitoring is undertaken once per month at 3 agreed locations to ensure that the site is operating within the set limit of 55dBA LAeq over 1 hour monitoring period.
Blasting – whilst blasting is not currently undertaken at the site at present there is still the provision within the planning permission for blasting to be undertaken if hard rock is encountered. All blasting at the site is required to be monitored and must be carried out within the limits imposed by the planning permission. However, it is not anticipated that there shall be any further blasting carried out at the site.
Groundwater – groundwater monitoring is undertaken quarterly and involves pumping up water from the local aquifer via boreholes which have been installed around the perimeter of the site. The groundwater samples are sent for analysis by an external laboratory to ensure that local water quality is not being affected by the landfill.
Landfill Gas & Leachate – although the generation of landfill gas is not anticipated due to the non-biodegradable nature of the waste deposited in the landfill, gas monitoring is conducted monthly via boreholes around the site and also directly from wells constructed within the actual landfill. Samples of leachate are also taken from these wells for analysis by an external laboratory.
Traffic – all lorries arriving and leaving the site are logged and weighed at the site weighbridge. The quarry operates within the permitted limits set for the site by the planning authority; this being no more than 394 daily two-way HGV traffic movements on any working day or no more than an average of 304 trips based upon a 50 week yearly average over a 5 day working week.
Environmental Management System
In addition to the above monitoring and permitted limits set by the regulating authorities, the environmental performance of the site is continually assessed by the company’s own Environmental Management System that is certified to ISO 14001. The EMS contains a range of policies and procedures designed to make sure that the operations at the quarry comply with all relevant standards. ISO 14001 also requires the company to continually seek to improve its own performance and respond positively to any breaches of performance that might occur, as well as complaints from external sources. This therefore requires continuous improvement and high standards to be maintained at the quarry.