UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING THE EFFECTS
PoTLL have included a thorough report called the Environmental Statement (ES) as part of the DCO application. This is available on the National Infrastructure Planning website here.
PoTLL’s ES sets out the likely significant effects of Tilbury2 on the environment and how these can be mitigated through careful and considered design. The ES covers the construction of Tilbury2 and the new road and rail links as well as their subsequent operation.
VIEWS OF AND FROM TILBURY FORT AND FROM GRAVESEND
Tilbury Fort is located close by and is of national significance. However, the proposals will have no physical impacts on it. PoTLL’s mitigation proposals ensure the impact on its setting is minimised.
South of the river, Gravesend has two Conservation Areas and a number of listed buildings. PoTLL’s proposals have taken into account how Tilbury2 will affect the setting of these other heritage assets, albeit that Tilbury2 is 1km away across the river.
NOISE FROM THE TILBURY2 SITE AND THE ROAD AND RAIL LINKS
Long-term noise monitoring of the existing noise levels was undertaken at receptor locations close to the proposal in Tilbury and Gravesend. The predicted construction and operational noise levels from the proposal with embedded mitigation have been assessed against the relevant standards and guidance with the results presented in the environmental statement.
The ES has concluded that construction effects may give rise to temporary adverse effects, but that these will not be significant.
In operation, it has concluded that there will be negligible effects arising from the rail and road use of the infrastructure corridor, thanks in part to the noise barrier that PoTLL has committed to providing alongside the corridor.
It has also identified the potential for adverse impacts arising from port operations during the night in Gravesend, and during the day in Tilbury, if the full range of proposed development is built out and operated at the same time. As such PoTLL has committed to a full noise reassessment once the full nature of the operations has been finalised, and will offer a package of noise insulation or additional glazing (as appropriate) for any locations where any significant effects are considered likely to arise. PoTLL has also committed to agreeing a monitoring and mitigation package with Thurrock and Gravesham Council once the full nature of operations has been finalised.
ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS ON FLORA AND FAUNA
The Port has undertaken extensive ecological studies including on the Tilbury2 site itself, within the river and along the road and rail corridor. PoTLL’s aim is to secure minimal or no net loss of biodiversity. To achieve no net loss will require improvements to the nature conservation value of land both on the site and elsewhere. Translocation of water voles, reptiles and brownfield substrates of importance to scarce plants, lichens and invertebrates is also proposed to be carefully undertaken as will new habitat creation, enhancement and provision of habitats for protected species. This is an expansion on the approach PoTLL took at London Distribution Park which proved extremely successful.
Human health and ecological impacts from air pollution and dust are reported in the ES. The assessment of dust emissions and air pollution from road transport showed that, with appropriate mitigation in place there will be no significant effects during construction.
A detailed model of operational emissions from road and rail transport, which used conservative assumptions, showed that air quality criteria for human health will be met and the change due to Tilbury2 will not be significant. The replacement over time of the road and rail fleets with more modern, cleaner engines will provide air quality improvements in the long term. Effects on ecological sites were also concluded not to be significant. Operational shipping emissions were screened out as not significant due to the relatively small increases in vessel movements. Operational emissions from the CMAT and associated facilities will be controlled through mitigation measures secured through the DCO, to ensure that any effects will not be significant.
In order to reduce environmental effects both during the construction and operational phases of the project, PoTLL are proposing a comprehensive approach to “mitigation” that will ensure comprehensive environmental controls.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan has been prepared that requires best practice during construction to reduce any effects from noise, dust or other environmental impacts.
Similarly an Operational Management Plan will play the same role when the proposals are brought into use.
PoTLL have also prepared an “active travel plan” that will improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the area, with new crossing points and waymarked routes to the riverside and the fort. PoTLL are in discussions with Thurrock Council in relation to reaching a legal agreement that will require the implementation of the active travel plan measures. The DCO also includes a number of “requirements”, which are provisions similar to conditions in a normal planning permissions. These requirements also set out a number of mitigation measures that PoTLL must undertake.