Environmental Impact

Yorkshire Forward/UK Coal Ltd
Proposed Development of Waverley Advanced Manufacturing Park
Environmental Assessment
Executive Summary – Preliminary Issue

Proposed Development

The proposed development site, which is owned by UK Coal Ltd, covers 40 hectares and is located immediately southwest of the village of Catcliffe, approximately 2.5 km south of Rotherham town centre and 3 km east of Sheffield City Centre. The site falls within the administrative boundaries of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC). The proposed new Advanced Manufacturing Park will be developed by Yorkshire Forward and UK Coal. The proposals include zones for research and development, manufacturing, start-up and business incubator and support services.

Local Environment

The site was formerly subject to open cast coal extraction which, it is understood, finished in 1988. Restoration was completed in 1996 and was achieved by back filling of the extraction areas. This led to formation of a series of plateaux that were then seeded with a general grass and wildflower mix. The surrounds of the site can be generally described as being utilised for mixed industrial, residential, agricultural, commercial and recreational use. Significant features in the surrounding area include:

  • to the north, another area of restored opencast colliery known as Phase 1. The B6533 lies further north with a superstore and associated car park beyond
  • a railway line adjoins the site on its southern boundary. Further south lie farmland with mature hedgerows and copses
  • to the east, High Field Spring (B6066) lies adjacent to the site boundary. Orgreave open cast colliery, which is operational, is located beyond.
  • the Sheffield Parkway (A630) skirts the site’s northwestern boundary. Tinsley Park golf course lies beyond.

Environmental Assessment Process

An environmental assessment is currently being undertaken and is close to completion, which will result in a report that will:

  • Describe baseline environmental conditions
  • Assess impacts that could potentially arise during both the construction and operational phases of the project
  • Identify mitigation measures that will potentially be necessary and assess the level of impact that may remain following mitigation (residual impact)

The report will is available on the Internet for view from 1 Nov 2002, (go to www.yorkshire-forward.com, then select ‘Flagship Programmes’, then ‘Advanced Manufacturing Park’). The environmental assessment does not constitute a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) under the 1999 EIA Regulations, as this was deemed not to be required by RMBC’s Planning Authority, due to the type of development and level of possible effects. RMBC did, however, conclude that a non-statutory environmental assessment should be undertaken concentrating on the effects of the development on the following matters:

  • traffic flows to be generated and the effects of the traffic on air quality and noise levels
  • effects of the development itself on Catcliffe and Brinsworth in terms of emissions and noise levels and the massing of buildings
  • surface water flows, having particular regard to flooding issues
  • foul drainage, having regard to the fact that ready access to sewage treatment facilities is not available at present
  • flora and fauna resident on the site, including ground-nesting birds and any statutorily protected species

Initial Conclusions

The following initial conclusions have been reached with regard to environmental issues. These may be subject to alteration as the environmental assessment is finalised.

Traffic and Transport

The proposed development site is well located for access to A 630 Sheffield Parkway and hence to the national motorway network, being very close to junction 33 of the M1 Motorway. The site is currently served by local bus routes and the masterplan includes sustainable transport proposals to encourage the use of walking and cycling for work trips. Future development plans also include a Transport Interchange adjacent to the site and an expansion of the Sheffield Supertram system.

The Transport Assessment is now complete and assesses the impact on local junctions and the adjoining road network. Measures to mitigate the impact of the development include possible local junction improvements and contributions to transport facilities.

Air Quality

RMBC’s air quality model will be used to model the potential effects on local air quality resulting from increased traffic levels associated with the new development. RMBC are due to supply the results in early November 2002. A qualitative assessment will also be undertaken of the potential for effects to arise as a result of on-site operations, through consideration of likely manufacturing operations and location of potentially sensitive receptors. Construction operations will also be considered.

Noise and Vibration

Noise monitoring has been undertaken at the site with the results indicating that the main road is the primary existing source of noise. Potential noise impacts will be assessed using predicted traffic flows, assumptions regarding potential on-site operations and the methodology given in CRTN (Calculation of Road Traffic Noise) and BS4142 (mixed residential and industrial). Potential construction impacts will also be considered.

Landscape and Visual Environment

The landscape is subject to no designations and therefore has no statutory or non-statutory protection. No landscape features considered to be of any significance are currently found on the site and the site has a derelict wasteland appearance. The landscape to the south of the site beyond the railway line, which consists of farmland and mature woodland, is considered to be of moderate value. There are relatively few residential properties overlooking the site with the exception of four groups of residential properties, located 0.5 km or more away. The landscape strategy will aim to provide screening to receptors and has the opportunity to improve the quality of the existing landscape.

Surface Water, Hydrology, Water Quality, Drainage

Foul sewer provisions have been requisitioned from Yorkshire Water who will design and construct a new pumping station and rising main.  The surface water flows from the site will be discharged to the Sheffield Airport drain, which is separate to the drainage system covering Catcliffe, so as not to adversely affect any future flooding in Catcliffe.

Ecology and Nature Conservation

The majority of the site is characterised by open, fairly long, grassland with extensive patches of bare or sparsely vegetated ground. Potential for low-level negative effects to arise was identified in relation to loss of unmanaged grassland, loss of habitat for breeding skylarks and loss of temporary pools and ditches. The presence of other rare or protected species was not identified. The skylark breeding habitat is transient and would, without management, become unsuitable within a relatively short timescale. The proposed landscaping strategy and ecological management plan will mitigate for other impacts and will aim to increase the nature conservation value of the site.

Socio-economic

A qualitative assessment of the potential effects of the development on existing socio-economic conditions is being undertaken, taking into account issues such as baseline conditions in the local area and numbers of jobs predicted to be created.

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