Folkestone & Hythe District Council breaking Environmental Law

New evidence has emerged which shows Folkestone & Hythe District Council are in clear breach of environmental law and in particular the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

Just a few days ago we wrote about the Council and the Cabinet Member for the Environment failing to ensure the Council proactively disseminate Environmental Information, as per Reg 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

We call upon Cllr L Whybrow (Green) – Cabinet Member for the Environment to use her portfolio powers to investigate the breach of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, by the Council, urgently.

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 deal with Environmental permits which are a key component of UK and local business regulation. They are designed to control and regulate activities which have the potential to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

Under the  Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 some activities that can cause pollution need to be ‘permitted’ to operate. This permit contains conditions that must be observed to make sure pollution is kept under control.

The activities are divided into three types:

  • Part A(1)

  • Part A(2)

  • Part B

Part A processes

Large industries such as power stations, incinerators and chemical plants are known as Part A(1) processes.

These large industries are controlled by the Environment Agency and are regulated under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.

It is not known how many Part A(1) processes in the district there are. These sites are likely to have a greater environmental impact to land, water and air will fall under this category of permit. You will need to apply for these permits through the Environment Agency.

Part A2 Permits are medium sized sites which may have a large environmental impact to land, water and air will fall under this permit category. You need to apply for these to Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

The Council are responsible for regulating Part A(2) process; this is a larger process than most Part B installations but having a smaller potential environmental impact than a part A(1) process.

Part B processes

Folkestone & Hythe District Council is responsible for smaller sites which may give rise to emissions to air may fall under this category of permit. This includes process like; vehicle re-sprayers, dry cleaners and petrol service stations. You need to apply for these via Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

The image above shows Ashford Borough Council’s dry cleaners and vehicle re-sprayers, they publicly display on their website.

The control of emissions to the air from small industrial processes not only falls under the Regs but the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, within the district.

Now many of you will know we have vehicle resprayers, dry cleaners and petrol stations in the district, yet the council is not proactively disseminating environmental information under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016; which affect the air we breathe. Nor is there anything on their website under air pollution.

Under Reg 46 and Schedule  27 the Council must set out the information which a public register must contain. The public register must be available for public inspection at all reasonable times, free of charge. A public register may be kept in any form. There is no mention of a public regsiter on its website nor does it publish such a register on its website.

Also, under s60 of the Regs, Folkestone & Hythe District Council must prepare and publish a statement of its policies for complying with its public participation duties.  In preparing or revising the statement the Council MUST consult such persons as it considers are affected by, are likely to be affected by, or have an interest in, the statement.

However, the Shepway Vox Team can reveal there is no mention of a Environmental Permit public register on the Council’s website. Nor do they publish a statement of its policies for complying with its public participation duties – quelle suprise. As such the Council are in serious breach of their legal obligations under the said Regs.

In stark contrast,  Ashford Borough Council, Dartford Borough Council, Dover District Council, Maidstone Borough Council, Sevenoaks District Council, Swale Borough Council, Thanet District Council, Tonbridge & Malling District Council & Tunbridge Wells Borough Council all proactively disseminate their environmental permits on their websites.

This is OUR environment. Cllr L Whybrow as the Cabinet member for the Environment, including air quality, and professes to care about our environment, must investigate why the Council are breaking environment law covered by her portfolio.

Our public face has written to the chair of the Audit & Governance Committee. It is this committee which has the power to investigate this matter. He has asked the chair of the committee, Cllr Philip Martin (Con) to call in the Internal Auditor to investigate the matter and report back to the committee. This way the Council’s failures to safeguard our Environment would become a matter of public record.

You too can write to Cllr P Martin to ask for an investigation into this matter.

philip.martin@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

We would hope that such an investigation would be fully supported by Cllr Rebecca Shoob (Green), a member of the Audit & Governance Committee, after all, she like her Green colleague Cllr L. Whybrow, professes to care about our environment. And let’s not forget environment law is being broken.

Whether the committee will act on a breach of environmental law is anyone’s guess. However, we hope the Cabinet member for the Environment will start an investigation with as much passion as she has shown towards Princes Parade; and once concluded share her findings publicly with the residents of the district.

As we’ve said before, our Cllrs actions will speak louder than their words.

The Shepway Vox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

About shepwayvox (1399 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

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