The low turn out of Castle Point residents during the Borough elections will be viewed as voter apathy towards local authority matters. This is probably acceptable where matters such as dog poo and bus shelters are concerned.
However where matters that potentially may impact upon the well being and harm to the community are concerned, this should be viewed as another matter entirely.
The “it will never happen to me” attitude setting that has been encouraged where Flood Risk is concerned, came back to bite Canvey residents hard, as we well know in 2013 and 2014. For our Borough representatives and “professional” officers to claim that they thought flooding from the sea was the concern, they never thought it might come from a rain storm, illustrates the type of complacency they allowed themselves to operate under and make decisions by.
The Canvey Green Belt campaign have produced photographic evidence in support of our drainage concerns that have been dismissed by the local authority.
This ignorance and denial of flooding issues, from whichever source, gives CPBC the confidence to identify housing land that may be entirely unsuitable. Note it was chiefly Green Belt reasons that the planning committee focussed on in refusing the Holland Avenue planning application last week.
‘There are none so blind as those who will not see.
The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’
Despite the Flood RE insurance exhibition being held on Canvey Island just 4 days prior to the planning meeting, and despite this Campaign group’s raising of the flood insurance issue whilst the Holland Avenue proposal was being discussed and our Blog posts on the subject, the committee preferred to spend no time discussing!
Whilst residents do not raise concerns, more should be expected of our representatives, not less. To deny a potential flood insurance issue for all new housing development on the grounds that flooding may never happen again on Canvey, in the knowledge that the “guestimated” £24,500,000 towards drainage infrastructure faults is not available, borders on the irresponsible. For development committee members to not even discuss the matter, is worse!
Build into the situation that the development committee also assume the role of the CPBC Hazardous Substance Authority, genuine concerns should be apparent.
The currents tv news programmes have shown coverage of the harrowing scenes evolving in Canada. The momentous forest fires have seen a coordinated evacuation and a massive effort by the fire services.
Compare that to the local response during the 2014 Canvey flooding. Telephone response lines not being answered due to the “service” being overwhelmed, the Environment Agency operatives unable to even get onto Canvey and the power outages rendering the pumps unable to cope with what water that was able to reach them!
Two years later and the CPBC Scrutiny Report into the flooding remains still to be published!
In the light of this omnishambles, complacency is the last position that should be adopted when we move onto suggest the local authority AND our representatives might wish to consider the issue of Safety Reports.
There is a requirement of all operators of Top Tier COMAH Hazardous Site Installations such as the Calor Gas LPG Storage Site, to provide a comprehensive Safety Report. Reports are summited to the Competent Authority for assessment against the Safety Report Assessment Manual. Once passed through examination the report is made available to Local Authorities, in this case Castle Point Borough Council
An important aspect of this risk based approach to mitigation is to recognise that it is based upon the likelihood of an incident and that should one occur the potential consequences will, in the worst case, extend beyond the land use planning zones in the down wind direction. Thus local authorities off site emergency plans need to be drawn up accordingly. Continued below;
Hazardous Installation Safety Reports are designed and expected to provide additional information than that identified by Consultation Distances and Public Information Zones
The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015
“251 The local authority cannot prepare an external emergency plan for an establishment without obtaining necessary information from the operator. This information will not normally be the entire safety report. The operator should provide that information which is relevant to preparing the external plan, including major accident scenarios and consequences. The operator must provide this information by the date on which the internal plan has to be prepared to comply with regulation 12(2) and should also ensure that any information supplied to the local authority is updated as necessary in the light of any changes.
252 Some establishments may be designated by the competent authority as being part of a ‘domino group’ – establishments where the likelihood or consequences of a major accident may be increased because of the location and proximity of other establishments and the dangerous substances present there. These establishments need special consideration in terms of emergency planning and the testing of the off-site response. The operators in the group must co-operate with each other in supplying any relevant information to the local authority.”
Those parts of the Calor Gas safety report that deal with “The Population at Risk” and the Impact on Population, demonstrate the extent and severity of a credible major accident scenarios which has been modelled to reveal that there is an extensive population likely to be affected. It would seem that this aspect has not been considered when planning application are being deliberated upon by the Castle Point Borough Council Planning Authority, even though they act as the Boroughs Hazardous Substance Authority.
The fundamental principle of the land use planning system is that decision making is the responsibility of the local planning authority, usually the local authority. The planning authority reaches decisions on applications for development in the vicinity of major hazard sites having taken account of relevant social, economic and safety factors and generally determined in accordance with the development plan. The Competent Authority provides the advice about suitability on grounds of safety and environmental impact and its role is as adviser under the requirements of the Seveso III Directive, not as decision maker. We believe the principle of decision making by the CPBC local planning authority should be supported by independent specialist advice in order that the authority’s Land Use Planning decisions can be considered to be, Sound!
Grateful thanks go to Ian Silverstein for use of his video.