Please see the following statement from Peel Ports which will delivered directly to residents on and around St Mary’s Island over the coming days. Mark would like to thank everyone who has been in touch for their continuing patience and hopes that the matter is now set to be resolved.
Wood Chip Storage at Chatham Docks
We understand that the storage of wood chip material at Chatham Docks continues to cause concern to some of our neighbours.
Regrettably, by September a large stockpile of wood chip material had built up at Chatham Docks and had begun to decompose. As a result, unpleasant odours became evident, and were carried by the wind to some residential areas close to the docks. This has been a very unusual situation for us and we are very sorry that any of our neighbours have been inconvenienced in this way. We are doing all we can to remove the odour-producing material.
The stockpile has now been reduced by more than two thirds and we expect the remainder of to be removed from site by 18 November.
Review of Procedures
We have reviewed our procedures and have introduced tighter controls on the storage and movement of such materials:
– Lower stockpile levels have been agreed with Environment Agency and Kent Fire Service, which we hope will be under the conditions of a new bespoke environmental permit.
– We will no longer store wood and baled waste in the St Mary’s area of the Port.
– We will work to faster turn around times.
We have invested in new processing equipment and additional dust suppression equipment to reduce levels of dust. Additional equipment will be installed, including heat probes, dust suppression, and yard surfacing.
We wish to reassure our neighbours that the odours released from this material are non-toxic. This has been confirmed by the country’s leading toxic chemical analysts in addition to our own testing. At the recommendation of the Environment Agency (EA) and Health Protection Agency (HPA) we commissioned independent occupational health consultants to test air quality on-site.
– Dust measurements were taken around the site, concluding that dust levels were consistent with this type of operation, although some cleaning was recommended in some areas.
– The survey assessed real-time concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), on-site, comparing measurements with typical workplace exposure standards.
The report concludes:
“The VOC readings indicate that the long-term average personal exposure limit was not exceeded during the assessment period and that no significant readings were measured. Workers conducting these activities are not exposed to levels of VOC that may pose a potential risk to health.”
Peel Ports is responsible for the management of Chatham Docks and we are sensitive to the fact that we operate adjacent to residential areas. We take our responsibilities very seriously and our aim is to be a good neighbour. We continue to work closely with the authorities – the EA, the HPA and Kent Fire Service – who all monitor our procedures.
Recycling and Waste Management
Peel Ports – Medway