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Badgers Mount Parish Council

Open Letter from SDC-Environmental Health issues in local area

22nd November 2022

Open Letter from SDC-Environmental Health issues in local area

Dear Resident

I am writing to update you regarding concerns which have been raised by local residents about recent activity at several sites associated with BSP Knockholt Ltd in the area of the Sevenoaks/ Bromley boundary.

Officers from Sevenoaks District Council, London Borough of Bromley and the Environment Agency met last week to discuss the various sites of concern and discuss the various identified issues and the actions being taken.

As I am sure you appreciate, we are unable to discuss the actions undertaken by London Borough of Bromley at the sites within their area. We were however assured that they are taking a proactive approach to the issues identified including progression of several court cases.

Hopefully you will be aware that our Planning Service have taken planning enforcement action at both of the sites associated with BSP Knockholt Ltd that sit within our District.

In March 2022 we served an enforcement notice on land adjacent to the Badgers Mount/ London Road roundabout. This notice has been appealed and we are awaiting a decision from the Planning Inspectorate. We are continuing to monitor the site and will address new issues as they arise. We are aware that some waste materials have been situated on a strip of land within the ownership of Kent County Council and the relevant officers within their Highways Team have been made aware and are understood to be taking action to address this.

Most residents will be aware that the District Council served a planning enforcement notice relating to land at Oak Tree Farm (land between the main dwelling and London Road) in August 2021. This notice has been upheld by the Planning Inspectorate and should be complied with by end of March 2023.

Some of the land at Oak Tree Farm operates under an environmental permit (issued by the Environment Agency) for the processing and storage of waste. If and when planning issues occur at a waste site these are enforced by Kent County Council’s Waste Planning Team. Officers have contacted this team to discuss the ongoing situation.

Should you require further details of the planning enforcement action taken at either site, please contact planning.enforcement@sevenoaks.gov.uk. The Environment Agency have confirmed that they have issued notices to revoke the environmental permits at Knockholt Station Goods Yard and Oak Tree Farm.

These revocation notices will come into effect on the 24th November 2022 unless an appeal is submitted by the operator. If a permit operator appeals the revocation of their permit then the process is suspended and the business can continue to operate until an appeal hearing is heard.

We understand that the existing operators could attempt to establish new legal entities and then reapply for relevant environmental permits. Should this happen we understand that local Environment Agency officers would oppose the granting of new permits.

The Environment Agency have been made aware of the waste deposited at both sites and these issues are under investigation by the relevant officers. Should you wish to discuss the actions being taken by the Environment Agency you may wish to contact them by email: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

Our Environmental Health Team have received a number of complaints that waste is regularly being burned at Oak Tree Farm generating emissions of smoke. We have also been notified of the waste that is being accumulated outside of the current area covered by the environmental permit.

These issues are under investigation, by Officers and we are in the process of collecting evidence and information to determine if offences (with the legislation we enforce) have, or are, being committed. To assist us, should any resident have evidence to show the impact of the fires or wish to report new incidents they may do so by email to environmental.health@sevenoaks.gov.uk or by telephone on 01732 227000.

The Planning, and Environmental Health Teams will continue to work closely with partners in order to identify solutions and maintain a coherent and consistent approach for residents. As part of this, they will meet periodically to review progress.

I would hope that residents would find the information contained within this letter useful and that you will recognise the District Council is making efforts to explore the many issues and questions that have been raised by residents as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, if I can be of further assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Chapman

Environmental Health Manager

Environmental Health Team

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