Redmore Environmental undertook an Air Quality Assessment for on-farm combustion sources at Court Farm, Much Birch, Herefordshire. The project was completed in support of a planning application for the retention of two 995kW biomass boilers within an existing agricultural building.
Biomass boilers are an example of an on-farm combustion source and are a popular renewable technology adopted by many in the agricultural sector. The introduction of such technologies has helped to achieve greater self-sufficiency with on-farm heating needs, including pig and poultry housing, glasshouses for salad production, hot water wash downs in dairies, grain drying, fan heating and fan coil units for large open spaces.
Air Quality Assessment for On-Farm Combustion
Combustion emissions from the boilers had the potential to contribute to elevated pollutant concentrations. As such, dispersion modelling was undertaken using the ADMS-5 software package to quantify changes in pollutant levels at sensitive locations within the vicinity of Court Farm.
The modelling software predicts pollutant concentrations using a range of variable parameters including operational periods, exhaust gas temperature and flow rate, building geometries, meteorological conditions and land use characteristics. Potential uncertainties in the model results were reduced as far as practicable and worst-case inputs used in order to provide a robust assessment.
Impacts at both human and ecological receptors were considered due to the proximity of the site to a number of sensitive designations including two areas of Ancient Woodland and the River Wye Special Area of Conservation, as well as several settlements.
Following consultation with Herefordshire Council, the potential for cumulative impacts associated with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10µm (PM10) emissions from other existing boilers in the vicinity of Court Farm were also considered within the assessment, alongside those associated with the application site. This allowed cumulative effects to be modelled and analysed appropriately.
The results of the air quality assessment for on-farm combustion sources indicated that predicted pollutant concentrations as a result of cumulative emissions would not cause significant impacts at any sensitive receptor location in vicinity of the site. Based on the assessment results, air quality factors were not considered a constraint to planning consent for retention of the biomass boilers.
The Air Quality Assessment was subsequently used to support the planning application for the site, which has since been granted consent by Herefordshire Council.
How Can We Help?
If you require an Air Quality Assessment for on-farm combustion sources, dispersion modelling of impacts from any other sources of atmospheric emissions or an Environmental Permit for a medium combustion plant, then get in touch today to discuss how we can help you ensure planning permission is granted.