Here is another of the presentations to the IPC by BHSAG. This one from James Moore, giving his expert analysis showing that the quarry does not need overnight crushing or transport to achieve its goals. Best practices are also covered.
The IPC held the public meeting on the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion by video-conference yesterday, from 10am to about 4pm. It was a tiring day after weeks of preparation by the 6 BHSAG committee members who spoke on behalf of BHSAG and VOWW. Many other passionate and concerned residents from Giles Road, Nelsons plains and elsewhere also made their presentations. We wholeheartedly thank everyone who presented to the commission or have already sent in written submissions.
The meeting was live streamed so we hope you had the opportunity to watch some of the proceedings. Hanson had two speakers present first, and they both mainly pushed their need for more hours and more trucks in order to service the Sydney market.
If you still want to have your say on this project but were unable to participate in the Public Meeting, you can submit your comments in writing to the Commission via email to: email@example.com , by post or the online portal: http://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say Written comments are weighed the same as spoken presentations. The IPC will accept submissions until Friday 19th June. Your support is important.
The presentations by committee members will be posted as soon as we can. Here is the first installment, from Neil Ritchie. We can only hope the IPC has listened with more empathy than Hanson has to date.
We were very disappointed with PSC’s responses to questions from the IPC last week about costings for the bus bays and shared pathway, and the suitability of the roads and intersections for heavy vehicles. See below from the IPC website:
Other presentations will be posted as they become available .
If you have read the Department’s assessment of the quarry expansion and thought that the recommended conditions of approval are reasonable to some degree, don’t be complacent. Don’t sit back and think the job is done. Read the following “Appendix A…” document, which is publically available on the IPC website, and have your say, either in person by videoconference, or by mailing a written submission to the IPC (see previous posts for the details). We don’t want the IPC to relax any of the proposed conditions for Hanson’s sake, we want them tightened further for our sakes!
Hanson has not accepted the recommended conditions and continues to push for 24/7 and thinks that its business needs overshadow the preservation of our area’s amenity and character and thus our lifestyle and wellbeing.
Hanson’s proposed “concessions” in the Voluntary Planning Agreement with PSC are also a sham and insult. The $120,000 mentioned for bus bays is not an additional contribution, just an advance payment that will be used as a credit to reduce future road maintenance payments.
The $1.5m for the pathway is only half what it will cost, even though their trucks account for over 90% of all the heavy vehicle traffic on Brandy Hill Drive, and will increase.
Have your say with the IPC and take control of your future!
The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) will hold the hearing on the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion on 12th June, by video conference.
Please either register by 5th June to speak to the commission on the 12th June, or simply send a written submission to the IPC to arrive by the 19th June.
The notice was in the Newcastle Herald today (21st May) and on the IPC website.
Today, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment posted their recommended conditions for approval of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion project onto their website.
We were advised with the following email from Genevieve Lucas, who has overseen this project from the beginning:
“The Department has now completed its merit assessment of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project.
I have just made the recommendation live on our Major Project’s website, so it will be available either now or very shortly.
The Department has recommended that the application could be approved, subject to strict conditions of consent. This includes limitations on operating / product transport hours. The Department’s Assessment Report provides details of our recommendations and I encourage you to read this document as well as the recommended conditions of consent.
The application will now be considered and determined by the Independent Planning Commission of NSW. The Commission will undertake its own public engagement processes, and I encourage you to check their website for further information https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/ (it might be later on today that the project is available on their website).
It’s been a number of years that we have been in touch about this application and I appreciate all the inputs and updates you have provided.
I wish you all the best for the next steps, and as always, please contact me if you have any questions.
Resource Assessments, NSW Planning, Industry and Environment”
The link above provides access to three documents covering the department’s assessment. While I have not yet had time to read all the detail, a quick review and phone conversation with Genevieve enabled me make the some observations.
While everyone will have their own unique view on the proposed quarry expansion, I will limit my summary to the issues that BHSAG raised. Firstly, in its initial submission, which represented, as best we could, the consensus from the surveys and other feedback that we received from the community. The issues are listed with the most important first. later I will review the issues that BHSAG raised after Hanson provided its “Response to submissions”.
Issues Subsequent to the above initial submission, BHSAG advised the department in November 2018 that Hanson’s Response to Submissions continued to be grossly inadequate. The concerns raised then and the current outcomes are summarised below.
Reject 24/7. There must be an overnight curfew of despatch and crushing.
Outcome: Largely success. See above.
Mandate the provision of safety and amenity infrastructure (separate from the haulage levy) for footpaths and bus stops.
Outcome: Bus bays must be built before Hanson exceeds the current output limit.
The Shared pathway must be funded within two years of the commencement of the new consent (irrespective of tonnage). Genevieve’s expectation is that PSC will expedite the construction over say 5 years.
Ensure the haulage levy covers all council road routes through PSC and MCC.
Outcome. Maitland Council is pursuing a VPA covering a haulage levy on MCC roads.
PSC have an agreed VPA with Hanson.
Increase the haulage levy because multiple haulage routes are used. PSC has to maintain over 30km of haul roads, and not just the 12km to the nearest state road at Raymond Terrace. The paltry ~$400,000 pa does not cover anywhere near the cost of maintaining that length of road where the vast majority of heavy vehicles are, and will increasingly be, fully laden quarry trucks. Note that our surveys and casual observation indicate that fewer than 15 heavy non gravel trucks use Brandy Hill Drive daily. So the proportion of the 718 daily gravel trucks on that route will be the vast majority.
Outcome: I understand there is a significant increase in the levy in the VPA with PSC.
Mandate dust and sound attenuation enclosures on all processing equipment from stage 1.
Outcome: I understand that all crushing equipment will be enclosed.
My initial appraisal of the department’s assessment, in terms of the issues raised by BHSAG, is that we have been successful to a much larger degree than expected. While not all our wishes are granted, the big ticket items of limiting hours of operation and hourly truck numbers, providing safety and amenity infrastructure in the bus bays and a pathway, and ensuring local councils are better funded to maintain our roads, have all been largely addressed.
BHSAG’s next challenge will be to present to the IPC, to ensure that the department’s recommendations are not watered down to appease Hanson, and where there are deficiencies, we will continue to push for conditions closer to what our community wants.
The BHSAG committee will need a little time to fully understand the department’s assessment, and decide on our next steps. We will keep you informed on that and the IPC timetable.
That’s all for now.
We have been quite distracted lately due to corona virus disruptions. The chairperson of the CCC advised us in early March that a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) had been agreed with Port Stephens Council. Sorry for the delay in bringing that to you. The press release about the agreement is here: 2000305 Hanson_Brandy Hill Quarry VPA Statement
Our attempts to obtain the detail of the agreement have been unsuccessful, claiming confidentiality, as it also includes details of the haulage levy.
However, the press release does cover the two key items of infrastructure that BHSAG have campaigned for: Off-road bus stop bays and a shared pathway, so that is very good news. The aspect of when those items would need to be constructed will be determined by the NSW Department of Planning and the Independent Planning Commission. (More on that shortly)
We hope everyone dodged the corona virus, and that you are making cautious use of the relaxed rules for social interactions.
Please report any Brandy Hill Quarry operations that are outside 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.
In December, the following was received from Port Stephens Council (PSC):
“At this stage the only compliance matter that Council is looking into is the hours of operation for the existing operation. We did receive some legal advice which goes some way to support Council’s position that was provided in a submission to the State Significant Development Application for the Quarry Expansion.
Council has also contacted the quarry operator again to reiterate our contention that the approved hours are those provided in the Environmental Impact Statement that was part of the 1983 quarry development application.”
It is essential that the community helps PSC and BHSA expose Hanson’s lie that they already have 24/7. That repeated claim in their EIS and Response to Submissions is fundamental to their push for overnight and early morning operations for the next 30 years.
If you see any trucks leaving or entering the quarry outside of 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, or see or hear any operations noise from the quarry outside those times, please report the matter to PSC.
Report every occurence! Daily if needed. You can phone, but I suggest you also email. Include any photographic or other proof of location and time (not essential).
PSC contact details are:
Attention: Greg Rodwell
Development Compliance Officer PSC
phone 02 4988 0468 | m 0447 446 779
If PSC can provide a history of community complaints to support our opposition to extended hours of operation, that will greatly improve our argument to NSW Planning and the Independent Planning Commission.
Your assistance will be greatly appreciated as it will help ensure that the amenity and character of our rural residential area is not trashed by this proposed development for the foreseeable future.
There is nothing further to report regarding the expansion, other than Planning has been waiting on more documentation from Hanson.
Please report all illegal quarry operations.
PS A belated Happy New Year to everyone. The fire season has consumed all spare time of the Seaham RFS brigade members and delayed this post. All other lower Hunter brigades have been similarly involved. Thankfully, our area has been free of fires but we have been sending crews to fires on both sides of the valley. Keep safe, prepare your property, yourselves and your action plan for worst case scenarios while we all hope for the best, and rain.
The following information has been received from Hanson, regarding the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project, which I am forwarding on to CCC members:
Lisa Andrews, Independent Chairperson & Director, Articulate Solutions Pty Ltd
Brandy Hill and Seaham Action Group (BHSAG) has continued to lobby the NSW Dept Planning on the key matters of hours of operation, safety along BHD, health impacts of dust and noise, and the environmental impacts on fauna, in particularly the threatened local koala population hub. We can only wait and hope that Hanson’s final Response To Submissions contains some meaningful concessions on the above.
The following extract of an email from Genevieve Seed at the NSW Dept Planning has been posted for the benefit of the community.
From: Gen Seed <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 19 July 2019 11:02:35 am AEST
Subject: RE: Recycling Concrete Crushing Batching Plant Brandy Hill Quarry
Please find below the answers to your questions of last week.
As a lot of these questions related to the existing and proposed operation, I sought some input from Hanson for confirmation of my understanding.
The responses to your questions are as follows (in italics):
Yes. The Expansion Project is seeking to import 20,000 tonnes of concrete waste. The Project is also seeking to produce and dispatch 15,000m3 of pre-mixed concrete per annum.
If this amount was approved, it could not be increased without a modification to the consent. This would be subject to a merit assessment.
If consent is granted, the plant could operate until the nominated end of life date.
The proposed hours of operation for Concrete Recycling and Batching Plant are:
– Monday to Saturday 5:00am to 10:00pm
– No operation on Sundays or public holidays
No – there is currently no concrete batching or recycling facility on the site.
Once operating, the concrete batching activities would require a maximum of 11 laden deliveries per day (22 movements) of sand and cementitious materials.
Deliveries of concrete washout material would most likely occur as backloads from the delivery of aggregate material. That is, trucks would transport this material on their way back to the Quarry. It is estimated that this process would require no more than 20 loads per week however this would vary significantly.
These proposed truck movements have been included in the overall proposed traffic limits of the Expansion application.
There are no chemicals used in concrete recycling other than those required for maintenance of the equipment used.
Concrete batching requires mixing of aggregates, sand and water with cement or cementitious materials to produce concrete. The only chemicals used in this process are admixtures/activators required for special batching requests. These chemicals are commonly used to retard concrete setting or improve the concrete for use in particular settings such as reducing corrosion potential in marine environments.
– Diesel fuel
– Small volumes of oils, lubricants or greases.
– Cementitious materials including cement or fly ash (see discussion at question 14 below).
– Admixtures / activators
– Concrete itself is considered potentially corrosive (when uncured/hardened).
All material that is classified as potentially hazardous would be transported, transferred and stored in accordance with the Australian Standards and manufacturers’ specifications (requiring bunded storage to capture 110% of the storage capacity).
Material safety data sheets would be accessible for all chemicals used / stored on site.
Yes. The mobile crushing equipment would be housed in an enclosed unit that provides a degree of dust mitigation. Hanson would enclose the mobile crushing unit on three sides using shipping containers and a cover. This is not as effective as the sheeting that would be used for the fixed processing equipment, however this type of enclosure is not possible for mobile equipment.
Mobile crushing units are commonly loaded on to a flatbed truck or transport float. If the equipment is track mounted in would be moved within the Quarry without loading.
The mobile crushing unit would likely remain in the same position as presented in the Quarry layout figures. If the equipment needs to be relocated for some reason, it would still remain within the Processing and Stockpiling Area as this is the only location where there would be sufficient space for the equipment to operate. The change in location is not likely to change dust generation and dispersion to the extent that monitoring locations would need to be changed. However, Hanson has advised it would continue to liaise with the community throughout the life of the development to ensure that any impacts identified by the community are addressed and mitigated.
Yes at other Hanson concrete batching plants, but not currently at the Brandy Hill Quarry.
Yes, Hanson participated in a field trail to inform research into the use of this waste material (bottom ash) as a replacement for fine sand materials. More information on this trial can be found here https://www.quarrymagazine.com/Article/2662/Coal-power-station-waste-as-a-fine-aggregate-replacement-in-concrete.
The trial involved pouring a small concrete slab (10m3) and then testing the concrete properties (slumping, strength and shrinkage). The use of ash materials from coal-fired power generation is common as a replacement for cement in concrete production, but this trial was seeking a replacement for fine sand materials using the larger bottom ash. The material was not stored at the Quarry for a significant period and only imported once. The risk of environmental impact was considered negligible and therefore there was no need to discuss this activity with neighbours. This activity may be compared to the pouring of a concrete driveway at any residence in Brandy Hill.
Hanson has advised me that they do intend to import fly ash as part of the Expansion Project. However, there is no information on this within in existing documentation for the proposal, and I know I have advised you previously that this did not form part of their proposal.
On this basis, I have requested further information from Hanson in relation to this matter, including what is being proposed and how it will be managed.
To get a bit more information about this material, I contacted the EPA for a discussion. They advised me that importing this material does not form part of an ‘Environment Protection License’ but is regulated by a Resource Recovery Order and Exemption issued in 2014 (see link below).
I understand that to use this material, the supplier must ensure that it meets a certain chemical composition.
This is something we will be carefully considering when the Amended RTS comes in, and I appreciate you bringing this to our attention.
Hanson advised it has not experienced the low dam levels reported here. However, if water in the Western Dam was getting low, Hanson would import water (using tanker supply) to ensure that the water cart can continue dust suppression. This has not been required in past operations.
The quarry manager is responsible for managing dust on site.
The EPA regulates all forms of pollution including dust, noise, water quality and blasting through the Quarry’s Environment Protection Licence. Currently, deposited dust is monitored at the Quarry boundary at three locations. Hanson also have a particulate matter monitor located to the south of the Quarry. This monitoring is not required under the Quarry’s existing Environment Protection Licence but is used by Hanson to inform dust management at the Quarry. It is expected that dust monitoring would increase under the Expansion Project, if approved.
Hanson advised that it undertakes monitoring in accordance with the requirements of the EPA. Hanson advised that it recently completed a program of water quality testing in water tanks in the vicinity of the Quarry and found that all tank water was suitable for drinking.
The Department will carefully consider the potential air quality impacts in its assessment of the application.
The rock being extracted at the Quarry is predominantly ignimbrite which is overlain by sandstone, mudstone and conglomerate to the south of the Quarry Site.
I do not believe Hanson has undertaken monitoring of residents or staff respiratory health. This would be a difficult system to implement particularly as people are exposed to all different levels of particulates. It is also difficult to determine the level that particulates affect respiratory health in comparison to other emissions (ie smoke). Research on the health effects of particulate matter is evolving and NSW Health have some interesting information of this. https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/particulate-matter.aspx
Hanson has advised that the quarry currently uses the route that requires trucks to cross the heritage listed wooden bridges and to pass the Woodville Store and the Church and Hall at Woodville. Hanson consider that there is unlikely to be significant additional impacts from transport activities at these locations, as it does not intend to increase the maximum hourly number of dispatches from the site.
Drivers are made aware of the locations of the heritage bridges and the load limits and single lane requirements for their use.
Hanson has assessed potential blast vibration impacts from the operation and determined that vibration from blasting was not likely to cause structural damage at the closest residences to the Quarry. The blast assessment concludes that vibration from blasting would not impact the Woodville Store or the Church and Hall at Woodville as these are at a greater distance from the operation.
The Department will carefully consider the heritage and blasting impacts of the proposal in its assessment of the application.
I understand the social impact assessment may have focused on the areas of Brandy Hill and Seaham based on their proximity to the extractive operation and proposed haulage route. The proposal’s potential to impact broader primary production in the area is likely to be related to groundwater drawdown and downstream surface water quality impacts.
The Department is carefully considering these impacts in its assessment of the proposal.
I hope this information is of assistance.
Please note that when Hanson responded to me about some of these questions, they advised that they are happy to meet any resident on site or in person. They also advised they would conduct a site visit for discussion of existing operations. I understand if this does not appeal to you but thought it important that you know the offer is there.
For your information, these are the minutes from the last two Brandy Hill Quarry Community Consultative Committee (CCC) meetings.
Also presented at the February meeting was the following document outlining the changes between the original EIS that resulted in the 160+ objecting submissions, and what Hanson were proposing at that time to include in their “Response TO Submissions”, ie their revised project plan. The community representatives advised that the revised planned hours of operation were still totally unacceptable to the community. In the absence of any subsequent advice from Hanson of any changes, we believe this document is still their current plan.
For clarification of the above document, we understand that “Load and Haul” refers to dump truck movements from the pit to the primary crusher, which are all proposed to operate from 5am to 10pm, except Sundays and public holidays.
Truck loading and despatch is not clearly stated, but the answer in an earlier post states:
As described in Section 3.12 of the RTS, Hanson has reduced the components of the operation that would be approved to occur 24/7 following a review of the proposed ongoing operation. Hanson is seeking approval for the following activities to occur 24/7 where needed to satisfy client demand.
• Secondary crushing and screening activities.
• Road truck loading and despatch.
The only concession on road truck haulage and despatch is that despatch between 10pm and 5am would only occur on up to 20 nights per year. ie we could expect despatch from 5am up until 10pm to satisfy “client demand”.
Compare that to BHSAG’s April 2017 submission which stated :
“Reject the proposal to allow 24/7 dispatch through a residential area and 24/7 crushing. There must be a complete curfew on operations between 8pm – 6am weekdays, and from midday Saturday until 6am Monday. Principally for the sake of amenity.”
After the poor response from Hanson in the above comparison document, BHSAG are proposing to put to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) hearing (whenever we get to that point), that operating hours should remain as per the current consent :- 6am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
Do you have any comments on either the minutes, Hanson’s proposed hours of operations, or what we should ask the IPC to restrict them to?