16 July 2004
1. The Promoter, in its Supplementary Memorandum undertook to set out for the Committee's benefit its methodology for further engagement and consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage ("SNH"), Scottish Environment Protection Agency ("SEPA") and the River Tweed Commissioners ("RTC") on the Environmental Statement ("ES").
2. The Promoter is aware that the Committee have set deadlines by which SNH, SEPA and Historic Scotland are to provide consultation responses to the Committee on the ES and the requirement for the Promoter to respond thereafter no later than 13 August 2004. The Promoter will meet this deadline and this Memorandum should be considered as supplementary to that process.
3. The Promoter's intention is to produce a further formal Addendum to the ES taking into account all of the advice and consultation responses of SNH, SEPA, RTC and Historic Scotland and have this Addendum together with the ES peer reviewed.
4. The Promoter now sets out its methodology for further engagement and consultation with RTC, SEPA and SNH:-
RTC's Consultation Response
5. RTC's main concerns are the importance of restricting works affecting the Gala Water to certain times of the year and to facilitate early engagement to ensure that no significant adverse impacts arise.
6. As stated within the ES Section 8.7.3 strict controls will be placed on construction to reduce the impacts of the interests of the cSAC and the in-river works will be timed for l when salmon redds will not be occupied and fry will be sufficiently mobile to move out of construction areas.
7. Detailed design of the railway will be developed following Royal Assent through a process of consultation and engagement to ensure that adverse impacts are properly mitigated. The Promoter will ensure that RTC are regularly consulted before during and after the detailed design stage and during the construction phase. The Promoter refers the Committee to answer 10.1 of the Supplementary Memorandum setting out its intention to set up a formal consultative and approvals mechanism, which will involve establishing a team responsible for environmental management.
SEPA Consultation Response
8. The Promoter notes that SEPA has no objection to the proposal in principle and considers the ES to be comprehensive and not to be of particular concern subject to implementation of the mitigation measures.
9. SEPA have raised a number of specific issues and keeping the same paragraph numbers as in their letter the Promoter confirms the following: -
10. Water Related Issu
1. SEPA's concerns relating to specific river/burn crossings will be addressed in an updated Code of Construction ("Updated Code"). This Updated Code will then be sent to SEPA for comments and worked up until and including the detailed design stage. A draft Updated Code incorporating SEPA's specific construction comments, and the Concept Landscape Design documents and plan will be prepared by the end of August 2004. The Final Updated Code will then be incorporated in the contract for the construction of the railway.
2. Where appropriate, the scheme design will consider soft engineering techniques for bank protection / strengthing / river alignment / bridge construction and consultation will be undertaken during the detailed design stage with SEPA.
3. The Promoter is aware of the Water Services Act 2003 and will apply for any necessary licence for the works under Regulations made thereunder.
4. The Promoter will consult with SEPA during the detailed design of the culverts to ensure best practice is adhered to.
5. The Promoter takes the prevention of water pollution very seriously and will address this matter in the Updated Code referred to above. The Promoter acknowledges and will comply with SEPA's pollution prevention guidelines.
6. The Promoter notes that a COPA consent may be required and will make the necessary application. The Promoter will incorporate SEPA's comments set out in Appendix 1 into the Updated Code.
7. SUDS will be incorporated into detailed design where practical.
8. The Promoter will comply with the Groundwater Directive and SEPA's Policy 19 "Groundwater Protection for Scotland" in so far as they relate to the railway.
9. The Promoter does not envisage any abstraction of water.
10. The Promoter was supplied with the river classification system used in the ES (9.4.1) by SEPA. Accordingly, the Promoter is raising this matter with SEPA to clarify their position.
12. The Promoter acknowledges SEPA's concerns regarding flooding and will engage with SEPA to scope site specific flood risk assessments.
Waste Related Issues
13. The Promoter will ensure that the disposal of any waste materials is carried out in accordance with Waste Management Licensing to either licensed or exempt sites. The Promoter will consult with SEPA on the issue of waste disposal and recycling of waste.
15.The Promoter will undertake an assessment of risk that contaminants pose or could pose to the development and the environment in line with PAN 33 and this requirement will be incorporated into the Updated Code.
19.Noted and it will be incorporated into the ES.
Nature Conservation Issues
20.The Promoter refers the Committee to their earlier response in relation to environmental mitigation In relation to the impact on the "Black Path", the Committee is referred to paragraphs 29 - 34 below.
Air Quality Issues
21.Noted and any mobile crushing plant will be appropriately licensed.
22.The Promoter will take into account any air quality reports referred to in Appendix 4 and update the map shown in section 6.33 of the ES.
SNH's Consultation Response
11. SNH confirms that they have no objection in principle to the reconstruction of the Waverley Line as presented in the ES but have a number of concerns relating to specific issues. In regard to SNH's concerns regarding the lack of detail, as previously reported in the Supplementary Memorandum at the time of publication of the ES the railway scheme was at a preliminary design stage . The Promoter will be consulting and engaging closely with SNH during the detailed design stage of this scheme.
12. The key areas of concern identified within the letter are:
- Content of the Environmental Statement and status of proposals;
- Information requirements of the Habitats Regulations and the River Tweed candidate Special Area of Conservation;
- Potential impact on European Protected Species; and
- Mitigation and monitoring proposals.
13. The Promoters comments relating to each of these key areas are set out below:-
Content of the ES and status of the proposal:
14. SNH are broadly in agreement with the findings of the Ecological Impact Assessment and that if all mitigation measures are implemented effectively the identified residual impacts will be low.
15. The EcIA surveys did include all working areas identified within the plans issued by the Promoter, with the exception of a small stretch of land whereby access was denied. However, the survey was adequately undertaken using binoculars as reported in the ES Section 8.2.1.
16. As stated within Supplementary Memorandum the Promoter is a responsible public body and will ensure that the necessary mitigation will be undertaken and maintained to minimise any significant impacts to the surrounding environment. The Concept Landscape Design is underway and will be complete at the end of August 2004. This will be circulated to SNH for comment. In respect of concerns which SNH may have on the adoption of mitigation measures the promoter refers the Committee to Answers 10.1-10.6 of the Supplementary Memorandum
River Tweed Candidate Special Area of Conservation
17. In respect of SNH's comments on this issue the Promoter refers the Committee to Answers 11.1-11.6 of the Supplementary Memorandum. Regarding the issues raised by SNH in their numbered paragraphs (keeping the same numbering) the Promoter comments as follows
1. Both the Water Resources ( ES-Section 9) and Ecology and Nature Conservation (ES-Section 8) conclude that there is potential for risk to the aquatic environment during construction, which also tallies with the EcIA. The conclusions within the Water Resources section of the ES (p 145) relate to the operational phase of the development and are therefore considering a separate issue entirely.
2. The potential impact on the River Tweed cSAC has been identified within the ES and at this stage it is considered unlikely that additional surveys would identify a significant change to the results within this document. The Promoter will however consult with SNH and seek agreement on this issue.
3. As stated in response to SEPA's comments on the same issue above where appropriate, the scheme design will consider soft engineering techniques for bank protection / strengthing / river alignment / bridge construction and consultation will be undertaken during the detailed design stage with SNHA.
European Protected Species
18. It is acknowledged within the ES that there are a number of European Protected Species along the proposed route of the railway which must be afforded special protection. Where appropriate the Promoter will apply for necessary licences. All appropriate mitigation measures and procedures will be undertaken to ensure no significant adverse impacts will occur to European Protected Species.
19. Within the annexe to SNH's letter there are a number of additional surveys which SNH have suggested be undertaken. The requirements for these will be fully discussed further with SNH.
Mitigation and monitoring Proposals
20. The Promoter supports the concept of an integrated mitigation plan, that interlinks the landscape design and existing habitats of nature conservation along the route. This will be developed further as the detailed design for the scheme progresses. Consultation with SNH during the detailed design will develop this further to ensure that the existing environment is not compromised as a result of the development
21. The Promoter also refers the Committee to Answers 9.1 -11.6 of the Supplementary Memorandum which answer the points raised by SNH.
Designated nature conservation sites and species protected under domestic legislation - Species receiving enhanced protection under UK legislation
22. The Promoter comments on the points raised by SNH as follows:-
23. As identified within the ES Section 8.7.2 additional surveys will be undertaken during the detailed design phase to inform the final design proposals.
24. Fala Flow Special Protection Area is approximately 3.5 km away from the proposed railway and therefore was not considered within the ES to result in a significant impact. This issue will be discussed further with SNH to identify their concerns.
25. A confidential Badger Report was issued to SNH on the 9th June 2004.
Landscape features of both ecological and aesthetic value
26. The proposed fencing proposals for the railway, were specified by the Promoter's engineers in order to meet the requirements of Health and Safety. Where appropriate in areas of increased fauna movement, the proposals were altered to include SNH's best practice fencing specifications to maintain the movement of fauna. This was an indicative concept and will be worked up in more detail with SNH.
27. A Concept Landscape Design is currently underway and will be available at the end of August 2004 as stated within the Supplementary Memorandum. The ES Section 8.10 acknowledges the railway line as a significant wildlife corridor and that the scheme will reduce the railway's effectiveness for this. However, the landscaping and habitat creation will go some considerable way to compensating for this loss by providing new, diverse habitats of local provenance that will have positive impacts on the local biodiversity in the long term.
28. The location of the GSMR masts will be considered during the detailed design phase as this is a national Network Rail programme. Further information is supplied within the Supplementary Memorandum.
29. Extensive stretches of the proposed rail line are currently used for access by foot or bicycle away from public roads. SNH have identified a number of concerns, which are as follows:
- permanent change upon the resources on which enjoyment of the natural heritage relies;
- the introduction of major constraints upon access to designated natural heritage sites; and
- permanent change to facilities of an extensive nature linking local disadvantaged communities to nationally significant access routes.
30. The location of the alternative permanent routes are provided within Figure 7.1 of the ES. The agreed diversion paths are proposed in Section 7.6.3 of the ES.
31. In addition to those paths proposed in Section 7.6.3 of the ES other permanent routes are currently being worked up by Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders Council and Esk Valley Trust in association with Railway Paths Ltd and Sustrans. Where appropriate, non public road solutions will be developed. These routes will be developed to ensure they are fully integrated with the appropriate access strategies and development plan policies for greenspace and access within both Council areas.
32. As stated above alternative pathways will be provided. As a result of these new pathways no significant severance impact will occur during both construction and operation, as stated in Section 7.7 of the ES.
33. During construction the temporary route diversions will be put in place by the contractor. The contractor will be encouraged to develop diversion routes that will provide as close a level of amenity as the permanent severed path.
34. Midlothian Council and Scottish Borders Council are dealing with the issue of community access to assist in the adoption of alternative transport modes for local journeys.