Subject: London Southend Airport: Environmental Permit Application – Ref EPR/HB3790ND/A001
I write to object in the strongest terms to Environment Permit Application EPR/HB3790ND/A001 submitted to the Environment Agency by London Southend Airport. Granting this application will permit the airport to discharge up to 360 cubic metres of deicing chemicals into local watercourses each day.
I understand from the application documents that the chemical to be used is potassium acetate. According to the Environment Agency’s own “Pollution Prevention Technical Information note” (a copy of which is at http://www.seefoe.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/PPTI_De_Icer1.pdf), potassium acetate has a low toxicity, but degrades in water causing low oxygen levels “which kills fish and causes water quality problems.”
Eastwood Brook runs through the western side of the airport and Prittle Brook is just to the east. It is unacceptable for the airport to be allowed to pollute these streams, which both feed into the River Roach and the Crouch beyond that. The local fishing industry relies on these rivers and polluting them would impact the human food chain.
I note that separate provision is being made by the airport to capture and dispose of de-icers used on aircraft. They should be made to similarly capture and treat all run-off from the runway and taxiways. It is unacceptable for the airport to be allowed to put anything other than clean water into the local water courses and, indeed, the ground. I appreciate that it is likely to cost more money for the airport to manage its waste water properly, but that is no excuse for not doing so.
Drainage at Southend Airport is currently inadequate. I attach a couple of photos taken at the airport boundary by St Laurence Church during a rainstorm since the runway was extended. I believe they were taken on 3rd January 2012. These show substantial volumes of water gushing from airport land into the public highway. It is clear that the airport is not managing surface water properly and sufficient drainage provision must be made, ensuring that any water that may be contaminated with de-icing or other industrial chemicals is captured, treated and disposed of safely.
Please reject the Environmental Permit Application and work with the airport to ensure that in future, they handle chemical waste responsibly and resolve the lack of proper drainage.