Fernbank Mill is home to an active precast concrete plant.  When the owner of the plant put in a planning application to build residential housing within the boundaries of his site, concerns were raised over the impact of dust from the plant.


Miller Goodall was brought in by the developer to provide an air quality assessment in relation to the outline planning application, considering the suitability of the site for residential use with regard to local air quality. We were also asked to investigate the potential local air impacts associated with traffic generated by the development.

Fernbank Mill Case Study Miller Goodall


The contribution of the plant to dust and particulate matter (PM) levels at the application site was measured over a two month period using a DustScan DS100-D passive directional dust gauge and an Osiris particulate matter monitor.

In the DustScan, airborne dust is trapped on a 360° sticky pad. The pad is then analysed in 15° segments to provide an indication of the direction from which the dust is travelling. The Osiris was used to provide measurements of PM10 in the atmosphere. We collected and replaced the DustScan sampling pads at regular intervals and analysed the results produced by both the DustScan and Osiris monitor.

Action and outcome

The impact of traffic emissions on local air quality generated by the proposed development was considered to be insignificant. It was also found that there was no evidence of dust or PM levels being an issue at the site of the new dwelling. However, since there was potential for unexpected emissions to affect the properties, some mitigation was recommended. Our assessment concluded that there was no reason why this application should not be allowed on the grounds of air quality, with appropriate mitigation.

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