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The BBC Inside Out programme - the real position

25 February 2013

BBC Inside Out Programme – the real position
Thank you for visiting our website to find out more.  Here is fuller detail to put in context the broadcast from Monday 25th February

As a responsible, family-owned company, Plevin is keen to reassure residents following an item on regional BBC TV linking our wood recycling operations to alleged health problems in Mossley.
The content concerning Plevin was based on groundless claims made by members of a small local action group with other agendas.
We want to assure the local community that we operate entirely within the law in an extremely heavily regulated industry. Environmental considerations are at the forefront of all our operations and these spurious allegations are completely unfounded.


Background to the programme
Plevin made strong protests to the BBC production team in the weeks running up to the programme. We expressed our deep concern to its producer and its managing editor, saying we believed it was unfair of the BBC to put the spotlight on Plevin in a general debate about World Health Organisation air quality monitoring standards, especially when Plevin had been proven to have done nothing wrong.
We told them that we believed it was highly unprofessional of the BBC to base its story and give airtime to the unfounded and unproven health claims of a small local action group with other agendas.
Example of a previous campaign against Plevin by this group
In late 2011, the same group issued a press release to a variety of media, including the BBC, in which it made similar allegations.
Plevin was concerned that the claims could cause considerable damage to the good name and reputation of our business.
We were left with no alternative but to instruct solicitors to ask the group to recall the comments and never to repeat them.  The group was forced to recall them.
We were therefore surprised when, in early 2013, based on these same allegations, the BBC informed us it had chosen to highlight our business as part of a general debate about whether World Health Organisation air quality standards should be lowered.
Plevin’s clean bill of health
Exhaustive surveys by statutory regulatory bodies such as the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Environment Agency (EA) have proved that air quality standards in Mossley are well within safe limits.
Indeed the Health Protection Agency has pointed out that the average PM2.5 (particulate matter) concentration found in the vicinity of Plevin over a five month monitoring period was 8.2 μg/m3 - which is consistent with similar environments and lower than the average for UK cities as a whole (13 µg/m3).
To put that in a Europe-wide context, EC member states are expected to ensure that the annual average concentration of PM2.5 does not exceed 25 μg/ m3 and the current proposal is to reduce that to a maximum of 20 μg/ m3. Therefore should the ceiling be lowered by the EC, the air quality in the vicinity of Plevin will still be well within the quality standards.
In a statement the HPA said: “Particulate matter in ambient air arises from numerous sources including road traffic and industrial sources. The Environment Agency undertook monitoring in the vicinity of Plevin (7th September 2011 to 12th January 2012) and found the mean PM2.5 concentration over the monitoring period to equal 8.2 μg/m3.

This PM2.5 measurement includes emissions from Plevin as well as other sources such as road traffic and is broadly comparable with typical background levels of ambient air pollution in the UK.
To put these values into context, the typical annual mean PM2.5 concentrations at background locations in major cities in the UK is around 13 µg/m3. Based on reported levels during this monitoring period, we would expect the risk from air pollution to local residents in the vicinity of Plevin to be low and comparable to risks from typical background ambient air pollution elsewhere in the UK.
Across Europe,Member States are expected to ensure that the annual average concentration of PM2.5 does not exceed 25 μg/m3. EU legislation also aims to reduce the levels of PM2.5 to which the population is exposed and as a result each Member State should achieve an Exposure Concentration Obligation (ECO) of no more than 20 μg/m3 averaged nationally across background sites in major urban centres over 3 years.”

No reported problems from health professionals
Furthermore, no health professionals, such as GPs, in the area have ever reported any elevated health problems.
Our dust emissions are well within limits
The Environment Agency (EA) carried out dust surveys in October 2009 and March 2010. Plevin itself has been carrying out continuous dust monitoring since November 2005.  The results of all dust surveys have shown that our site is operating well within the conditions of our environmental permit.  The permit is a legal document that lays down strict conditions about dust and noise emissions from the site.
Latest independent dust testing also exonerated Plevin
In Autumn 2011, we welcomed a decision by the Environment Agency to carry out continuous dust monitoring using the latest equipment capable of detecting smaller dust particles if they are present in the air.  We saw it as a means of proving finally that there were no problems with dust emissions at Plevin.
The air monitoring was amongst the most rigorous and in-depth ever carried out in the Mossley area.
A mobile monitoring facility (MMF) was deployed by the EA near Miller Hey in Mossley for three to four months, close to the homes of residents who had expressed concerns over air quality..
The hi-tech equipment took air samples continuously in real time and monitored levels of polluting air particles.
 
This equipment produces detailed information about air quality at a specific location, giving the EA evidence to find a potential source of pollution.  
The results of this independent study completely exonerated Plevin, so we cannot understand why the action group continues to complain about our operations.
Our attitude to the community
Plevin has been entirely transparent and open with members of the action group from the start, and have sought to address their concerns.
We are also more than willing to engage with other members of the community who want to find out more about us.
Thank you
Thank you for taking the time to read our side of this issue.  We appreciate your interest.  
Plevin is an open company that works hard to be a responsible business and a good neighbour.  
If you would like any further information, please contact Jamie Plevin, owner and managing director.  He or one of his senior managers will be pleased to respond to your query.