Shropshire Star

Filling station tanks under ground given go ahead for Ludlow

A move to put fuel tanks underground has been given the go-ahead, leaving the way open to start building a much-need second petrol station for a county town.


But the move is a controversial one as the £2.5 million filling station planned for Ludlow was originally given planning permission on the basis that its tanks would be above the water table, with a lower risk any leak or spillage could pollute the water courses around the site.

Now the Environment Agency has at long last said it is satisfied tanks under the ground would at the site on the corner of Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue would be acceptable, though it previously objected to the change in plans and stated in November that it was "minded to refuse" such a move.

The government body's change of tack follows a report submitted on behalf of developers Mead House Pension Fund that claimed the risk from underground tanks would be minimal.

A letter from Graeme Irwin, senior planning advisor with the Environment Agency, said risk assessments and modelling shown in the report "clearly demonstrate that a new petrol filling station with below ground tanks is acceptable within this site setting with the right mitigation in place.

"On the basis of the submitted detail we are satisfied that our objection... can be removed."

The long-awaited filling station was approved in May 2015, but the project has been beset by delays, including whether the tanks can be buried underground or not.

The station and 3,000 square foot convenience store is to be run by Applegreen and is expected to create about 20 jobs. It will be only the second filling station in Ludlow, and the town's only 24 hour one.

Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North and a member of the council's south planning committee, said he was not happy with the Environment Agency's climb down.

He said: "A second filling station for our town cannot come at any cost.

"Last November, Mead House applied to put the fuel tanks fully below ground to increase car parking spaces. I angrily described this move as a “betrayal”. This development, which could bring benefits to the town, is rapidly turning sour.

"I only gave my support for the project after an assurance that the fuel tanks would be above ground to minimise damage from any leakage.

"In its previous submission at the end of last year, the agency emphasised that the site is in a 'sensitive groundwater area'.

"As England’s environmental champion, the Environment Agency should have stuck to its principles and blocked this scheme." he said.

But the report on behalf of Mead House, by Duncan Cartwright of SLR consulting, says: “The likelihood of a fuel release to ground is very small and detection and monitoring systems would identify a release in a short period of time.”

The filling station will use double skinned tanks and real-time leak detection systems, complemented by a “groundwater monitoring network around the tank farm to enable monitoring of groundwater quality and recovery of fuel loss,” the report says.