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Information About Sterling-Pharma Cramlington, Licences held, complaints made against them & Out come of the complaints.

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Dear Environment Agency,

My self and Other residents of Northern terrace, Dudley, Cramlington, are often disturbed, at all hours of the day and night, by an "Air Raid " type alarm situated on the roof of the Sterling Pharma factory, Dudley Lane, Cramlington, Northumberland.
Over the last 3-4 years I have made COUNTLESS complaints to the Environment agency about what I considered to be false alarms, however, I now find that this alarm that I and others thought was to alert US of imminent danger, as in fact an Internal alarm to alert staff ON SITE of dangers such as Hot Water is leaking from a pipe, a sudden fall in ground temperature, over use of an air freshener, dust falling from a fan, a staff member allowing steam to accumulate near a sensor, or a leaking hose.

Under the freedom of Information act I ask,
1)
How many complaints have the Environment Agency received concerning Sterling Pharma in the last 5 years.?
2)
What action (If any) was taken?
3)
What hazardous materials handled by, Sterling Pharma are stored on site, and do these materials pose any threat to near by residents in the event of accidental release into the atmosphere or in the event of a fire?
4)
When you renew any licences held by Sterling Pharma, are you aware of the location of residential properties, close to the plant ?
5)
Are Sterling Pharma obliged to keep a log of the alarms, and how accurate is it?

Yours faithfully,

Jim Bainbridge, 2 Northern Terrace, Cramlington, NE23 7QJ.

Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

5 Attachments

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Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

Dear Jim,

I have passed your e-mail to the local customer team who will deal with your request.

The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations state that a public authority must respond to requests for information within 20 working days, but we aim to respond to all enquiries as quickly as we can.

You can find more information about our service commitment by clicking on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

You can contact our customer team directly on the contact details below, or call the National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506506 who will transfer you to the area team.

Please quote your enquiry reference 200904/GS36 in any correspondence with us regarding this matter.

Customers and Engagement
Environment Agency
North East Area
Tyneside House
Skinnerburn Road
Newcastle Business Park
NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE
NE4 7AR

Kind regards,

Graham Shoebridge
Customer Service Adviser
National Customer Contact Centre
Environment Agency
E Tel: 03708 506 506
T Web Site: www.gov.uk/environment-agency

Click an icon to keep in touch with us:-

show quoted sections

Northeast Newcastle, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

6 Attachments

Our Ref: 184194

Dear Mr Bainbridge

Enquiry regarding Sterling Pharma

 

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 1 September 2020.   

 

Explanatory Note

 

Having reviewed your correspondence, it would appear that your request is
a combination of general questions about our regulation and also the
information we hold.

 

To clarify, any request for information that we hold would fall under
either the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information
Regulations. General questions are not a request for information. If
appropriate we may consider questions as part of our routine
communications, but these questions will not be considered as information
law and tracked by our Customers and Engagement Team.

 

However for this initial request we thought it would be helpful to you if
we responded to your email as a whole. Any further questions regarding our
regulation of the site will be passed to our Installations North team for
consideration.  

 

1. How many complaints have the Environment Agency received concerning
Sterling Pharma in the last 5 years?

 

We have created a list of complaints from various data sets, but are still
checking for duplicates and missed entries. I’m sorry we can’t give this
information to you at this stage but we will provide this data as soon as
it has been verified.

2. What action (if any) was taken?

 

We investigate every complaint we receive about the site and have taken
the following actions:  

 

·         In 2017 we scored a breach of the Sterling Permit, because they
had caused offensive odour. This compliance breach resulted in an increase
of their annual subsistence fee of more than £1000.

 

·         In 2018 we scored a breach of the Sterling Pharma Permit,
because they had not maintained and replaced a sensor promptly so it
caused a series of alarms for the same reason. A score like this causes an
increase of their annual subsistence fee of more than £1000.

 

3. a) What hazardous materials handled by, Sterling Pharma are stored on
site,

 

The scope of this question is very broad as we do not have any single
document collating all our current data about hazardous materials for the
Sterling Pharma operation. We would not routinely require provision of
such an extensive single report from the operator as part of our
regulation.

 

Hazardous material is a very broad classification. For example many
materials handled and stored by Sterling Pharma are hazardous by direct
skin exposure, ingestion, or hazardous to the environment, but not to
public health. Medicines, waste oil, fluorescent tubes are all hazardous
materials.

 

The purpose of the FOI and EIR regulations is to ensure we provide
information, but not to cause us to generate bespoke reports which we do
not have and would not choose to create as part of our routine regulation.
We make fair efforts where the data can be presented in a concise report
easily (for example by filtering a large dataset in a spreadsheet to
provide only the data requested), but where the data is in numerous
discrete documents we could reasonably provide all these documents
separately if the workload to collate the data would be burdensome.

 

Following previous correspondence with you, we think that you may only be
concerned about hazardous materials that could have an impact upon your
safety in a major accident scenario. The materials which may pose a threat
to nearby residents should there be a major accident scenario are subject
to the COMAH regime.

 

This information is available online as Open Data.  Full details of
supporting information and licensing are available when you access the
data: [1]https://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/comah-estab.... Further
information on this data can be found below.

3. b) and do these materials pose any threat to nearby residents in the
event of accidental release into the atmosphere or in the event of a fire?

 

The materials which may pose a threat to nearby residents should there be
a major accident scenario are subject to the COMAH regime.

 

An explanation of the COMAH regime can be found here:
[2]https://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/comah-estab... with a
description of the risks and control measures.

 

You can search here
[3]https://notifications.hse.gov.uk/COMAH20... for site
specific information.

 

If you search for “Sterling” there’s a single return for the Dudley site:
[4]https://notifications.hse.gov.uk/COMAH20...
where a series of tabs allow you to access information about the Sterling
Pharma site.

 

Full details of supporting information and licensing are available when
you access the data.

 

Although the substances used or stored at COMAH establishments can be
dangerous, the establishments are strictly regulated under the COMAH
Regulations 2015 and have to manage their activities in a way which reduce
risks to workers and the public. Operators must take all measures
necessary to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for
people and the environment. This is achieved through appropriate plant
design, process control, mitigation measures and emergency procedures.

 

4. When you renew any licences held by Sterling Pharma, are you aware of
the location of residential properties, close to the plant?

 

We are aware of the surrounding environment to the Sterling Pharma
installation, including the location of any residential properties. We
have access to third party maps and data that show residential properties.
This means that every Environment Agency employee can find out about local
circumstances whenever we need to consider them.

 

There is no renewal process for an environment permit such as the one held
by Sterling Pharma. Once issued, a permit remains in place until either
the operator asks to surrender it or the Environment Agency revoke it.

 

5. a) Are Sterling Pharma obliged to keep a log of the alarms?

 

Although Sterling Pharma are not directly obliged to keep a log of alarms
as a formal condition of their permit, they are required to manage their
process acceptably. They chose to keep a log of the two main site alarms
after receiving public complaints. We think this is a sensible approach.
They are not required to provide copies of this log to the Environment
Agency, however we review it when visiting the site. Since Covid-19
restrictions have prevented us visiting the site recently, Sterling Pharma
has provided us with a copy of the 2020 alarm data up to July.

 

5. b) and how accurate is it?

 

We can’t audit the accuracy as we do not have a separate 24/7 permanent
record of noise from the site to compare with the log made by Sterling
Pharma. Until 2020 whenever we have received a complaint we have found an
associated record in the log. This year we have one discrepancy where a
complainant alleged alarm noise from the site and there was no associated
record of either of the two main site alarms sounding. There are other
sources of noise on the site and near to it.

We hope we have answered your query. Please see the Open Government
Licence ([5]here) for details of permitted use of this information. 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

We will be in touch shortly with the missing complaint data but please
don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries in the
meantime.

 

Kind regards

 

Gemma Loeland
Customers and Engagement Officer
Environment Agency | Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business
Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AR

[6][email address]
External: 02084746461
Working days: Monday to Wednesday
[7]03_twitter[8]01_facebook[9]02_youtube[10]04_flickr[11]05_linkedin

 

[12][IMG]

Environment Agency staff are working from home due to the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.  All staff can be contacted via e-mail or telephone
as usual.  Please accept our apologies in advance for any delays in our
service during this time, which we are minimising as much as possible. 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Northeast Newcastle, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

6 Attachments

Our ref: 184194

 

Dear Mr Bainbridge

 

Further to my email of 29 September, please find below the remaining
information with regards to your request.

 

1. How many complaints have the Environment Agency received concerning
Sterling Pharma in the last 5 years?

 

We have taken 5yrs to be all of 2015 to date:

 

·         4 complaints in 2015

·         1 complaint in 2016

·         5 complaints in 2017

·         7 complaints in 2018

·         4 complaints in 2019

·         8 complaints in 2020 (to date of request)

 

·         A total of 29

 

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in getting this
information to you.

Please see the Open Government Licence ([1]here) for details of permitted
use of this information. 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

Kind regards

 

Gemma Loeland
Customers and Engagement Officer
Environment Agency | Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business
Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AR

[2][email address]
External: 02084746461
Working days: Monday to Wednesday
[3]03_twitter[4]01_facebook[5]02_youtube[6]04_flickr[7]05_linkedin

 

[8][IMG]

Environment Agency staff are working from home due to the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.  All staff can be contacted via e-mail or telephone
as usual.  Please accept our apologies in advance for any delays in our
service during this time, which we are minimising as much as possible. 

 

 

 

 

From: Northeast Newcastle, Customer Contact
Sent: 29 September 2020 16:57
To: [FOI #688613 email]
Subject: Our ref: 184194 - Freedom of Information request - Information
About Sterling-Pharma Cramlington, Licences held, complaints made against
them & Out come of the complaints.

 

Our Ref: 184194

Dear Mr Bainbridge

Enquiry regarding Sterling Pharma

 

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 1 September 2020.   

 

Explanatory Note

 

Having reviewed your correspondence, it would appear that your request is
a combination of general questions about our regulation and also the
information we hold.

 

To clarify, any request for information that we hold would fall under
either the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information
Regulations. General questions are not a request for information. If
appropriate we may consider questions as part of our routine
communications, but these questions will not be considered as information
law and tracked by our Customers and Engagement Team.

 

However for this initial request we thought it would be helpful to you if
we responded to your email as a whole. Any further questions regarding our
regulation of the site will be passed to our Installations North team for
consideration.  

 

1. How many complaints have the Environment Agency received concerning
Sterling Pharma in the last 5 years?

 

We have created a list of complaints from various data sets, but are still
checking for duplicates and missed entries. I’m sorry we can’t give this
information to you at this stage but we will provide this data as soon as
it has been verified.

2. What action (if any) was taken?

 

We investigate every complaint we receive about the site and have taken
the following actions:  

 

·         In 2017 we scored a breach of the Sterling Permit, because they
had caused offensive odour. This compliance breach resulted in an increase
of their annual subsistence fee of more than £1000.

 

·         In 2018 we scored a breach of the Sterling Pharma Permit,
because they had not maintained and replaced a sensor promptly so it
caused a series of alarms for the same reason. A score like this causes an
increase of their annual subsistence fee of more than £1000.

 

3. a) What hazardous materials handled by, Sterling Pharma are stored on
site,

 

The scope of this question is very broad as we do not have any single
document collating all our current data about hazardous materials for the
Sterling Pharma operation. We would not routinely require provision of
such an extensive single report from the operator as part of our
regulation.

 

Hazardous material is a very broad classification. For example many
materials handled and stored by Sterling Pharma are hazardous by direct
skin exposure, ingestion, or hazardous to the environment, but not to
public health. Medicines, waste oil, fluorescent tubes are all hazardous
materials.

 

The purpose of the FOI and EIR regulations is to ensure we provide
information, but not to cause us to generate bespoke reports which we do
not have and would not choose to create as part of our routine regulation.
We make fair efforts where the data can be presented in a concise report
easily (for example by filtering a large dataset in a spreadsheet to
provide only the data requested), but where the data is in numerous
discrete documents we could reasonably provide all these documents
separately if the workload to collate the data would be burdensome.

 

Following previous correspondence with you, we think that you may only be
concerned about hazardous materials that could have an impact upon your
safety in a major accident scenario. The materials which may pose a threat
to nearby residents should there be a major accident scenario are subject
to the COMAH regime.

 

This information is available online as Open Data.  Full details of
supporting information and licensing are available when you access the
data: [9]https://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/comah-estab.... Further
information on this data can be found below.

3. b) and do these materials pose any threat to nearby residents in the
event of accidental release into the atmosphere or in the event of a fire?

 

The materials which may pose a threat to nearby residents should there be
a major accident scenario are subject to the COMAH regime.

 

An explanation of the COMAH regime can be found here:
[10]https://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/comah-estab... with a
description of the risks and control measures.

 

You can search here
[11]https://notifications.hse.gov.uk/COMAH20... for site
specific information.

 

If you search for “Sterling” there’s a single return for the Dudley site:
[12]https://notifications.hse.gov.uk/COMAH20...
where a series of tabs allow you to access information about the Sterling
Pharma site.

 

Full details of supporting information and licensing are available when
you access the data.

 

Although the substances used or stored at COMAH establishments can be
dangerous, the establishments are strictly regulated under the COMAH
Regulations 2015 and have to manage their activities in a way which reduce
risks to workers and the public. Operators must take all measures
necessary to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for
people and the environment. This is achieved through appropriate plant
design, process control, mitigation measures and emergency procedures.

 

4. When you renew any licences held by Sterling Pharma, are you aware of
the location of residential properties, close to the plant?

 

We are aware of the surrounding environment to the Sterling Pharma
installation, including the location of any residential properties. We
have access to third party maps and data that show residential properties.
This means that every Environment Agency employee can find out about local
circumstances whenever we need to consider them.

 

There is no renewal process for an environment permit such as the one held
by Sterling Pharma. Once issued, a permit remains in place until either
the operator asks to surrender it or the Environment Agency revoke it.

 

5. a) Are Sterling Pharma obliged to keep a log of the alarms?

 

Although Sterling Pharma are not directly obliged to keep a log of alarms
as a formal condition of their permit, they are required to manage their
process acceptably. They chose to keep a log of the two main site alarms
after receiving public complaints. We think this is a sensible approach.
They are not required to provide copies of this log to the Environment
Agency, however we review it when visiting the site. Since Covid-19
restrictions have prevented us visiting the site recently, Sterling Pharma
has provided us with a copy of the 2020 alarm data up to July.

 

5. b) and how accurate is it?

 

We can’t audit the accuracy as we do not have a separate 24/7 permanent
record of noise from the site to compare with the log made by Sterling
Pharma. Until 2020 whenever we have received a complaint we have found an
associated record in the log. This year we have one discrepancy where a
complainant alleged alarm noise from the site and there was no associated
record of either of the two main site alarms sounding. There are other
sources of noise on the site and near to it.

We hope we have answered your query. Please see the Open Government
Licence ([13]here) for details of permitted use of this information. 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

We will be in touch shortly with the missing complaint data but please
don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries in the
meantime.

 

Kind regards

 

Gemma Loeland
Customers and Engagement Officer
Environment Agency | Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business
Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AR

[14][email address]
External: 02084746461
Working days: Monday to Wednesday
[15]03_twitter[16]01_facebook[17]02_youtube[18]04_flickr[19]05_linkedin

 

[20][IMG]

Environment Agency staff are working from home due to the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.  All staff can be contacted via e-mail or telephone
as usual.  Please accept our apologies in advance for any delays in our
service during this time, which we are minimising as much as possible. 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are James Bainbridge please sign in and let everyone know.