Nichola Dixon

Nichola is a Chartered Scientist and Director of her own consultancy, NJD Environmental Associates, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Her technical area of expertise is environmental health, specifically air quality, dust, odour, lighting, noise and vibration and dealing with these issues for planning applications and environmental permits. 

Nichola started her consultancy business with her former colleague in 2017, having previously worked together for a multi disciplinary environmental and engineering consultancy.  Previous to this, Nichola served seven years in the Royal Air Force as an Environmental Health Technician.  Her environmental health experience gave her the background knowledge necessary to cross over to environmental consultancy. 

During her employment within consultancy, Nichola has learnt how to use noise modelling software to predict noise levels and also to design noise mitigation measures and determine the effectiveness of such measures. She also uses air quality modelling software to determine the increase in road traffic emissions associated with proposed development and the impact of this on receptors and the local air quality. 

Nichola chose to become a member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Air Quality Management as she feels this demonstrates to her clients and others that she has a recognised professional status within her areas of expertise. She gained Chartered Scientist status through the IES in 2016.

“The IES  allows me to keep up to date with professional development and provides regular useful journals and the holding of events that ensure that I remain current with new guidance and research."

Nichola enjoys her job due to the diversity of the projects, both in the office and undertaking assessments on site:

“Each day is different!  I can be modelling road traffic noise for a proposed residential development in the morning and by the afternoon be assessing the dust impact from a surface coal mine in Scotland.  It really is a very varied job... NJD Environmental Associates have expertise in many environmental health issues including air quality, dust, odour, lighting, noise and vibration, so we can assist our clients with a planning application in a number of technical areas.”

One interesting project Nichola has been involved with was undertaking noise and odour impact assessments for a proposed residential development to be located next to an existing compost site.  She was required to undertake noise monitoring during composting operations at the proposed site to determine the noise levels experienced from shredding and tromelling activities and establish whether complaints would be likely at the proposed site.  Noise mitigation measures were advised and the potential for odour from the compost site to impact at the proposed residential development was also considered for the planning application. This was particularly interesting as this was the first project Nichola had undertaken using the newly published odour guidance methodology and also the first time Nichola had considered bioaerosol emissions as part of an assessment.  Now that she has this experience, Nichola hopes to be able to assist future clients who may require similar technical input at the planning stage.

Over the last few years Nichola has seen an increase noise and air quality assessments being requested by local authorities to validate planning applications.

“Noise and air quality impacts are becoming increasingly significant at the planning stage due to the recognised health, nuisance and ecological effects they may have on receptors at a local level, but also potentially regionally and even globally. I therefore aim to ensure that I assist our clients by working with environmental health officers within local authorities, to ensure that proposed developments take into consideration these environmental and health issues appropriately and in accordance with relevant guidance.”

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