Thornton recycling plant work is backed despite furore

Areal shot of the new waste recycling plant at Thornton.
Areal shot of the new waste recycling plant at Thornton.

Changes are to be made to a recycling plant in Thornton in a bid to improve working conditions at the site.

An application was made to Lancashire County Council to increase the height of a chimney and amend an air extraction and filtering system at Lancashire Waste Recycling in Thornton.

The authority’s development control committee heard the current situation meant there was often a build-up of heat during peak hours, “making the working conditions difficult” at the waste transfer and processing site.

Councillors were told the current extraction system dealt only with dust and odour, but the proposed new system, including dust collectors, fans and ducting, would also tackle the issue of a build-up of heat, to improve conditions and “future-proof the operations”.

Fears were raised over the impact of smells from the site on the nearby Cala Gran Caravan Park, but the plans were given the green light.

A report to the committee said: “The amended air extraction system would enable greater control over the internal conditions of the building.

“To do this, it is necessary to bring more fresh air into the building than is possible with the current system.”

But objections had been raised from neighbours and representatives from the caravan park, raising fears over odours.

Speaking at the meeting, independent county councillor Paul Hayhurst, who represents Fylde West, said the caravan site was “crucial to the tourism of the area”, and said a system needed to be implemented to control odours.

He added: “I find this unacceptable”.

The report said objections had been raised by Wyre Council, neighbours and Cala Gran Caravan Park.

Highlighting some of the issues raised by the caravan site, it said: “The proposed extraction system could potentially represent a significant improvement compared to the existing system in terms of odour emissions from the facility. “However without odour abatement technology fitted to the extraction system, it is extremely unlikely that the proposed system will reduce the odour impacts upon nearby sensitive receptors such as Cala Gran Holiday Park.”

It raised concerns that, without specific technology, “the amenity of Cala Gran Holiday Park’s visitors would continue to be negatively impacted upon”.

The report said: “To control odour, the applicant advises that the air from the existing system will be able to be passed through the carbon filter (odour abatement system) contained in the shipping container at times of extraordinary high odour.

“Air from the new line will have no specific odour abatement.”

Further objections from neighbours included concerns around noise, and the visual impact of a taller chimney.

It was proposed that the application be deferred to look into odour abatement technology and a carbon filter system, but the vote was lost.

County Coun Barrie Yates said: “To defer this again would be an injustice to the people that work there, and to the firm.”

County Coun Terry Aldridge also described the conditions within the plant as “awful”.

Following the discussions, the application was approved with conditions.

Permission was granted to amend the existing air extraction and filtration system, consisting of replacing a 16.6m chimney with a 25m one, three dust collectors, three fans, cyclones, ducting and relocating a container housing a carbon filter unit.