Fleetwood waste plant to process household rubbish as well as industrial material

A waste processing plant in Fleetwood has been given the green light to accept household rubbish as well as the industrial material for which it already has permission.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:08 pm

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee approved the change to the operation of the Burn Hall waste transfer station on Venture Road in the town.

The plant currently sorts industrial waste and extracts any recyclable elements, while residual plastic material is recovered for use as solid fuel in the cement industry as an alternative to coal.

However, members heard concern from Cleveleys East county councillor Andrea Kay, who sits on the committee, and said that plastic from the facility ends up “all over Thornton and Cleveleys”.

Burn Hall Industrial Estate, Fleetwood (image: Google Earth)

“We’ve got two caravan parks [and] a children’s farm [nearby] – and everything has got all this plastic all over. It’s not acceptable…they should look after the environment…we all live in.

“If there [are] plastic balls that they’ve produced from their waste…all over the road, then there is something wrong. Officers from Wyre [Council] have to go out on a regular basis and tell them to clean up the muck,” said County Cllr Kay.

She added that the doors on the unit should be kept closed to prevent the plastic escaping and also to stop any smell being emitted, something which she said was also the subject of complaints from locals.

However, papers presented to the committee stated that a new air extraction and odour treatment system was installed in 2017, enabling the air volume of the building to be changed three times every hour – and so providing much better control of odour emissions.

Principal planning officer Jonathan Haine said that the measures appeared to have been “largely effective”, given that a previous planning application in relation to the site in 2014 had generated objections from those within the vicinity, whereas the change now being proposed had attracted none.

He added: “A radar device…detects when [a] vehicle approaches [and then] the doors go up, the vehicle goes in and the doors close up after it’s passed through.

“Due to the way the air ventilation system works, when the doors are open, the air gets drawn into the building, so there is no odour escape during that time – the air in the building gets vented through the [odour treatment] filters and then through the stack.”

Committee member Barrie Yates said that the contents of household waste – including nappies – basically amounted to anything that would not be put down a domestic toilet and so was a “complete move” away from the industrial waste currently being processed at the site.

However, the meeting heard that industrial rubbish could also contain the type of food waste that would be likely to form part of the new mix of material accepted by the facility – and that the plant already had an Environment Agency permit allowing for the importation of household waste. That permit also contains a condition requiring emissions to be “free from odour at levels likely to cause pollution outside of the site”.

After a lengthy debate about the operation of the doors on the unit, committee chair Matthew Maxwell-Scott warned that members were in danger of speculating “as to what might be a problem”.

“I’m not sure we’ve seen in the officers’ recommendations or the papers…that these are problems,” he added.

The application – which will not change the volume of waste treated at the plant – was approved.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted site operator Lancashire Waste Recycling after the meeting for comment on the issues raised during the committee’s deliberations.