Northamptonshire plastic recycling plant approved despite air quality concerns.

County councillors have approved controversial plans for a plastic recycling plant in Northamptonshire, despite concerns raised about air quality and opposition from the local MP.

MP Peter Bone: opposed the plastic recycling plant
MP Peter Bone: opposed the plastic recycling plant

Yesterday, Northamptonshire County Council’s development control committee voted to allow applicant Energy Roots to build the facility to the east of the town of Rushden, on a 1.9 hectare site currently used to recycle rubber tyres.

The new plant would handle up to 75,000 tonnes of waste a year and consists of a plastic storage area, processing shed, control room and laboratory, fire pump house, plus silos, boilers and a waste water treatment plant.

However, the scheme is opposed by Wellingborough and Rushden Conservative MP Peter Bone, who said he had lobbied the Prime Minister on the proposal.

According to the officers' report to councillors, objections were also expressed by East Northamptonshire Council, local parish councils, and campaign group Residents Against Inappropriate Developments "regarding the potential impact of the development upon air quality and the risk to health".

In addition, it said "102 letters of representation have been received from local residents objecting to the proposed development".

However, officers said: "The development has been assessed against the waste management criteria in…the (Northamptonshire) Minerals and Waste Local Plan and found to be acceptable. Therefore, it has been found that the principle of the development is acceptable."

The plant still needs a permit from the Environment Agency, which raised no objections to the application.

Public Health England also raised "no objection or significant concerns regarding any risk to the health of the local population from the proposed development".

The officers' report concluded that "there are no significant adverse air quality impacts that from a land use planning perspective that would preclude the operation of this development at this particular location".

But the planners acknowledged that the proposal would "introduce new built development that will have a negative impact on local landscape character", and that the "overall landscape and visual amenity impact is negative and should be afforded weight against the proposed development".

Reacting to the decision on the BBC website, Bone said: "I was astonished that there was no mention of the 900,000 litres of fuel that could potentially be stored at the site, especially when there's no fire service in the area."

"I went to Downing Street this week with a letter of my concerns, to ensure that we are not guinea pigs here," he added.

"This proposal is unacceptable for me and for my constituents."

Last month, plans were refused for an energy-from-waste plant in Cambridgeshire due to concerns over its landscape and heritage impacts, against a recommendation from planners.

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