Homes refused to safeguard waste operation

Concerns over odour impacts on future occupiers’ living conditions have led to refusal of plans for 58 flats on land next to a waste processing site in Newcastle.

400-026-420 (Image Credit: Newcastle-upon-Tyne Council)
400-026-420 (Image Credit: Newcastle-upon-Tyne Council)

The mechanical and biological waste transfer station (WTS), an undisputed known source of odour, was the main facility for the city’s municipal waste collection service and processed large amounts of household, commercial and industrial waste under an Environment Agency permit. The appeal site, which was identified as a potential location for new homes in an area action plan, lay directly downwind of this facility.

The appellants proposed to develop only one end of the site for housing, claiming that this area was less affected than the section nearest the waste facility. But the inspector accepted findings from the council’s odour assessment that the whole site was likely to be moderately affected from time to time and this factor, along with objections from the Environment Agency and the WTS operators, led him to conclude that the site was not appropriate for the proposed use. 

The agency pointed to a significant spike in the number of complaints about odour from the WTS within a one-kilometre radius. This was corroborated by the council’s waste management section, which stated that this spike came despite efforts to control odours at the waste site. The inspector noted that the WTS had capacity to operate more intensively and that the operators wanted flexibility to work longer hours should requirements and targets change.

Drawing all these matters together, he was unable to rule out the possibility that future occupiers of the proposed flats could be exposed to harmful odour effects from the WTS. He concluded that granting permission for the flats could result in further complaints against the WTS that could result in costly measures for its operators, disadvantaging the business and potentially prejudicing the council’s essential waste management and recycling infrastructure and services.

Inspector: Adrian Caines; Written representations


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