Campaigners in Garston have secured a major victory after controversial plans to expand a waste management site in the area were put on hold.
Proposals had been put forward by Veolia UK to install two further 30m high towers for the management of hazardous waste at an industrial site on Blackburne Street. The location has operated as a lower-tier control of major accident hazards (COMAH) plant since 2000 and the two new towers would expand its capacity by a further 28,000 tonnes.
However, members of Liverpool Council’s planning committee felt they did not have enough information to make a decision on the plans and have deferred a final call ahead of a crucial site visit.
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The plant currently operates 24/7 with a capacity to process 42,000 tonnes of hazardous solvent waste per year. Of this, 32,000 is dealt with by way of fractional distillation towers. Veolia UK wants to add a further two of these towers and associated access platforms.
This was not welcomed by residents, who made their feelings clear to the planning department with 118 letters of objection. More than half a dozen local people also made themselves known during a heated committee meeting today.
They included Mark Johnson, who lives nearby. He said he didn’t know how the committee could reach an informed decision without first visiting the site.
Sylvia McLeod added: “We don’t want this on our own door, we don’t want this at all. We’re fearful for our children.”
Veolia officials told councillors how the site is strategically important for hazardous waste on a national level as a means of handling and recycling material which is otherwise difficult to handle. It primarily deals with distillation of organic solvents from waste mixtures which are brought in by road.
The planning report said the move to install two additional towers would lead to an additional nine vehicles entering and exiting the site a day. This was rejected by residents.
Gary Woollam, who has campaigned tirelessly against the plans, said: “We are a community that was promised regeneration. What we’ve got here is god knows how many lorries coming in and out of an area with only one way in.”
Despite objection letters being received claiming the towers would be an “eyesore” officials said it was “not considered that the proposal would cause any significant additional visual impact upon the surrounding area.” Additionally concerns were dismissed regarding pollution, noise and air quality.
Planning officers recommended the plans be approved but concerns were raised by a number of councillors calling for proposals to be put on hold pending a visit to the site and further information.