Fears of a ‘fly infestation’, traffic issues and damage to wildlife and business have been re-ignited as plans for a compost waste facility in Ashington were put back on the table.
Concerns raised at a parish council meeting on Thursday (September 5) also surrounded potential health issues and the smell which residents claim could come with 40,000 tonnes of green waste every year at the proposed site at Broadbridge Farm in Hole Street.
The company, Olus, had originally submitted a planning application for the facility back in May 2010, but withdrew it in December to address a number of concerns.
“It beggars belief that they would have another go at it when there was such huge opposition before,” said Nina Garrard, 39, of North Lane.
“From an environmental point it is wrong at all levels - we’ve got noise pollution, water pollution and personal health issues.”
Along with a composting facility, the firm is seeking permission for a site office, staff car park, tipping shed, storage area and an access road via the A24 southbound carriageway.
Waste would be brought from around 70,000 homes in West Sussex and Surrey.
Olus says it has made a number of changes to the application since 2010 including reducing the scale of the development, reducing the throughput of green waste, revising the location of the access road, minimising environmental impacts by
covering compost and
removing the wood chipping facility.
But villagers are not convinced. Jennifer Naldrett, 63, said land near the proposed site used by children ‘is going to be unusable by health standards’.
“There are going to be health issues for all of us. The smell will affect all businesses.
“It’s got to be stopped it really has.”
Peter Grace, chairman of the Ashington Residents’ Association, branded the news ‘unbelievable’.
“We’re looking at huge lorries coming through every 15 minutes,” he said.
“The roads will just become a mess. And up in the West Midlands everyone was saying they had a fly infestation.”
Olus says no traffic will pass through the village - but road safety is a huge concern for many residents.
Peter Tyler, 53, of North Lane, explained: “One of the major issues is the lorry movements and where they’re going.
“They will be using the A24 slip road - this is a major accident black spot. We must get together and strongly oppose this application.”
He told parish councillors: “I would expect you to do your utmost to try to stop it.”
His wife, Carol, added: “This is going to do nothing but bring health problems to Ashington.”
One of the key changes Olus has made to its application is the use of a semi-permeable membrane to cover compost in a bid to reduce emissions.
Horsham district councillor Roger Arthur (UKIP, Chanctonbury), said during the meeting: “Whilst the safe distance from the site has been taken as 250 metres, there is strong evidence that the health of people living 500 metres or more away
can be seriously affected
“Thus, if a need is established then surely the facility should be at a remote site, with adequate road access and not just 250 metres from the edge of a village with almost 3,000 residents.”
He added there were some ‘serious concerns about the impact of bioaerosols on the health of humans and animals, adjacent to composting sites’.
“It is clear that odour - and possibly noise - will also present a significant nuisance and will pervade the village for significant periods of time.”
Ashington Parish Council members voted unanimously to oppose the plans last week.
For the full story, including comments from Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and a statement from Olus, see this week’s County Times.
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