Neighbours unhappy as 24-hour operation of waste site approved

Coun Julie Foster, ward member for Stakeford.
Coun Julie Foster, ward member for Stakeford.

Nearby residents were left angry after changes at a Northumberland waste plant, which will allow 24-hour operation, were given the green light.

The variation of conditions for the Remondis JBT site on the Barrington Industrial Estate, between Choppington and Bedlington Station, will also see a second weighbridge installed.

It means that the site can operate 24 hours a day within the two main buildings, to allow the recovery of waste to take place more slowly, increasing the amount that is recovered and reducing what goes to landfill.

A previous bid had been refused as it would have extended the hours for vehicles entering and leaving the site as well, but that has now been dropped.

Nonetheless, a number of people in attendance were clearly not happy as the changes were unanimously approved at Tuesday’s (August 7) meeting of the county council’s strategic planning committee.

County councillor for the area, Julie Foster, said: “Residents are supportive of local jobs and recycling, except when it affects their quality of life in their homes and gardens.

“Twenty-four-hour working can only result in an increase in dust so there’s going to be no relief.”

However, Remondis director Steve Patterson said ‘extensive modelling’ had shown that neighbours won’t be affected by noise and dust, and regular monitoring takes place to ensure the firm is within the permitted limits.

Moving approval, Coun Trevor Thorne said: “Domestic residences and business premises are never good bedfellows, but as an established business, the county council has a responsibility to monitor and react to complaints.

“It’s an industrial site and there aren’t many residences close to this site. Noise and dust monitoring are crucial and I hope we are rigorous to ensure that residences in this area are kept as safe, noise-free and dust-free as possible.”

Coun Gordon Castle added: “If I was a resident, I would be very concerned about night-time noise. Their concerns are legitimate and they feel that noise and dust will be increased, but the opinion of our officer is that it’s acceptable.”

Coun Ian Swithenbank said: “I spoke against it strongly last time because of the traffic movements and they have modified it. The reality is that nearby residents wish the site was never approved in the first place but we can’t change that.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service