Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Environmental concerns for Pecket Well and surrounding area from 'industrial' waste plant
15,000 tons of waste per annum to be processed at expanded waste recycling plant
Residents of Pecket Well have expressed dismay this week to the HebWeb on learning at the eleventh hour about an Environmental Permit Application submitted by Far Shawcroft Farm to the Environment Agency. They claim that if the permit is granted, 15,000 tons of waste per annum could be shipped to the site and composted using a gigantic industrial shredder, causing serious noise pollution and disfiguring the landscape. A campaign is now underway to object to the permit, which it is alleged could have disastrous long-term environmental consequences for this "beautiful and once-tranquil part of Calderdale".
Apparently, protesters will need to act quickly as the official deadline for objections is Monday 26 November 2012.
It is claimed that Far Shawcroft Farm has been composting green waste on an increasingly vast scale on behalf of SITA (Calderdale Council's waste management contractors) for over 8 years. Those objecting told the HebWeb that there was no consultation with local residents before the waste processing plant was established, and it has grown considerably in recent years without independent monitoring or regulation. No effort has been made to inform local residents about the Environmental Permit and its implications, or to make people aware of their right to object.
Noise pollution from the shredder has badly affected some local residents in and around Pecket Well for the last 8 years. The shredder makes a high pitched whining and grinding noise which is extremely intrusive. When it is in full throttle the roar of the machine and the engine noise from the diggers shunting the waste can be heard for miles around. The position of the shredder out in the open on the crest of the hillside means that the noise reverberates across the valley.
It was as a result of complaints about noise pollution that news about the permit application came to light last week. If an Environmental Permit is issued, the shredding activities and noise may increase even further – currently up to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. The owners of the farm have stated in their permit application that the plant has no negative environmental impact and that there are no noise emissions, but this is disputed by residents within a mile radius of the site.
Protesters claim that processing waste on this scale is an industrial operation, not an agricultural activity. A large waste processing plant of this kind would arguably be better sited on an industrial estate closer to waste collection depots. While recycling is to be welcomed in principle, there is nothing 'green' or 'sustainable' about transporting green waste long distances by road in giant containers and polluting a rural environment.
One resident has sent the HebWeb a copy of his letter to the Environment Agency:
"I was completely unaware that Far Shawcroft Farm was acting as a
processing centre for waste from other locations, but considering the
size of the black mountains there and the fact that heavy machinery is
operating there for many, many hours each week, including Sundays, I'm
not at all surprised.
The noise when it's all flying along is extremely "industrial" and can
be heard right around the valley due to the exposed site of the "farm".
We have extra-thick double glazing, with a 25mm gap between the panes, yet the grinding, grating and whirring is still quite intrusive, even
though we live about half a mile way.
This area is a very beautiful blend of agricultural land, moorland and
woodland, and whilst we would expect to hear tractors and combine
harvesters occasionally, this kind of industrialisation is
ill-considered and badly located in my opinion, so I would like to lodge
my objection to the permit."
Objections to the permit application should be made in writing to the Environment Agency by Monday 26 November 2012 (or as soon as possible thereafter) quoting the following:
Environmental Permit Application Reference EPR/SP3590VE/A001 (EAWML 102355). Facility: Far Shawcroft Farm, Akroyd Lane, Wadsworth, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8TE.
Postal address: Environmental Permits Team, Permitting Support Centre, Environment Agency, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Parkway Business Park, Sheffield, S9 4WF.
Further background information
To complain about noise pollution: Environment Agency Incident Hotline: Freephone 0800 80 70 60
HebWeb Forum: Pecket Well waste processing plant