700 back campaign against Brierley Hill waste plant

More than 700 people have backed a campaign against a waste recycling plant ahead of a decision on a permit application for the site.

Clear Power has applied to the Environment Agency for a permit to operate the plant at the former Brierley Hill Steel Terminal off Moor Street in the town.

Following the end of a month-long consultation by the agency, campaign group Say No tO Waste (SNOW) say they have forwarded 707 letters of objection to the agency.

The group has also sent a map showing up to 600 homes, including up to 2,000 residents, it claims will be at risk from nuisance odours if the planned plant was built.

Although the Environment Agency said the plant could result in odour when plans were first lodged, Clean Power has always stated the plant will not cause a smell.

However, in a submission to the Environment Agency, members of SNOW are calling for talks to be opened with the director of public heath at Dudley Council about the impact of odour.

They claim exposure to people living as close as 75 feet to the plant could cause coughing, wheezing or other breathing problems. They have also called for a survey to be carried out on noise levels in the area.

SNOW spokesman Timothy Lee said: "During the consultation process, the Environment Agency sent out 700 letters to local residents affected by the proposals.

"Before the consultation closed, SNOW passed to the agency the written responses of 707 residents, all opposed to the grant of a permit."

He added: "Risks to health and well-being arising from offensive odours were cited - with a primary school so close to the site, as well as houses and flats only a few metres away.

"Residents also made the point that anaerobic digesters have a high recorded rate of catastrophic failure.

"With the planned facility in the middle of such a densely populated area, the risk to local families and children would be far too high in the event of such a failure."

The plant will process 195,000 tons of mixed waste each year and create 30 jobs. It will generate enough electricity to power up to 10,000 homes a year.

Clean Power submitted a planning application to Dudley Council last year. It was turned down by councillors in October, but an appeal was launched and a planning inquiry scheduled for June.

However, the firm withdrew its appeal and instead made an application for a permit to run the plant.

If approved, the company will still need planning permission from Dudley Council.