Shanks/Renewi Odour Impact Update

As summer rolls on, so does the foul odour.

This week i have yet to receive a response from constituency MP Jon Trickett but i have spoken at length with Councillor Michelle Collins, who agrees that something must be done.

I have received an email from Colin Fletcher on behalf of the company, addressing some of the questions i raised and included in my previous correspondence to you. Interestingly Mr Fletcher states that “the release of gas is not a long term issue.” As the smells from the centre have caused residents to keep their windows closed for two concurrent summers i would argue that this is not true, clearly there is a long term issue regarding odours. Mr Fletcher also stated that “Wakefield Metropolitan District Council were aware of the plant design, specifically the pressure relief valves, during the planning and design stages…” and that “…This is an industry standard safety feature.” In essence, if i am reading this correctly, Shanks/Renewi made Wakefield Metropolitan District Council fully aware of the “industry standard” design and therefore the potential for releases of obnoxious gasses. It is interesting then that in Wakefield Metropolitan District Council’s own ‘Local Development Framework: Waste Development Plan Document’ that they stated that there had been an “extensive site selection process” before they chose to build the centre in South Kirkby, on land owned by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. In June 2008 Wakefield Metropolitan District Council submitted a planning application and approved it in November 2008, as Shanks/Renewi themselves point out, they had made Wakefield Metropolitan District Council fully aware of the design of the centre and state quite clearly that a release of gases (including methane) was “industry standard”.

This get all the more perplexing when reading ‘Policy W6’ of the same document which states quite clearly that proposals for waste management facilities will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that:

a] There would be no unacceptable adverse environmental, social or economic effects…
c] Adequate means of controlling noise, dust, litter, odours, vermin and other emissions are incorporated into the scheme, such that there would be no adverse effects on the amenity of sensitive receptors. Please see LDF Waste Development Plan for details.

Something seems a little at odds here. Shanks/Renewi quite clearly submitted a design to Wakefield Metropolitan District Council that included a safety release mechanism that was “industry standard” and allowed for the escape of methane, yet Wakefield Metropolitan District Council drew up a framework that clearly stated that the site could only be used if such odours did not adversely affect residents. Furthermore it appears that Wakefield Metropolitan District Council clearly anticipated that residential development close to any waste recycling centre should not occur as the document clearly states on more than one occasion that “other development within/adjacent to these site would not be permitted if it would prevent or restrict the extent to which they may be used for waste management purposes.” Yet despite this they chose a site adjacent to a large residential housing development which includes a school. Finally, in his reply to me today Colin Fletcher maintained that “There are no plans in place for compensation scheme for residents. There is no contractual requirement to implement one nor was this discussed at the planning stages.” So essentially a site which was demonstrably not suitable for development as a waste recycling centre was chosen, for a scheme which clearly had the potential to cause an adverse affect on residents in an adjacent residential estate and the residents simply have to accept the negative impact on their lives, with no recourse or compensation from neither Shanks/Renewi or Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

I have updated local residents on my findings and spoken once again with Councillor Michelle Collins, we will plan the next step together. I have also sent this information to Jon Trickett MP, urging him to intervene.

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