Higher chimneys are on the horizon

Farington Waste Technology Park
Farington Waste Technology Park

The visual impact of making the chimneys at a smelly waste plant taller will be worth the effect it has on odours in Leyland, it has been claimed.

Plans to increase the height of the biofilter exhaust stacks at the Farington Waste Technology Park have now been granted permission by Lancashire County Council.

Jo Turton, executive director of environment at the council, wrote in the approval notice: “The proposed development is designed to introduce improvements to odour management at the site and reduce the impact of odours in the area.

“Such a reduction would be achieved by dilution and dispersal of emissions and which would not have an unacceptable impact on the environment.

“The stacks would be visible from neighbouring land but would not generate any unacceptable adverse impacts on the visual amenities of the area, or on the visual amenities of residential properties, given the benefits they would deliver.”

Residents living in houses surrounding the Global Renewables site have been complaining about bad smells since December 2010 - just months after it opened in the September before.

At a public meeting in February last year, bosses admitted they’d made a ‘commissioning error’ which first led to a release of odours.

And earlier this year it was revealed that a £100,000 fund will be made available to be put back into the community as a form of compensation for the problems, but the company says the higher chimneys will stop residents being affected by the smells once and for all.

The Environment Agency said in its consultee response to the proposals: “From our own experience when observing the plumes from the current stacks, there have been occasions when the plumes were clearly grounding.

“Raising the stacks would significantly reduce this plume grounding affect and therefore improve odour dispersion.”

But the Principal Planning Officer at South Ribble Council admitted she had some reservations.

Debra Holroyd wrote: “Whilst we have on-going reservations relating to the site in relation to the residential properties within this area, including issues regarding the odours released from the waste technology park, we understand that this application is to rectify the odour issue by the erection of five biofilter exhaust stacks to a height of 25m, and the installation of a regenerative thermal oxidiser.

“We have considered this application in relation to the health benefits that these proposals would potentially deliver, and on this basis the council does not object to this application.

“We do however encourage regular monitoring of the stacks and the regenerative thermal oxidiser to help understand whether these are working successfully in reducing odours.

“The council wishes to be kept informed of such monitoring including results, once this has been carried out.”

She added: “If the proposed stacks and regenerative thermal oxidiser do not solve the odour issues, then the council would wish to see the stacks reduced to their original height, so as to reduce the impact on the neighbouring residential properties in terms of loss to their visual amenity.”