Opponents of a Thornton recycling company today hit out after an Environment Agency report showed a series of breaches of its operating permit.
Lancashire Waste Recycling has applied to Lancashire County Council to change the hours it can operate its Burn
Hall Industrial Estate site.
But a group of neighbouring residents and business are opposing the bid as they say smells, noise and traffic from the plant are making their lives a misery.
Now they say that the report from the Environment Agency (EA) which shows that LWR broke the agreements of its licence 27 times between May 21, 2013 and November 20, 2014, shows their complaints are valid.
However, LWR has hit back saying the report covers a period shortly after the firm got started and that measures have since been taken to mitigate the issues.
The report states: “Between May 21, 2013 and November 20, 2014 the company has breached its permit 27 times.
“During this period we visited 14 times with only one visit not resulting in a breach of permit although even on this visit we noted a series of concerns.”
It said LWR had stored waste destined as incinerator fuel too close to a door which allowed smells to escape, waste stored outside, drains contaminated with shredded waste and problems with doors and ventilation ducts.
The EA is considering if further action needs to be taken.
Jayne Mushet, general manager of the nearby Cala Gran holiday park, where bosses say they have put off a £1m investment in their site until this planning issue is resolved, said: “This report is damning and completely vindicates the growing list of complaints from residents and holidaymakers against the odours and pollution pouring from the Lancashire recycling Waste plant.
“We trust the officers and members of the planning committee will make the right decisions based upon the information provided by the applicants and in the context of the evidence provided by the stakeholders.”
But Jim Entwisle, operations director at Lancashire Waste Recycling, said: “This EA report is now two months old, and stretches back a year in terms of the issues that it mentions. We have already invested heavily in solutions for all of these.
“This totals more than £1m, and includes significant improvements to our odour and noise-abatement methods.
“Indeed, many of the improvements we have since made are acknowledged in the EA report.
“Lancashire Waste Recycling was set up as a completely new and innovative endeavour, and we freely admit we have inevitably suffered from ‘teething problems’ during the early months, as we found our feet with what is quite a complex and ground-breaking process.
“Since then, we have learnt a great deal on how to run the operation most efficiently, and made big strides towards addressing concerns that have been brought to our attention.”
Paul Mellor, Managing Director at LWR, added: “We have invested over £8m in the site to date, including over £1m in a whole series of improvements to our operation and management of the site over the last 12 months.”