Fears 150,000 tonne a year waste plant in Lenwade could pollute the River Wensum

Atlas Works in Lenwade. Photo: Google Maps

Atlas Works in Lenwade. Photo: Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps

The River Wensum could be at risk of pollution from a 24 hour waste plant handling up to 150,000 tonnes a year on its banks, according to an independent review of the environmental risk.

And developers of the proposed disposal plant at the Atlas Works in Lenwade, Serruys Property Company, are facing a battle with turkey giant Bernard Matthews, whose regional operations lie just a few hundred metres away.

Critics of the scheme are demanding a full hydrogeological risk assessment, which to date has not been provided.

A number of businesses from nearby Shepherds Business Park have objected, fearing noise, odour and pollution.

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council's planning committee on October 21 last year, members decided to defer the scheme for concerns to be addressed.

DLA Piper, on behalf of Bernard Matthews, said in their objection the plant would be a 'bad neighbour'.

They add the plant could have a 'devastating impact upon the company were it to create contaminants in the local environment that were able to enter the food chain', with 75,000 birds a week watered from the Wensum.

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In an independent review of the impact on the local water supply, Clive Carpenter, head of water resources for GWP Consultants, said it would be a 'reasonable conclusion to assume' contaminated run-off water from the site would make its way into the River Wensum, with the 'potential to impact upon the sensitive ecosystems.'

But Graham Steel, planning advisor for the Environment Agency, said they would not issue Serruys an environmental permit for the site until they were 'satisfied that the risk of the operation causing harm to human health or the environment has been minimised.'

There is no legal requirement to have an environmental permit in place before planning permission is granted as the site would not be able to operate until one is secured.

In a re-submission to the planning committee, Serruys said: 'It is considered that there will be adequate protection measures in place to ensure the environment is not harmed.'

The application is set to be decided on March 31.

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