Officers recommend go-ahead for 150,000 tonne waste plant on banks of River Wensum

Atlas Works in Lenwade. Photo: Google Maps

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

Officers at Norfolk County Council are recommending a 150,000 tonne waste plant on the banks of the River Wensum at Lenwade go ahead despite widespread environmental concern.

In just over a week almost 800 people have signed a petition against the scheme, which has been brought to Norfolk County Council by Serruys Property Company.

The plans have been deferred by the planning committee once already due to the lack of environmental risk assessments, but officers have now decided they cannot recommend refusal as the proper safeguards would have to be put in place ahead of obtaining an environmental permit.

In their report to the planning committee, officers wrote: 'Prior to the site becoming operational the applicant would need to obtain an Environmental Permit.

'Not twin tracking the permit and planning applications is entirely at the applicant's own risk.'

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.'

The report also addressed accusations of the county having a 'vested interest' in a new waste disposal site.

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'It is correct that the council has statutory responsibilities for waste disposal. A proposed development may have implications for any of these, although there would be none here unless and until an operator of the proposed facility successfully bid for a council waste disposal contract.'

They conclude: 'The applicant does not have an Environmental Permit in place to operate this development. However, this is not in itself a ground to refuse planning permission.'

Serruys has agreed to fund the installation of an information board on Marriott's Way with an additional £2848.84 added to the existing £7500 contribution for its maintenance.

The application will go before Norfolk County Council's planning committee on March 31. An officer from the Environment Agency's Environmental Permitting Regulations Team will be attending at the request of the committee.

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