Petition launched against 150,000 tonne a year waste plant on banks of the River Wensum

Atlas Works in Lenwade. Photo: Google Maps

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

Hundreds of people have signed a petition protesting against a 150,000 tonne a year waste plant on the banks of the River Wensum.

The facility, proposed by Serruys Property Company which would convert waste into fuel, has already come up against opposition in the form of turkey giant Bernard Matthews.

Their factory lies just a few hundred metres from the planned site at the Atlas Works in Lenwade.

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.

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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'.

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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.

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 secure an environmental permit before planning is granted.

A petition started last week against what critics call a 'planned environmental disaster' has attracted almost 300 signatures.

But in their re-submissions, Serruys said '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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