MP takes campaigners' fight against a plastics recycling plant in Rushden to the Prime Minister

Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone hopes the Prime Minister will step in.
Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone hopes the Prime Minister will step in.

A controversial plastics recycling plant objected to by hundreds of villagers, the local MP and district and parish councils is recommended for approval this week.

A controversial plastics recycling plant objected to by hundreds of villagers, the local MP and district and parish councils is recommended for approval this week.

Officers at Northamptonshire County Council have proposed the plan to build the plastics recycling plant on a small industrial estate in Rushden is given the go-ahead.

Objectors say the plant, which will convert waste plastics into fuel, will cause a risk to public health by releasing chemicals into the air. They are also concerned about a fire risk due to the large amount of highly flammable liquid which would be created and stored at the Upper Higham Lane site.

Campaigners and Wellingborough MP Peter Bone will be presenting a petition to 10 Downing Street tomorrow (Tuesday) and hope the Prime Minister will intervene.

However, Public Health England and the Environment Agency have no objections to the scheme.

The Wellingborough and Rushden MP is warning that the site, which could store hundreds of thousands of litres of diesel, could be very hazardous.

He said: “We could have a terrible disaster if this scheme went forward as there is no major fire station nearby. The danger is that we don’t know. This is untested technology that is not available in the western world. Where pilot schemes have been approved they have been shut down.

“I understand that up to 900,000 litres of diesel, petrol and LPG will be held in the site, and that there will be an 85 foot high chimney which may produce Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitric Acid, Hydrogen Chloride, Ammonia, Particulate matter, Dioxins and Furans.

“I am very doubtful if a problem was too occur at the site, whether it could be contained. An average petrol station has 20,000 litres stored, this site may have 900,000 litres stored, which is equivalent to I understand a very large airport.

“It would be very close to Chelverston-cum Caldecott and everybody except two people in the village have signed the petition.

"Nearby there are plans to build 2,500 houses as part of a sustainable urban extension in Rushden with around 5,000 men, women and children living there. I am not sure whether these houses will be built, if permission is given for this recycling plant.

“I have written to the Prime Minister and hopefully the Prime Minister will be able to step in and stop this project.

“I think the planning committee would be well advised to turn down or delay until the questions about the scheme are answered correctly.”

If approved on Thursday (Oct 18) applicant Energy Roots Limited will construct a series of buildings including a plastic storage area and extruder, a processing shed and some laboratories and workshops.

As part of the process the plastics are processed into pellets and then heated in a catalytic reactor where they are transformed into petrol, diesel and petroleum gas. They are then further processed to get rid of impurities, piped into storage tanks and then taken off site by HGVs.

The plant will process up to 75,000 tonnes of waste plastic a year.

The report put together by county council officers says: “The application seeks to move waste up the waste hierarchy by recycling waste plastics which would otherwise either go for disposal or other recovery through energy from waste. The waste plastic will be reprocessed into a useful substances (diesel, petrol and liquid petroleum gas). The proposed development therefore satisfies the National Planning Policy for Waste aim of delivery of sustainable development and this adds weight in support of the application.”

The authority has received 102 letters of objection against the scheme. East Northants Council has objected on public health and safety grounds and the parish councils of Stanwick, Melchbourne and Yeldon and Chelveston-cum Caldecott have also objected.

Planning permission was given two years ago for a combined heat and power plant on the site and the applicant has said it will revert to this scheme if the current application is denied.