Friday, June 08, 2012

Spaldington Composter fails in attempt to bring more stinking waste into area

(pictured with Spaldington residents)

Great news for Spaldington! An application by a local agricultural composter at Ivy House Farm near the Water Tower, to remove planning conditions that would allow him ‘to increase the type of stinking waste he can take in’ was unanimously thrown out by East Riding of Yorkshire Council Planning Committee. This was against the recommendations of the Council’s Planning Officers.

Spaldington resident Kath Westin spoke on behalf of the community describing vividly the foul smell which often engulfs the village. As their Howdenshire ward Councillor it was a pleasure for me to sum up and speak in support of Spaldington and Eastrington residents. I pointed out that to allow more animal bi-product waste streams, such has flesh from the tannery industry onto the site would have a serious adverse impact on the living conditions of nearby residents with respect to odour, and it was in conflict with both national and local planning policies. The applicant’s agent didn’t bother turning up for the meeting.

I felt this application was almost exactly the same as one refused by the Planning Committee in 2008 – which was subsequently appealed by the Composter, but the Planning Inspector came down on the side of the Committee in upholding their decision. The planning inspector had said “Planning policies indicate that the likely impact on the local environment and on amenity should be considerations when determining planning applications for waste management facilities” and that “it may be appropriate to use planning conditions to control aspects of the development, including impacts such as odour, where these impact on neighbouring land uses and sensitive receptors”. The Inspector also stated that he considered the present conditions to be “reasonable and necessary, and sufficiently precise to be enforceable.”

Many of you will recall I presented a motion to EYRC on the agricultural composting industry, leading to a detailed examination by the then Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee in March 2008. (for more information please click here ). Since then we have seen a great improvement in practices of many composters throughout the East Riding – unfortunately I don’t feel we have seen much improvement in this composter’s operation. Quite simply Ivy House Farm stinks, it has for a number of years – and depending on which way the wind blows - so does Spaldington and Eastrington, and I failed to see that bearing in mind this composter’s operation stinks now with the present limits on what he can take in – imagine what it would have been like if he had been given carte blanch to bring anything and everything onto the site.

Who is the regulatory body supposed to protect residents when it comes to the potential nasty effects of agricultural composting of animal bi-products? – It’s the Environment Agency. Many will know that I’ve witnessed first-hand just how poor they are when it comes to regulating composters (and also a particular landfill site) – I certainly wouldn’t and can’t believe that any resident would want to leave it solely to the EA to protect Spaldington or Eastrington from the smell of death (as described by one of the Planning Committee members). I stressed that I wanted the ERYC to continue to play its part (and its duty) in regulating this site through the planning conditions already in place. This point was taken up by members of the Planning Committee in support of the refusal.
There had been 50 letters of opposition to this application which clearly showed people are sick of the smell created by this site as it is – I cannot imagine the impact on them if this was to have been made worse had planning consent been given.
Well done and many thanks to residents, Spaldington Parish Council and particularly the ERYC Planning Committee members for seeing this application for exactly what it was, and throwing it out!


John in Gilberdyke said...

Great news for the neighbours both near and far!
Now lets get the tip at Leatherdog Lane brought to heel.
More importantly lets get someone into the Environment Agency who has an interest in looking after our environment instead of making excuses for the operators.

Rob @ Spaldington said...

As with almost any contentious planning application relating to Spaldington, one has to boggle at the processes in the officer's corridors at Beverley. Public Protection (sic) described the applicant as "exemplary". The Planning Dept, in pre-application consultation said that, in principle, the proposal for Ivy House Farm to take absolutely any biodegradable waste would be acceptable. Planning then recommended approval despite the Planning Inspector’s damning verdict on the last application, the stinking history of the site and the weight of objections from local people.

Fortunately we have a ward councillor (thanks, Paul) prepared to speak out for us and Planning Committee members who took trouble to visit the area, evaluate the evidence and reach their own conclusions.

Stunk out at Spaldington said...

For 6 years now we have suffered the stench from this composting site, unable to leave windows open, not being able to have BBQs or invite friends and relations to stay for fear that the wind will be blowing the stench in our direction. Where has the regulation been during this time? We were told by ERYC Public Protection a few years ago not to contact them about the smell as it was the Environment Agency’s responsibility and to use the EA hotline 0800 807060 for complaints. So what do we find in the case officer’s report for this latest planning application “Public Protection – Two complaints have been received since January 2011 regarding odour from this site…” This gives a totally misleading impression! Fortunately the councillors on ERYCs planning committee had taken the time and trouble to read the resident’s communications and drive around the area for themselves and hence see the site for what it is – an old cow shed with roller shutter doors. The councillors who visited or know the area were able to confirm that the site stinks! So what has the Environment Agency been doing for the last 6 years in their regulation of this site? There are 4 confirmed pollution incidents (significant impact to air) on their website, the most recent in September 2011, yet there is no mention of these in the EAs response to this planning application. It is only because local individuals looked into this that the information came to light. Similarly why was there no mention in the committee report about the 6 breaches of the original planning conditions from this composting operation? There is something fishy going on here! Why are the regulatory authorities so reluctant to take action at this composting site, and if they do, why do they try and hide the facts? Why has composting of such smelly waste been allowed in what are totally inadequate premises and why did ERYC planning department recommend that even more odorous materials could be allowed? And finally the critical question – are the authorities now going to get their acts together and do what is necessary to STOP this composting site ruining the lives of everyone else in the area?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to:
the councillors on the planning committee for refusing the application
Paul Robinson for getting the application in front of the full committee and speaking against the application
Spaldington Parish Council for keeping residents informed and objecting to the proposed increase in wastes to be composted.
NO thanks to the Environment Agency whose inability / unwillingness to regulate Ivy House Farm has made our lives a misery ever since the waste composting started