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Outrage over Whinney Hill tip expansion plan

ANGRY residents have called for a public inquiry into a controversial bid to expand operations at the Whinney Hill tip.

PROTESTING councillors David Myles and Tim O'Kane with resident Alison Gabryszak at the tip
PROTESTING councillors David Myles and Tim O'Kane with resident Alison Gabryszak at the tip

ANGRY residents have called for a public inquiry into a controversial bid to expand operations at the Whinney Hill tip.

The demand for a Govern-ment inspector to look at a "global'' refuse disposal scheme involving three companies came at a public meeting held in Clayton-le-Moors.

Under the scheme, a consortium of waste management company Sita, Marshalls Clay Products and Park Royal Haulage would run the site until towards the middle of the century.

The number of goods vehicles visiting the site could rise from 300 to 725 a day.

And industrial waste, some of it from abroad, would be dumped on the tip along with household waste.

Up to 660,000 tons could be deposited there every year for the next 40 years.

The public meeting was arranged by the Enfield Residents' Association, which has now joined forces with the Stanley Park Residents' Association in Accrington, people living in Huncoat and other concerned individuals to form an action committee to fight the extension.

Residents have identified five main issues on which they are fighting the plan:

l Environmental - they say traffic noise from HGVs is bad enough as it is without increasing their number to a maximum of 725 a day.

l Health issues - the problem from flies, odour and dust which settles in homes.

l Transport - the problem of traffic congestion and safety fears in a residential area with many schools and nurseries within walking distance.

l House prices - the plan could lead to negative equity and residents being unable to sell their properties.

l Quality of life - the effect on people's general health and well-being and their right to live in a clean, pollution-free environment.

One resident said: "We already have to put up with the smell, the flies and even seagulls coming in from the site. There is no way that they can control the wagons coming in at the moment, never mind the extra ones in the future.''

Another claimed: "We have been told the waste will include asbestos which should set alarm bells ringing. Dumping of all this rubbish would go on for 40 years. Think of your children and your children's children.

"I live on Dill Hall Lane and the air used to be clean and fresh. Now even we can smell the tip when the weather conditions are right so I feel sorry for those who live nearer. They can't open their windows at times because of the smell and in this day and age it just isn't good enough.''

Councillor Tim O'Kane said: "They are saying that the effect on traffic will be minimal, but with 600,000 tonnes of landfill coming in each year, there is no way that this can be true. This is the main thing on which we should oppose this plan.''

He added: "The county council is not being very good to us on this. It wants us to recycle waste but when this is done it leaves a lot of spare capacity at Whinney Hill.''

The meeting also voted to arrange a special joint meeting of Clayton and Huncoat Area Councils at which planning officers from Lancashire County Council will be present. The county council will make the final decision on the scheme, for which a variety of planning consents already exist.

Over 80 people attended the meeting, at which it was also decided to ask Hyndburn's MP Mr Greg Pope for his support and to lobby local county councillors on the issue.

The secretary of Enfield Residents' Association, Mrs Michelle Boothman, said: "I was absolutely gobsmacked by the response. We have set up a sub-committee to deal with the tip and we would like to hear from people who can help us run it, and get involved in putting out leaflets and posters.''

The sub-committee is to hold its first meeting at the Hare and Hounds pub in Whalley Road, Clayton, at 8pm on Wednesday when a member of the county council planning staff will be present.

Clayton councillor Miles Parkinson said he had contacted Mr Pope who had pledged to support the residents' protests


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