CAMPAIGNERS have raised further fears over the building of a massive indoor waste plant in Brierley Hill after a similar facility in Shropshire blew up.
Members of the SNOW* (Say No tO Waste-site) campaign celebrated a brief victory when Clean Power (UK) Ltd announced it was withdrawing its appeal over the refusal of a plan to turn old railway sidings off Moor Street into a high-tech recycling facility.
But the company made it clear it would likely submit a revised plan to Dudley Council instead and it has now lodged an application for an environmental permit with the Environment Agency - ahead of an anticipated new planning application.
After the briefest of reprieves - the action group has now rekindled its campaign in light of the permit application and members say they are now extra concerned after an anaerobic digestion plant in Shropshire exploded - destroying a large processing tank and leaking tonnes of sludge onto farmland.
A 200-metre exclusion zone had to be set up around the £3million facility, at the Harper Adams University, and Brierley Hill councillor Rachel Harris, chairman of SNOW* said: "What would happen if anything like that was to happen in our urban area?
"The SNOW* campaign is still fighting this with all that we can. We have already written to the EA pointing out that the consultation about the permit should be considered a matter of high public interest."
She said the campaign has also asked the Agency to extend the consultation period for the permit beyond its June 30 deadline to give people time to have their say.
A spokesman for Clean Power said: "The application clearly sets out stringent processes that would be utilised to vet all suppliers, check the materials that are being sent and reject unsuitable materials."
Dudley South MP Chris Kelly, however, also has concerns about the proposed facility and has thrown his weight behind the SNOW* campaign.
He said: "It is disappointing that Clean Power have decided, following the withdrawal of their appeal, to lodge a further application - despite my constituents being totally against this development.
"Clean Power should understand that myself, the SNOW* action group and my constituents will do everything we can to oppose this development.
"Brierley Hill has suffered enough with the nearby open air waste site without having a further waste site – albeit of a different kind – foisted upon them. I would like to request that the land owners find another use for the site, preferably housing."
The permit application, which is for non-hazardous waste, can be viewed free of charge at Dudley Council House, Ednam Road, Dudley, between 8.45am and 5pm - Monday to Friday.
Further information is also available online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-power-uk-ltd-proposed-energy-recovery-facility-on-moor-street-brierley-hill-west-midlands.
Comments can be emailed to email@example.com or posted to Permitting Support Centre (EP Team), Environment Agency, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Parkway Business Park, Sheffield S9 4WF.
People can keep up to date with the SNOW* campaign by logging onto website www.brierleyhillsnow.info