Hundreds of residents back growing campaign to stop waste-processing plant near Rugby

The traffic caused by the plantThe traffic caused by the plant
The traffic caused by the plant
Hundreds of furious people are backing a growing campaign to stop a controversial waste-processing plant going ahead in a conservation village near Rugby

Over 240 villagers have sent their objections to Leicestershire County Council as the bid to block the scheme in historic Shawell, near Lutterworth, picks up powerful momentum.

Angry protesters are being supported by South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa – who has raised the highly-contentious issue with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Natasha Raven, 42, who’s helping to spearhead efforts to halt the blueprint in its tracks, said: “Our campaign to stop this plant being opened has really taken off.

“Feelings are running so high – and not just here in Shawell but all over the area.

“A lot of people have families and young children and the last thing we want is thousands more HGVs thundering through every year.”

Villagers are hitting the warpath as Shawell Quarry owner Tarmac Trading and waste management company Beauparc Group aim to turn Cotesbach Mechanical Biological Treatment unit at the Gibbet Lane quarry into a waste-processing centre.

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They want to process 150,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial rubbish a year while recovering recyclable materials.

The high-profile plan comes after the “Bio-Digester” has been mothballed for four years.

Outraged Natasha said residents have brought in their own experts to carry out environmental assessments.

“We don’t trust the facts and figures that Beauparc have come up with.

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“So we are carrying out our own research and poring over their claims with a fine toothcomb,” said the mum-of-two.

“And we were right to.

“They assumed that their lorries could make 300 round trips to the proposed plant every week.

“But their current allowance is actually just 150 two-way trips a week.

“And that begs the question – how do they hope to get even close to hauling 150,000 tons of waste to the plant every year?

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“The massive amount of carbon dioxide generated by HGVs covering these distances carrying a huge tonnage of waste will be extremely impactive on pollution and global warming and goes totally against the county council’s Waste & Mineral policy that states that waste should be dealt with local to source.

“It’s simply not acceptable or right that Beauparc are proposing to truck in enormous amounts of waste from many miles around.”

Natasha said that Dublin-based Beauparc has now been asked by county council planners “to clarify several claims they have made”.

“The planning authority is acting only because our experts have conducted such meticulous research.

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“We are convinced that Beauparc have downplayed the massive impact this vast development will have on our entire community and the environment.

“The county council has allowed Beauparc to carry out their own environmental assessments,” she insisted.

“These should surely have been done objectively by the planning authority or a third party.

“We are tearing holes in the company’s findings all the time.

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“Gibbet Lane and Gibbet roundabout will be absolutely clogged up with giant lorries.

“They are bottlenecked already as they are over-run by so much more heavy traffic from Magna Park and the nearby DIRFT terminal.

“It’s only a matter of time before we have a serious accident there.”

Howard Jones, chairman of Shawell Parish Meeting, said: ”It’s been a very impressive effort by our community to make people aware of this proposal and its very serious implications for this part of south-west Leicestershire.

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“There was a danger that the application could have sneaked through during lockdown.

“But the community has successfully exposed the many shortcomings in the applicant’s proposal.

“Beauparc and Tarmac have some significant questions to answer.”

Lindsey Plant, who lives in Shawell, said: “We are glad that Leicestershire County Council will assess this against national and local planning policies, which are clearly against this development.

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“We should all be more responsible for the waste we create – use less, but then deal with our own waste locally.

“Transporting waste long distances around the country to a central processing facility, in hundreds of HGVs, makes no sense at all environmentally.”

A Beauparc spokesman said: “Beauparc are aware of the strength of feeling towards this facility generated whilst under the management of the previous company, New Earth Solutions, and the imminent recommencement of activities under the existing planning permission/proposed planning application for alterations to the activities on site.

“There are no changes to the site layout but substantial investment is proposed to process waste in a completely different and controlled manner, to minimise emissions and operate more efficiently.

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“The operations have been carefully assessed and as part of planning there has been extensive consultation and third party review.”

He added: “We have reviewed all consultation responses carefully and continue to listen to the parish council and local residents’ concerns.

“We welcome the scrutiny the application has been subject to and as necessary have responded to the planning authority accordingly.

“We will continue to engage with the parish councils and residents during the recommencement of operations at the site, whether under the extant planning and permits or under the revised proposals.”

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Leicestershire County Council has admitted that Beauparc made mistakes over the number of lorry trips they detailed would take place to the proposed waste-processing centre at Shawell in their original planning application.

“We’re aware of errors made by Beauparc in their original application relating to traffic movements, which have now been corrected by the applicant.

“From a highways perspective, neither Highways England nor the local highway authority have raised objections to the application,” said a county council spokeswoman.

“This viewpoint will be considered alongside all other comments as part of the planning application process.

“The decision will be taken by the county council’s Development Control and Regulatory Board in due course.

“A meeting date has not yet been identified.”