Campaign launched to fight proposed Allerton Park Asphalt Plant which residents feel is 'an environmental disaster waiting to happen'
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The meeting will be held at Great Ouseburn Village Hall on Wednesday, November 8, starting at 7.45pm and organisers say anyone with an interest in the plans is welcome to attend.
Concerned residents first came together last month to discuss the proposal, which they fear will have a potentially disastrous impact on the local environment.
More than 100 people crammed into Marton Cum Grafton Village Hall to devise a plan aimed at stopping what they believe would be “an environmental disaster waiting to happen”.
Communities Against Toxins (CATs) warn that anyone living within a 9km radius of the proposed Allerton Park Asphalt Plant will be affected by numerous potentially harmful pollutants with the region’s air, land and waterways exposed to a cocktail of toxic chemicals.
They also highlight the significant risk of placing such an industrial plant so close to a methane producing landfill, which poses a threat of explosion and fire.
More than 700 residents have now signed up with the group as they plan to lobby North Yorkshire Council and demand that the application is rejected.
Recommendations state that asphalt plants should be sited more than 3km from the nearest dwelling as fumes associated with the production process contain known toxins, such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and lead.
The communities of Arkendale, Coneythorpe, Flaxby, Marton Cum Grafton, Whixley, Little Ouseburn and Allerton are closest to the proposed new plant, while the impact will also be felt in Goldsborough, Green Hammerton and as far out as Boroughbridge and even Knaresborough.
Tynedale Roadstone Ltd has submitted plans to build the large asphalt plant at the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, despite already operating two existing sites in Newcastle and County Durham.
The proposal is to increase asphalt production and build a further plant which will include a 22.5-metre exhaust stack, heated storage tanks, a number of large aggregate bins for storage, associated office space and further storage areas.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has voiced his own concerns regarding the application, stating he had already registered his objection due to the potential for “industrial creep” in the area.
Now, CAT’s organiser, Michael Emsley, is calling on as many residents as possible to raise their objections as soon as possible to make sure North Yorkshire Council are made aware of the level of opposition.
“There are a lot of concerned residents in the area, and we have decided to make our voices heard,” he said.
“Given all the detailed research already done, it is beyond belief that something of this nature and on this scale should be located in a rural area when there are industrial sites available, at which the bulk of the risks we have highlighted would be minimised.
“The proposed asphalt plant is going to disperse an awful lot of toxic chemicals into the environment, airborne and waterborne, while some will also be dust particles, which are particularly nasty. It's an environmental disaster waiting to happen.
“And the very fact that the plans include the building of ‘blast walls’ shows they are aware of the explosion and fire risks of building a plant such as this so close to a site which is already producing high levels of methane gas.
“Residents feel that their health, and the health of their children in particular, is at risk. There are several local schools here which will be impacted and there is concern that this is not something that is being considered."
Mr Emsley warned that many local residents had been unaware of the planning application, saying that it is difficult to find on the North Yorkshire Council planning portal.
He hopes that by publicising the campaign to stop the building of the asphalt plant, the campaigners will continue to grow in numbers and in strength.
Mr Emsley has already collected more than 700 objections to the proposals, but is calling on residents to turn up next week and join the fight.
“We had more than 100 people turn up at the first meeting in Marton Cum Grafton and we would like as many as possible to come along next week and support the campaign,” he said.
“Since that first meeting, we have made huge progress in organising our battle-plans to get this proposal rejected and it is vital that we get as much support as possible.
“More than 700 people have handed us their objection letters and we will be looking to build on that number next week. The more we get, the more powerful our argument will be when we present them to North Yorkshire Council.
“These plans are of great concern to the communities that live, work or visit anywhere within the ‘Toxic Zone’. The impact on the environment, the health of our children and the very real threat of explosion and fire simply mean this is the wrong place to build such a facility.”
He added: “We would urge all residents living within what we believe to be the dangerous ‘toxin zone’ to find this application - NY/2022/0208/ENV - to read the details and to make their opposition to it known.
“We have been assured by North Yorkshire Council that despite an initial deadline for objections having passed, all comments from residents will still be acknowledged and taken into account right up to when the application goes to the NYC planning committee.”