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Rendering plant ‘gearing up’

Posted on February 23 2014 at 10:24:12

The controversial rendering plant at Mayfield Farm, Hopwood, is gearing up for full production, according to regulators.

Activities over recent months have led to a rise in complaints about “dark smoke” and steam from the plant chimney stack, as well as of foul odours.

And despite previous assurances that a pollution control permit would cover all activities at Mayfield Farm, it now transpires that only the rendering plant is included.

The animal parts transfer operation is excluded, which officials say would hinder enforcement action under the permit over any odours said to be coming from Mayfield Farm.

The rendering plant won a planning inquiry in 2006 enabling it to build the 17-metre chimney needed to meet pollution control targets.

At the time around 1,000 letters of objection were received from across The Village area from people who feared the effects of industrial-scale rendering of lamb and poultry “by-products” from 6am-11pm every day except Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The pollution control permit was issued in 2010 by Bromsgrove District Council, which was then the regulatory authority.

The officer in charge of the pollution control team at the time told The Village all activities within the perimeter of Mayfield Farm would be covered by it.

Responsibility for monitoring and controlling pollution has now passed to Worcestershire Regulatory Services, where the head of the pollution control team, Richard Williams, told The Village: “I was quite shocked to find out that the waste transfer side of the business had not been included in the permit. I don’t know what happened.”

He added: “I inherited this permit and I can do nothing about it at the moment.” Mr Williams explained that if there were complaints of odour from the site, they would first have to establish that it was offensive – and even if it was, there would be no grounds for enforcement, providing the operators were using the “best available technology” to the best of their abilities.

This, coupled with the fact the odours could be coming from the waste transfer operation, which is not covered by the pollution control permit, meant residents living just metres from Mayfield farm on the Waterside Orchard caravan site could be frustrated.

“We have got quite a few people in Waterside Orchard with expectations that Mayfield Farm is going to struggle to meet,” said Mr Williams.

He said he was hoping to organise a public meeting at Waterside Orchard to explain to residents the current situation.

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