Controversial Telford landfill site set to get extra five years in operation

A plan to extend the life of a controversial Telford waste landfill site by five years has been recommended for approval.

The fire at the recycling plant. Picture: @SFRS_JBainbr
The fire at the recycling plant. Picture: @SFRS_JBainbr

Potters Group in Welshpool are operators of the Granville Landfill site, off Grange Lane, Redhill, and they want to keep burying waste there until December 31, 2030.

The area was the scene of massive fire in September 2020 when 50 firefighters battled a blaze that affected the entire landfill site near the A5.

Plans for the extension of the site's life met with such a barrage of opposition that a meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council's planning committee on June 1 decided to defer it to allow councillors' questions to be answered.

The landfill site at Redhill. Picture: Google

Now a decision date has been set - Wednesday August 31 - and planning officials say there are no good reasons to justify rejecting it.

It would come with a reduction in the daily limit of imported trash to a maximum of 1,350 tonnes per day, down from 1,500 tonnes in any single day.

Donnington & Muxton Parish Council objected to the extension, saying it is "unfair on the new development being built in the area due to noxious smells".

A housing development of 450 dwellings is currently under construction by Vistry Homes and the landfill site is close to Granville Country Park.

Other objections piled in from parish councils at St Georges & Priorslee and Tibberton & Cherrington.

Borough councillor Veronica Fletcher, of St Georges and Priorslee, forced the decision to be made by her colleagues instead of council officers by calling the application in.

She said about 2,000 houses are being built nearby, and the nearby residents of those developments would be hit by smell, fumes and pollution "which attracts vermin".

Councillor Nick Heath, who represents Ketley, called for the original closure date of 2025 to be stuck to. He said the site "is susceptible to fires and had one in 2020."

Planning agent Mark Krassowski, of Walsingham Planning, put the case for his clients.

He said the site was closed for two years until March 2019, resulting in no waste being deposited during this period.

And because the site is taking 120,000 tonnes per annum, below its permitted level of 200,000 tonnes, to close it early would be a "wasted resource".

The site also generates the cash needed to restore the land, he added.

Mr Krassowski said: "Granville is a long-established landfill site. The proposals do not seek to introduce a change in land use, nor an extension to the landfill site area; they are simply seeking to extend the lifetime of the landfill operation."

Planning officials at the council said that Telford currently exports a lot of waste to Battlefield, in Shrewsbury, and Wolverhampton under a 25-year contract with Veolia, where it is processed in waste to energy plants.

They said: "It is estimated that in the next nine years, there will be an additional 116,500 tonnes per annum that will require processing (either by increased recycling or landfilling).

"While there is clear evidence that TWC has a high recycling waste (48.2 per cent in 2020/21 compared to national average of 43.8 per cent), there remains a gap for waste that cannot at the moment be treated either through recycling or sent to Four Ashes or Battlefield."

They add: "When considering the site was also closed for two years due to the sale of the site and the process of re-starting operations with a new owner, the WPS Report concludes that an additional 5-years of operations would allow the site to be filled, contoured and restored as originally approved."

Landill tax paid by the operators also helps fund a number of projects in the borough, including £50,000 on Granville Country Park improvements and £66,000 for the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust.

"Allowing a five-year extension of time would amount to a further £650,000 of funding for local environmental concerns," the officers' report says.

"Landfill remains a controlled waste environment suitable for waste that cannot otherwise be re-used or recycled," they add.

As far as the impact on nearby homes is concerned, the planners believe that the "impact upon nearby residential development would not be adverse".

They say: "Outline consents were approved on nearby large scale development at a time when several years still remained on the life of the landfill and could have been implemented much sooner than they have.

"As they have come forward much later, the extension of time requested would not significantly change this position. Furthermore, it is not considered that the landfill operation has a significant adverse impact upon the local environment."

Background papers say the landfill was originally granted consent in June 1998. This was on the northern part of the site which has since been restored. This was granted an extension to the south in 1995 and granted a further extension to deepen the site in 2008. This later consent superseded the previous permissions and is now the operative planning permission for the landfill to which this application relates.

The planning committee meeting is set to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, August 31, at the 4th Floor Meeting Room, Addenbrooke House, Ironmasters Way, Telford. The meeting is set to be live streamed on YouTube.

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