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Thursday, 28 May 2015

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Barrow waste plant licence suspended

A CONTROVERSIAL waste plant in Barrow has had its licence suspended indefinitely.

FLY PROBLEM The Shanks management centre at Sowerby Woods which was plagued by flies REF: 50051603B002

The Shanks MBT plant in Sowerby Woods Business Park will not be able to receive waste from Barrow, South Lakeland or Eden from Monday until Environment Agency inspectors are satisfied a series of improvements have been made.

The decision was prompted by concerns raised by other businesses at Sowerby Woods industrial estate, where the Southern Resource Park is located, that the plant was causing an unacceptable number of flies in the area.

Following a number of site inspections by the Environment Agency, a decision has been taken by the Agency to issue the notice, which includes the requirement to cease all waste acceptance at the facility, while Shanks implements an improvement plan to tackle the concerns highlighted by inspectors.

The Environment Agency issued the Notice on 1st August, stating that the reason for the action was a lack of appropriate measures taken by Shanks to prevent or minimize the presence of flies on site. It requires Shanks to undertake a range of specific actions including ceasing acceptance of waste, completely clearing the facility of waste and to wash / disinfect the facility to prevent the breeding and release of flies.

The MBT plant is operated and controlled by Shanks Waste Management Ltd. on behalf of Cumbria County Council as part of a 25-year waste management contract agreed in 2009. The county council has no direct involvement in the day-today running of the plant, but the county council will be working closely with both Shanks and the Environment Agency to ensure that the necessary improvements are made as quickly as possible.

Councillor Clare Feeney-Johnson, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for environment, said: “I fully support the decision by the Environment Agency to temporarily suspend waste deliveries to allow Shanks to concentrate on an improvement plan to tackle the concerns raised.

“We have a contract with Shanks to run this plant for the next 21 years, and therefore it is essential that any problems are nipped in the bud in the early days of the plant’s operations so that it doesn’t have a negative impact on surrounding businesses in the longer term.

“The principle underpinning Mechanical Biological Treatment is a sound one and the other MBT plant run by Shanks in Hespin Wood, Carlisle is running at full capacity. I believe MBT is the cleanest, greenest treatment option for household waste as not only does it divert waste from landfill, but it also recovers recyclable material and produces a residual fuel. Therefore I fully expect the concerns raised about the Barrow facility to be a short-term issue, which can be addressed with the right operational measures from Shanks.

“The county council expects any contractor delivering services on its behalf to do so to the highest of standards; we therefore expect Shanks to deliver well-run, compliant waste facilities in Cumbria, ultimately diverting as much waste from landfill as they can and doing so with minimal impact on local communities. Both the Environment Agency as the regulator and the county council as the client will be seeking assurances from Shanks that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that this situation does not arise again in future.”

The Barrow facility was officially opened in March 2013 after a trial commissioning phase, following on from the opening of an identical plant run by Shanks at Hespin Wood, Carlisle in December 2011. The two plants are the principle waste treatment facilities of the 25-year, £700m waste disposal contract agreed between Cumbria County Council and Shanks Waste Management in 2009.

During the period of the Notice whilst Shanks are addressing these issues, waste from households across Barrow and South Lakeland which had been destined for the Barrow MBT will be diverted to a neighbouring landfill, which is where waste was already being disposed of before the plant became operational. The landfill is fully permitted to accept the household waste and there are no capacity issues. As the landfill is located nearby the MBT plant, the diversion does not pose any issues for traffic flow or collection vehicles. The Hespin Wood MBT plant in Carlisle will remain fully operational. The contract between Cumbria County Council and Shanks has pre-agreed measures for the diversion of waste, therefore both sides are fully prepared for managing this development.

Have your say

Thank goodness for that. Have spent so much money tackling the flies from this Incredibly disgusting place. Sick of fly pie for tea!

Posted by fly by night on 3 August 2013 at 21:42

join the dots folks - Shanks take waste in from Ulverston (2 weekly collections - twice as long as the gestation period of a fly) and Ulverston have been plagued with flies as reported in the Evening Mail last weekend. SLDC is to blame for the disgusting state of household waste collections.

Posted by A Livesey on 3 August 2013 at 00:20

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