On 25th May 2021, I chaired a meeting of the Planning Sub-Committee of the Town Council. The main item on the agenda was the proposed development of a High Temperature Thermal Treatment Facility for Clinical and Hazardous Waste, at land north of Hitachi Rail on Aycliffe Business Park.

• The building would house a high temperature incinerator plant.

• The site would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 355 days a year.

• Catchment area for materials to be processed would be centred around the site, including Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and other local towns. However, a regional capacity shortfall in the North East and Scotland would be addressed by the proposed facility.

• The facility is expected to process 1.25 tonnes of waste per hour.

• Maximum annual operation is 10,500 tonnes.

• There will be 15 HGV movements a day.

• The stack (chimney) will be 30m high.

• Containers, which had contained clinical waste, would be transferred to the container wash for disinfection.

• The report we received indicated that human health receptors/risks need to be assessed.

• Low potential negative environmental impact.

• Operational site emissions suggest potentially significant effects may occur, combined impacts of site emissions and traffic emissions should be quantified.

• No operational emissions modelling methodology is provided.

The meeting was full to capacity and after questions from the public a brief description of the plan by a County Planning Officer and a detailed presentation of the plan by Chrissy Walton, the Town Council’s Corporate and Policy Officer, it was resolved that the following response be forwarded to Durham County Council.

‘The Town Council have considered this application at the Planning Sub-Committee on 25 May 2021, which was attended by a number of members of the public, and would make the following comments to the proposal:

• The Town Council would request that this application is placed on hold until a full and detailed public consultation can take place. It is also requested that DCC consider holding a public meeting in order to give residents the opportunity to ask questions directly and receive answers in person.

• That this application is considered at committee rather than a delegated decision at officer level.

• The proposed site is not suitable for this type of development as it is too near to domestic properties.

In addition, the Town Council would object to the location of the proposal due to:

• Proximity to houses;

• Proximity to historic and listed buildings/monuments;

• Potentially dangerous site and traffic emissions;

• Significant environmental impact on air quality;

• Habitat loss for 4 butterfly species which are on the RED data list species, 2 of which are vulnerable and 1 is near threatened;

• Unclear impact/information regarding Great Crested Newts;

• Potential risk to groundwater within a protection zone on the Magnesian Limestone principal aquifer;

• Negative visual impact on the area.’

Recently the Council has been informed that the planning request would now be dealt with at committee level.

I will be requesting the full Council meeting on 16th June to authorise myself and Council officers to seek appropriate advice from a consultant in this area of planning and, if required, to employ a consultant to represent the views of the Council when this issue is discussed at the County Council Planning Committee.

I personally believe that this development should not take place in close proximity to a growing town and the largest industrial estate in the County.

Air quality will be affected, with untold particles and gasses which, depending on the wind and weather, will be deposited throughout Newton Aycliffe and South West Durham.

I believe this plan has no positive value to our community and we should fight it with all the resources at our disposal.

Councillor Bob Fleming

Great Aycliffe Town Council