An MP is set to raise a controversial waste-processing plant proposed for a Harborough conservation village with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Alberto Costa, MP for Leicestershire South, aims to make Mr Johnson aware of the highly-contentious recycling scheme in Shawell, near Lutterworth, in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
Talking to the Harborough Mail, Mr Costa said: “I am determined to make the voices of my constituents clearly heard over this.
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“They have got very understandable concerns over a return to refuse collection near Shawell and having a lot of HGVs moving in and out.”
The Conservative MP added: “This blueprint is supposed to be part of the recycling agenda.
“But the people of Shawell already have a lot of HGVs to put up with as the result of industries already there.
“This Wednesday I hope to get the opportunity to raise this issue directly with the Prime Minister.
“My constituents should have their concerns heard by the highest authority in the land – and there’s no one higher than our Prime Minister.”
Natasha Raven, 42, who’s helping to spearhead protests to block the huge project on the western edge of Harborough, told the Mail: “That’s great.
“I’m pleased to hear that Mr Costa hopes to take our fight straight to Boris Johnson.
“We will fight to the bitter end to protect our tiny historic village.”
The fuming mum-of-two stressed: “We are all outraged.
“The entire community here in Shawell has united to stop it going ahead.
“This proposed waste processing and plastic recovery plant will devastate our beautiful village.
“But the impact and the ramifications will resonate and reverberate far beyond Shawell and Cotesbach if it is approved.
“We’ll see many more heavy lorries on our local roads – which are already congested to the point of being overwhelmed.
“And we fear that pollution, noise and litter will cause havoc for many miles around.”
Villagers are up in arms after Shawell Quarry owner Tarmac Trading and waste management company Beauparc Group applied to turn Cotesbach Mechanical Biological Treatment unit at the Gibbet Lane quarry into a waste-processing centre.
They want to process 150,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial rubbish a year while recovering recyclable materials.
Natasha said the “Bio-Digester” has been shut for four years.
“This masterplan’s got a green strapline – but it’s anything but green.
“The abandoned facility is on the Leicestershire/ Warwickshire border, right on our doorstep here in Shawell as well as nudging neighbouring Cotesbach,” she said.
“It sits just 450 metres from the nearest house in Shawell and 700 metres from the village centre.
“The old bio-digester was shut in 2016 because of the racket, flies and smell.
“It used to process 50,000 tons of rubbish a year.
“But this new unit would handle a staggering 150,000 tons of trash every year – three times the nightmare!
“We’d be blown away by 600 HGV trips a week thundering in and out.
“And the whole operation will run around the clock – seven days a week.
“It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Natasha warned that local country roads such as the A5 and A426 will grind to a halt under the sheer weight of traffic.
“Massive 45-ton open-backed, diesel-polluting trucks transporting 150,000 tons of rubbish into our backyard using roads such as the A5 and A426.
“They’ll also be clogging up the infamous pinch-point of the Gibbet roundabout.
“That’s already paralysed by lorries from Magna Park, DIRFT and other local distribution centres as well as thousands of commuters,” she declared.
“This monster fleet of wagons will have to trundle along Gibbet Lane, accessed oﬀ Gibbet roundabout.
“Gibbet Lane is a narrow, rural access road for Shawell and local villages.
“It is already dangerous for traﬃc, cyclists and walkers as it’s choked by giant HGVs pouring in and out of the Tarmac quarry and landﬁll plant just moments away from Shawell.
“Enough is enough!”
You can find out more about the Sustainable Shawell protest at www.sustainableshawell.co.uk and on Twitter: @shawellsustain
“The deadline for objections to Leicestershire County Council planning department is Tuesday June 30 so you need to act now if you want to support us in trying to stop this plant going ahead,” said Natasha.
A spokesman for Dublin-based Beauparc told the Mail: “The facility has planning permission to operate today.
“However, when it was acquired by Beauparc in 2016, the site was mothballed due to previous failings aligned with the currently-approved processes.
“These failings impacted upon the local community.
“Beauparc can confirm the proposed use will not involve any more vehicles on the road than there is permission to operate already. We can also confirm that it not our intention to import waste from overseas.”
He added: “Beauparc have undertaken an extensive review of the previous operation at the site.
“The proposed application includes considerable improvements and changes to the operation which will require significant investment to be delivered.
“Beauparc has had consultations with Shawell and Cotesbach Parish Councils and understand their concerns.
“We will continue to work with communities around the facility and act as a responsible waste contractor.”
A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns about a planning application for a new recycling plant in Shawell, near Lutterworth, which is being considered and will take into account the Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
“Details of the application can be found by visiting leicestershire.planning-register.co.uk/Disclaimer?returnUrl=%2F
“At this stage we are unable to comment on whether the proposals are likely to be acceptable as all relevant matters still need to be considered as part of the planning application process.”
The council said the decision will be taken by the county council’s Development Control and Regulatory Board in due course.
“A meeting date has not yet been identified as the application is in its early stages of consideration,” said the authority.
A Harborough District Council spokesman said: “We are aware of the application from Beauparc for a waste processing site at Shawell.
“We are currently considering the proposal and will make a representation to Leicestershire County Council, who will determine the outcome of this application.”