Controversial plans for industrial recycling site at Butterwell given green light
HomeHome > News > Controversial plans for industrial recycling site at Butterwell given green light

Controversial plans for industrial recycling site at Butterwell given green light

Mar 29, 2023

The disposal point ceased operating back in 2016 but will be brought back into operation with materials being exported by rail

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A former coal disposal site is set to be brought back into use after plans for an industrial recycling centre were given the green light.

The proposals will see the former Butterwell Disposal Point at Longhirst, near Morpeth, receive so-called primary aggregates - materials such as sand, stone and slate used for creating buildings and structures - brought in by road and exported by rail.

Soil materials and secondary aggregates - materials such as clay, broken concrete and chalk used for making asphalt, drainage and concrete - will also be made on-site by recycling construction and demolition work. Plans also include the addition of pump houses, weighbridge and a wheel wash as well as an office, workshops and security office.

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Butterwell, which sits 1.3km west of Linton and 2km south-east of Ulgham, was used as a disposal point for coal and other materials between 1976 and 2016. New processing equipment for the materials would include a "crushing plant", two mobile screens and a washing plant.

A total of 11 objections had been received by local residents, with concerns ranging from the impact on air quality to concerns over ecological impacts. Speaking at Tuesday's meeting of Northumberland County Council's strategic planning committee, local ward councillor David Towns outlined these concerns.

He said: "I and most of the other local residents have no objections at all to the principle of aggregate recycling, and I recognise the attractiveness of this site for such operations.

"However, just because a site has cost-saving applications for the application, that doesn't mean that this county council should allow industrial processes to recommence in what is a very rural area, especially given the sensitive nature of the local environment and local ecology."

Members of the committee were told that the site would see an additional 35 vehicle uses an hour on the C125. The report stated that material would be brought in by road and exported by rail via a "rail loading pad" retained from previous use.

The council's head of planning, Rob Murfin, conceded that it was a "really odd" application, and added: "I don't think we will be seeing this type of application again."

Despite residents' concerns, the plans were recommended for approval by council planners, and the committee unanimously agreed to back the officer's recommendations.

Coun Richard Dodd said: "Here we will have a facility that is green and ticks all the boxes for recycling. It is a former industrial site.

"I welcome something like this that is a facility in our backyard in our county to bring material that's going to help our roads and other construction. We're the quarry for the whole of Tyneside and we have a duty to have our own facility with something like this here."

Chairman Trevor Thorne added: "I'm very supportive of this. It is part of the levelling up process. We are bringing a brownfield site back into use."

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