Last night, Bury Council’s planning committee heard the arguments about the proposed additional landfill that will see 1.7 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste transported from across the North West and beyond – by road – to Ramsbottom – with an expected 24,000 vehicle movements each year for the next 10 to 20 years.
Residents know that the current infill is nearing an end. The hole in the ground is full. They were looking forward to having a quieter and cleaner environment with the quarry restored to its former glory – on the pennine hills and in the greenbelt. Yet they have been handed a planning application for landfill which has been dressed up as a green environmental scheme – but it is so flawed that even the Green Party have objected to it.
Week after week, year after year, as a ward councillor, I have had complaints of lorries and trucks going to and from Fletcher Bank, thundering through our village at 50 or 60 mph with barely covered loads, spewing dirt and dust and rubble onto our roads. I should know, I live on that road and witness it on a daily basis.
You only have to drive through Shuttleworth to see the dirt and dust covered houses, cars and footpaths. You will see the pothole ridden roads, that are sinking under the weight of these lorries. I even took a photograph on Friday of a 44 tonne HGV owned by the applicants, speeding down Peel Brow. A route that the applicants have not even considered in their application. They conveniently only mention the M66 motorway as an access route.
In terms of the planning application itself, the applicants filed an environmental impact assessment – a joint report covering both this and the anaerobic digestion plant making it difficult for residents to separate the two issues. They have produced an assessment that residents say is riddled with inaccurate data, misleading statements and out of date information!
Take the traffic data that they rely on. It is 12 years old – dating back to 2001. Do they not realise how much extra traffic is on our roads in Ramsbottom now? The air quality data is flawed. They rely on weather data from Manchester Airport – hardly a comparison to Ramsbottom. Furthermore, the Council’s air monitoring station in Ramsbottom has not been working since 2009.
The Chair of RAWS and I made passionate pleas to the Planning Committee to refuse this application. There is simply no benefit to Shuttleworth or Ramsbottom. Residents have said – enough is enough.
Unfortunately, the committee voted to grant planning permission.
7 Labour Councillors voted in favour with 3 Conservative and 1 Lib Dem voting against. Ramsbottom Councillor, Joanne Columbine, who is a member of the planning committee did not attend to vote.
•Councillor K Audin – Lab – Did not attend
•Councillor J Columbine – Lab – Did not attend
•Councillor M Bailey – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor S Carter – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor A J Cummings (Chair) – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor D Jones – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor A Matthews – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor S Smith – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor S Southworth – Lab – Voted in favour of landfill
•Councillor Y Wright – Con – Voted against landfill
•Councillor R Caserta – Con – Voted against landfill
•Councillor M Hankey – Con – Voted against landfill
•Councillor D O’Hanlon – Lib Dem – Voted against landfill
I am very disappointed at this result and would like to thank all those residents who have helped in the campaign – particularly those committee members from RAWS (Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site) and everyone who has delivered leaflets or raised awareness of the issues.
We must now move on to the November 12th Planning Committee meeting where the Anaerobic Digestion plant will be considered.
I would urge all residents to turn up on the night at 6.45 at Bury Town Hall so that we can make our voices heard. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.