A landfill site in Fylde has been given permission to continue operating for another ten years.
The tip, on Anna’s Road in Westby, has had its life lengthened on several occasions since it opened in 1981.
The latest extension was granted by Lancashire County Council’s development control committee after members heard that the former clay pit was nowhere near being filled - because a recycling facility on the same site had swallowed much of the material previously destined to be dumped.
Since the late 1990s, the operation has increasingly focused on the extraction of recyclable waste from demolition works, meaning only one of the twelve ‘cells’ at the site has been filled to capacity. The tip will now accept inert waste from other sources in an attempt to speed up the process - but the area will not be fully restored even within the new decade-long extension.
Over the past three years, just over 2,000 tonnes of waste has been deposited, but that volume is now planned to increase to 40,000 tonnes every single year. At that rate, landfilling work would be complete within 13 years.
Before the debate began, a row broke out over claims by the tip operator that one committee member had vowed to “make it his life’s work” to have the application turned down.
Paul Hayhurst, who is also county councillor for the Fylde West division where the tip is located, denied the allegation, dating back to 2014 - but admitted that some residents would have been “delighted” if he had.
“I never said anything of this nature - I’m very careful when I say anything that I don’t predetermine an application,” County Cllr Hayhurst said.
He and site manager Andrew Porter each claimed to have a witness which supported their version of events.
Members also heard from a local resident objecting to the proposed time extension. Denise Hollowell claimed that part of the site was previously a field and not a clay pit - and so was ineligible for the activity being carried out. She also complained that a wheel-washing facility for HGVs was ineffective - because it was not being emptied often enough.
“It’s like driving through silt, but because it’s not big clumps of mud, everybody thinks it’s acceptable,” Ms. Hollowell said.
But Andrew Porter insisted that the tip was a good neighbour, contributing to the local economy and environment.
“[The site] is down below road level and well-screened - lots of people drive past us and don’t even know we’re there,” Mr. Porter said.
Requests by two committee members for a site visit were voted down and the extended operation of the tip was approved by a majority of seven votes to three.