Waste firm defends itself

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A SHEFFIELD company has responded to criticism of its plans to develop a green waste processing plant on the former Norton Aerodrome site.

Sue France, of not-for-profit firm Green Estate, spoke as the proposals were discussed last night by residents and councillors at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s South Community Assembly.

Residents say they fear the proposed temporary development could lead to the creation of a permanent facility including an anaerobic digestion plant for processing organic waste, causing unpleasant smells.

Ms France, chief executive of Green Estate, said: “It is a very poor thing that Sheffield, supposedly a city that strongly supports recycling and wants to be considered green, is currently transporting 90 per cent of its non-hazardous garden and civic green waste in lorries out of the city for treatment and possible disposal.

“Cuttings from its urban forest are being transported all the way for processing to chip in Barnsley before loading back in a lorry to bring back to fuel the new biomass boilers in Sheffield’s homes and schools.

“The proposal is for producing compost from Green waste within the old hangar at Norton Aerodrome and chipping logs into wood chip on the pad by Bochum Parkway. We have absolutely nothing to do with anaerobic disgestion. It is an utterly different process, not something that were involved with, and which would be something that could be considered controversial.

“It is covered by completely different Environmental Agency permissions, may not be feasible in Sheffield and requires considerable and serious investment - none of which applies to us or our application.

“We did commission a little feasibility study for it at our site on Manor Lane - and of course all city councils are looking at the feasibility of it for future energy production - as they should do - but it’s not something contained in our lease, our business plan, our planning permission or our permitting licence.”

But she added: “What we have said is that the small temporary operation could spin into a longer- term funding stream to manage the whole site as a nature and heritage park, similar to how we operate Sheffield Manor Lodge.

“A small scale green business has acted here as the core and catalyst to restore a recently totally derelict site into something that is a real neighbourhood asset.

“The Norton site is huge and a future scheme could easily incorporate eco housing, alongside a park and ride scheme and our composting unit provide an education centre, cafe, park and public events.”

The council community assembly met at Valley Park Primary School, opposite the aerodrome site, on Norton Avenue.