CONCERNED residents say proposed changes at a recycling site will be a hazard to their health.

Mercia Waste has submitted plans to officially make a number of alterations at the EnviroSort site off Woodbury Lane in Norton near Worcester – most of which have already been in practise for several years.

In its application to the county council, Mercia Waste says it needs more space for storage and vehicle loading but locals say this will spread airborne bacteria further.

Rebecca Smith, 37, from Littleworth, was concerned the recycling plant had been breaching the conditions of the planning permission for a number of years.

She said: “If I was to get in my car now and speed, there would be repercussions. I would be fined. Why do they not get fined? What controls are in place?

“If they can just do what they want without the permission, then how do we know what they have been doing for years? Who is keeping an eye on it? Who knows? We don’t have any idea what they could have done.

“There is a school and a nursery nearby as well as a care home, and they’re building the Parkway station.

“We already have a big problem with flies. Interestingly, it has got worse and worse in the last few years.

“So if they have been breaching the planning permission in the last few years then that is probably what has contributed to it.”

Campaigners The J7 Waste Action Group say Mercia Waste rejected its idea to build an extension – an alternative they say would reduce the spread of bacteria in the air and minimise the problems of noise, flies and vermin.

Recyclables from across Worcestershire and Herefordshire – including cans, glass, plastic bottles, paper and card – are taken to the site to be separated and eventually bulked together.

The waste management company says the lack of space means full containers have to be placed outside before they are then collected and, despite this going on for several years, doing so is in breach of the planning permission.

The new planning application will allow main access doors to be left open whilst rubbish is loaded and unloaded because of longer trailers.

It would also allow doors at the site to be left open to allow extra material to be stored outside.

Bales of plastic and metal could also be stored outside as well as glass and rejected material in skips – all to be collected at later dates.

Mercia Waste wants to leave entrance doors open to allow longer lorries to drop off waste at the site. It says the lack of space means the lorries cannot fit fully inside the building. Again, this has been happening for some time and is also in breach of planning permission.

The planning application says a new noise assessment found the proposed amendments would have no adverse impact on the surrounding area.

With regards to odour, Mercia Waste says it only deals with dry recyclables which typically don’t smell as bad.

Whilst it recognises that some cans and bottles may still have food and drink in them and that new measures will permit the storage of waste, Mercia Waste say it has been storing waste outside and opening its door for years without any complaints.

The application concludes: “The proposed amendments to the EnviroSort and its operation have been duly considered and would not give rise to any significant environmental effects. In reality, a number of the changes for which planning is now sought, have been taking place for some years without compliant.”