RESIDENTS who suffered from a waste plant’s odour issues over the summer have welcomed the approval of plans to expand and improve the operation.

Rudheath ward member Cllr Val Armstrong told a Cheshire West and Chester Council planning committee that unpleasant smells from the Orsted – formerly Dong – Renescience plant at Lostock Gralam had caused issues in recent months.

But plans to extend various parts of the plant, and install new odour-eliminating equipment, was unanimously backed last week.

Cllr Armstrong told planning committee members: “I spoke in opposition to the original application, on account of the fact that they were applying for an increase in HGV traffic by 90 movements a day, which would take the movements along King Street to 650 movements each day.

“King Street is a narrow road with residential properties on each side of it. The planning application was granted and DONG – now Orsted – have built their plant.

“In many ways [Orsted] have been good neighbours but over the summer there have been issues with unpleasant odours. Orsted was responsive with replacing a filter and keeping in touch with residents.

“As the extension is aiming to reduce odour problems and there is no increase in traffic, Rudheath residents are keen for this to be granted and work started as soon as possible.”

The plans centre around being able to bring in replacement processing equipment in, increasing efficiency when breakdowns occur.

This means there will be no increase in the amount of waste or traffic generated by the plant as a result of the expansion.

Despite this, Cllr Armstrong said she could not address committee members without mentioning ‘severe and serious’ concerns surrounding traffic arising from this and similar plants in the area.

Daniel Smythe, speaking on behalf of Orsted, explained that additional floorspace was needed to bring in two further ‘ballistic separators’, making a total of three and improving efficiency.

Mr Smythe said: “The proposal hinges on the ballistic separator, which sits at the heart of this process. There is only one [ballistic separator] in the current process and so if this breaks down it causes a bottleneck. Orsted want to replace this with three ballistic separators – one working, one in maintenance and one on standby.”

The plans will also see the floorspace expanded and rationalised to increase efficiency, and the odour control system will be upgraded through work with the Environment Agency.

The plant aims to convert up to 144,000 tonnes of waste a year into 6.3 MWe of renewable energy.