A PETITION against controversial plans to expand a waste recycling plant has attracted hundreds of signatures.
North East Waste Products is seeking planning permission for its new storage area and the installation of industrial machinery at its current centre on Hetton Lyons Industrial Estate.
The operation involves the sorting and storage of inert construction and excavation waste, as well as the use of mobile crushing equipment.
The retrospective change of use application for the site, which was previously vacant, is set to be considered by Sunderland City Council in the coming weeks.
However, some householders who live nearby have raised concerns that it could lead to increased air and noise pollution, with a petition against the proposals getting 350 signatures.
“The petition really shows the strength of feeling against the plans,” said objector Kay Rowham.
“There is a lot of concern, not only from residents.
“We have signatures from visiting walkers, fisherman and birdwatchers to Hetton Country Park, which is near the site.
“They are worried about dust and debris that will be blown from it.
“Parents are also concerned about the amount of heavy traffic that will pass the local school on its way to the plant.”
Campaigners have sent more than 400 leaflets to homes in the neighbourhood informing them about the plans.
“We hope to gather as much support as possible,” said Ms Rowham, who lives near the plant.
However, the firm has moved to reassure residents over issues such as waste reception and handling, traffic management and noise control, and dust control and monitoring.
Marco Muia, director of consultants Oaktree Environmental, which helped produce a detailed design and access statement for the project, said the expansion was vital in order for the firm to keep up with demand.
“The rise in landfill costs and the introduction of the landfill tax has increased the need for recycling and recovering operations, to reclaim a wide range of wastes and reusable products.
“Current UK recycling rates are low, but it is anticipated that in excess of 90 per cent of certain projects managed by the applicant could be recycled, and the site could provide employment for a further four people.”
The company was unavailable for comment.