Powys Council staff hopeful over Abermule recycling facility

SENIOR Powys Council staff are hopeful that a controversial recycling facility on the outskirts of Abermule will be fully operational by April.

At a meeting of the Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee on Monday, January 30, councillors were told that a fully operational site would mean a £100,000 saving next year for the council.

This saving would be part of cuts and savings proposals worth just under £2.8million put forward by the Highways, Transport and Recycling department,

Earlier this month the cabinet set their draft budget which includes increasing Council Tax by five per cent.

The council needs to make cuts and savings as part of the overall drive to find £16.4million to bridge its funding gap for 2023/2024.

The controversial £4.6 million North Powys Bulking Facility is supposed to receive recycling collected from households across Montgomeryshire, where it will be squashed together or “bulked,” so that it can be more easily transported to processors to turn into new products.

But, before that can happen the council need to receive an Environment Permit from environment body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to run the site.

Cllr Arwel Jones (Independent) asked when the facility would be up and running.

Head of highways, transport and recycling Matt Perry said that the refuse fleet crews for both Welshpool and Newtown were all now based in Abermule.

Mr Perry said: “But due to the permits not being finalised, we’re unable to drop off any sort of waste recycling.”

Cllr Adrian Jones (Conservative) said: “I’d heard that the thing holding us up is the odour problem that might affect the (business) units there.”

Mr Perry said that was “confident” that everything is being put in place to combat the odour issue and would satisfy NRW.

“We’ve provided everything we’ve been asked for and we’re all hopeful that we will get in there this financial year, ” said Mr Perry

Cllr Karl Lewis (Conservative) asked where the recycling was being taken at the moment.

Mr Perry explained that it was being bulked up at Welshpool and the £100,000 saving is not to have to pay another company for: “doing something we should be doing ourselves.”

Mr Perry said “We are so keen to get in there before April for a number of reasons, but it’s down to NRW to get it (environment permit) over the line.”

In January, NRW asked for more information from the council as part of the Environment Permit application process.

They wanted more details about the Odour Impact Assessment, the Fire Prevention & Mitigation Plan including the 250,000-litre water tank as well as whether the Accident Management Plan included dealing with flooding.

Powys have until Friday, February 2 to submit the required information to NRW.

In March last year, NRW rejected the council’s permit application due to concerns about fire safety.

Powys have always stressed that the facility is needed so that they can hit Welsh Government recycling targets.

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