Owners of the UK’s largest animal rendering plant have lodged plans to build a renewable energy facility in the green belt.
John Pointon and Sons wants to generate and electricity through the venture, highlighting how it be much better for the environment than consuming ‘million of pounds’ worth of fossil fuels’ at its Cheddleton site each year.
The firm says the move will also cut operating costs and safeguard jobs. Now it has applied to Staffordshire County Council for permission to build the new facility.
A statement submitted with the application says: “John Pointon and Sons Limited is one of very few rendering plants in the UK, and also the largest single plant in the country.
“The operations at the site provide a specialist service for the treatment of food wastes, and by-products from the food production industry. The energy demands for the operations and processes undertaken therein are substantial.
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“With a view to minimising the environmental impact of their meat and bone meal rendering operations, to safeguard future employment at the plant and associated supply industries and to minimise costs, John Pointon and Sons have approached specialist consultants to investigate the opportunities for developing a biomass fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant on the Cheddleton site.”
This facility would generate heat through steam and also provide electricity.
Michael Bowen, a district and parish councillor for Cheddleton, said: “It is going to power most of the factory and they are going to use some of their bio-products to fuel it. That will reduce trips on the road and make it more self-sufficient. It will remove a product from the roads, so it should be good.
“Pointons are working very hard to keep on top of the latest technology and they are trying very hard to be good neighbours.
“Things have definitely improved. In the last three months, we had seven complaints, which was down from 17 in the previous three months and from 50 or 60 as it used to be. A lot of the time, the complaints don’t actually relate to Pointons, but they get blamed. They pick up any spillage on the road now.”
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Fellow Cheddleton parish councillor Robert Gee added: “I’ve lived in Cheddleton all my life and seen Pointons grow from the very early days.
“Things have changed for the better, but it always seems very difficult to stop them doing what they want because there are so few rendering plants in the country. It will be very interesting to see the plans rolled out in full, as it goes through the planning process.”