Environment Agency said firm involved in new Worksop recycling plant plan was repeatedly 'in breach' of permit rules

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The Environment Agency has accused a company involved in plans for a new plastic recycling plant of being “in breach” of its environment permit on several occasions, official documents shared with our sister title The Yorkshire Post have revealed.

Envale UK is one of two companies planning to build the The Shireoaks Plastics Recycling Centre & Energy Recovery Facility on a former waste processing site in Worksop. Since November 2020, the firm has held a permit to process legacy waste on the site, but not to bring on new waste.

Documents recovered by local residents via a Freedom of Information Request and seen by The Yorkshire Post show that the Environment Agency previously accused Envale UK of being in breach of its permits on multiple occasions.

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The Environment Agency and Envale have now both said that the company is now operating in compliance with its permit.

A group of Worksop residents are campaigning to block the proposed The Shireoaks Plastics Recycling Centre & Energy Recovery Facility. Image shows residents outside the proposed site with local MP Brendan Clarke-SmithA group of Worksop residents are campaigning to block the proposed The Shireoaks Plastics Recycling Centre & Energy Recovery Facility. Image shows residents outside the proposed site with local MP Brendan Clarke-Smith
A group of Worksop residents are campaigning to block the proposed The Shireoaks Plastics Recycling Centre & Energy Recovery Facility. Image shows residents outside the proposed site with local MP Brendan Clarke-Smith

Between March 19, 2021 and May 6, 2022, Envale was issued with four notices from the Environment Agency which said the firm had breached its environment permit for failing to prevent fire risk. The Environment Agency said this was due to the company not fencing off the site completely, and that this posed a fire risk due to the possibility of arson occurring at the site.

On February 17 2023, Envale was issued with a non-compliance notice from the Environment Agency after inspectors found what they believed to be new waste on the site.

Inspectors said they had found waste including a “black/grey material” believed to be tyre shredding/crumb and an unidentified white material, which both appeared “distinct” from legacy waste.

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In internal emails, an inspector said that they had seen a sheeted vehicle containing white material entering the site.

On April 5 2023, Environment Agency inspectors also said they had found what they believed to be a “fresh load of shredded rubber tyres”. An email from Nottingham Council said that an inspector had found shredded rubber with plastic tags from February 17 2023. They state that it is "clear" this is not waste which has been on site “for some time”.

An email sent in April 2023 to Nottingham Council from CP Environmental, a company associated with Envale, said: “In regards the waste which you saw on site, there was never any intention of processing this. The waste was for another facility but due to a breakdown they couldn’t take the waste. So the driver could continue with further jobs to remove waste from Worksop this load was tipped but then reloaded and removed.”

On May 31 2023, however, during a visit from the Environment Agency and the council, inspectors said they had found that the “new” waste which was identified on February 17 had not been removed and was now underneath a layer of legacy waste.

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Envale UK said last month that it had not brought new waste on to the site.

A spokesperson for Envale UK said: “We are cooperating with the Environment Agency, which has confirmed that our operations comply with our permit and have not violated any regulations.

“The Shireoaks Plastics Recycling Centre & Energy Recovery Facility will stop up to 20,000 tonnes per annum of non-recyclable plastic waste from going to landfill and generate up to 2.5 Megawatts of electricity - enough to power over 650 homes every year. The facilities are an answer to Nottinghamshire’s plastic and residual waste problem.”

A spokesperson for the The Environment Agency told The Yorkshire Post in April: “We can confirm that following site visits Envale Ltd are operating in compliance with the permit for the site.

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“Under that permit, they are able to store legacy waste and move it about the site. We will continue to regulate the site to ensure compliance with the environmental permit.

​A County Council spokesperson said at the end of April: “We are aware that a small amount of additional waste was imported to the site last year which has subsequently been removed.

“The County Council regularly inspects the site with the landowner and is also in regular dialogue with the Environment Agency, which also regularly monitors the site.

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