It’s hard to visualise what a waste recycling plant, deep in the Loxwood woodland might look and sound and smell like. But to give residents some idea of what may appear if a planning application was successful, we took a look at a local Construction & Demolition waste operator Penfold Verrall, based adjacent to the A24 at Dial Post.
This purpose-built site has a recycling focus and their recycling in action video gives a good overview of what the heavy plant equipment could look like.
Obviously, there are different capacities of crushing and screening equipment (some larger and some smaller) but watch this video which shows the crushing and screening equipment required to process Construction and Demolition waste, without any background music track.
You’ll see where demolition waste is fed into a jaw crusher which breaks up the large pieces. Waste is then fed into a screener where it’s sorted into different size material. From here the material travels out on conveyors to stockpiles. This is the type and style of operation which Loxwood Clay Pit may get permission for in the woodland. At time of writing there are no details on the exact equipment they will use.
At present, in pre-planning consultation, we don’t know exactly the type or size of equipment which Loxwood Clay Pit Ltd may select if their planning application is successful. Their new website states:
“The annual inputs/outputs from the site are planned to be circa 25,000 tonnes construction materials throughput for treatment 12,500 tonnes used for restoration and 12,500 tonnes recycled (output)".
But what is certain is that there would be no chance of hearing peaceful birdsong in the woodland any longer, if a planning application were approved. Disturbance levels to the wildlife and ecology would rocket skyward from zero to extremely intrusive levels, compared with current levels.
Protreat spoke about the Circular Economy as rationale for consideration of such a recycling plant in their first webinar. However, as the European Environment Agency briefing report “Construction and demolition waste: challenges and opportunities in a circular economy” January 2020 states “Circular economy-inspired interventions focus not only on increasing recycling quantitatively but also on:
keeping materials in the economy as long as possible
maintaining their intrinsic value/quality as high as possible
reducing hazardous substances in products and waste
This would result in greater prevention of C&DW (as materials are kept in the economy as long as possible) and in a reduction in the (less circular) recovery of low-grade material.”
In other words, C&D waste recycling isn’t as cut a dried a solution as it may be made out to be.
What can we do?
For now, all we can do is wait for the next webinar (December 15th at 1800), to see if Protreat share any more insight and details about the proposed plans. But you can register your objection to any commercial activity in the woodlands by signing the petition at change.org or sign up to receive further info from StopTheClayPit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Social media – links below.