Hill Holt Wood’s statement on the proposed meat rendering plant by Lincoln Proteins Ltd, Folly Lane, Norton Disney, Lincoln
Hill Holt Wood are opposing the above-mentioned proposal for a number of reasons.
1. We feel that this is an industrial development within a rural setting, which will have a significantly negative impact on the rural setting
While recognising that this sort of facility needs to be sited somewhere, it is our view that it should be located in an already industrialised setting.
We feel that the development has the potential to be detrimental to the surrounding environment in a number of ways. Due to the sheer size of this proposed development coupled with extremely bright lighting and its location on a prominent ridge, we are concerned about serious adverse effects to the landscape that would be harmful to the character and appearance of this unspoiled rural location. We also feel that the proposed landscaping scheme to mitigate the negative effect in the landscape is flawed because planting and landscaping to partially screen this scale of development would only have any effect after a considerable number of years of growth and maturation.
2. We have serious concerns about the impact of the proposed development on particular protected species located in or near to the proposed the development site
Areas that are less than 250m from the proposed site are known to hold large numbers of bats with a diversity of species that is unrivalled in the East Midlands. Matt Cook, a Natural England Licensed Bat Ecologist, has carried our surveys around the proposed development night and has praised the existing woodland reserve for its protection of this species. He recorded the presence all 11 species of bat that might realistically be found in the East Midlands in an area of less than a km2. He is keen to undertake further studies of the bats at Big Wood, which is part of a national survey, and feels that Big Wood should gain SSSI status. He noted that of particular interest are the colonies of the rare Barbastelle bat, which are at the northernmost edge of its range in the UK. As a consequence of its rarity, Barbastelle bats in particular are afforded additional protection. The proposed plan has not recognised this, which is of significant concern to us. Hill Holt Wood and Norton Bigwood are carefully managed by ecological professionals to ensure the woodland maximises beneficial habitat for numerous bat species. Given the current global concern over habitat loss, human intrusion into the natural world and its effects on biodiversity, we feel that the proposed development does not adequately represent a plan that is appropriate for a forward-thinking, sustainable and well-balanced society.
3. We are concerned that the proposed plan does not adequately reflect the historic significance of the proposed development site
The application fails to acknowledge, understand, and assess the importance of the rich historic landscape within which the site is located. There are the remains of a Roman Villa in the adjacent field which has the status of a scheduled monument and therefore is afforded legal protection.
These sorts of ancient monument sites are of national importance and the potential for their future excavation and development must not be compromised by the building of a huge industrial plant.
4. We continue to have significant concerns about the impact of the proposed development on students at Hill Holt Wood
Lincoln Proteins have stated that Hill Holt Wood will be adversely affected by the noise and odour from the proposed plant. Given that many Hill Holt wood students have Educational Health Care Plans and are on the autism spectrum, this sort of sensory disturbance could have an adverse impact on their learning and well-being. We are concerned that this will have a significant and ongoing impact on their mental health, and that any interruptions in learning as a result of sensory overload will negatively impact on their future lives.
5. We do not feel that the concerns raised in the previous Refusal of Planning Permission document have been adequately addressed
The Refusal of Planning Permission document stated that the equipment and survey techniques used by the developers were not as rigorous as they should have been; we cannot see that this has changed, and therefore it cannot be concluded that the development would not have significant adverse impacts on the local ecosystems.
6. We feel that the proposed plan contravenes planning processes put in place to protect the rural environment
Local planning authorities must prepare a local plan which sets planning policies in a local authority area. These are especially important when deciding planning applications and were introduced as part of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. There is no mention of the proposed development in the Local Plan set out by the local authority North Kesteven District Council.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that the planning system should be genuinely plan-led. Succinct and up-to-date plans should provide a positive vision for the future of each area and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social, and environmental priorities We feel that this development is not aligned with the NPPF.