Green Party in England & Wales
South Norfolk green activist wins five-year pollution battle
John Chapman, of South Norfolk Green Party, welcomed Wenesday's proposal by Ex-Press Plastics to relocate their factory and the decision by South Norfolk Council to regulate the company should they stay at their present site.
Ex-Press Plastics, a fibre reinforced-plastics company, currently situated in Loddon, Norfolk, had ignored complaints from residents over a 17-year period. In 2000 Mr Chapman launched a campaign for the factory's styrene emissions to be reduced. This led to the company's emissions being monitored by South Norfolk Council and in 2001 significant amounts of benzene being found in the vicinity of the factory. Mr Chapman campaigned for action to be taken on the benzene and in July 2005 a limit value for the benzene was introduced for the industry sector by DEFRA as a result of his campaign. In January 2004 Mr Chapman met with Ex-Press and agreed to support a proposal for the factory to be given outline planning consent for residential development of their site, to enable the company to relocate. Mr Chapman led local residents in support of Ex-Press's proposal and they were awarded consent for redevelopment.
On Wednesday evening, Ex-Press applied to Waveney District Council for a factory site at Ellough and once again Mr Chapman has written in support of the company to help enable them to conclude their relocation to a site more suited to their industrial process.
In another development, South Norfolk Council last week issued a licence to Ex-Press Plastics which included a requirement for them to construct a 25 metre stack should the company choose to remain in Loddon. Mr Chapman and Ex-Press Plastics first proposed the stack jointly in 2001, as a solution to reducing Ex-Press's styrene emissions, but South Norfolk Council delayed its implementation for five years.
Mr Chapman said: "I am absolutely delighted with the outcome that is a win for all those involved - local residents living close to the factory, the company, and their workforce whose jobs will now be secure. Ex-Press have been able to relocate to a more suitable site, resulting in at least 25 affordable houses being made available in Loddon, Benzene emissions from FRP installations are now for the first time being properly regulated and a method for reducing styrene emissions that enables companies in the FRP sector to employ the Best Available Technique (a 25 metre stack) has been incorporated in a licence for the first time in the UK. By working co-operatively with the company and the council over a long period from 2000 we have been able to achieve a success which had eluded the council for the previous 12 years. This is a good example of Green support for business in helping find solutions to what had been an intractable problem."