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Blackburn man angry over 'ocean' of plastic waste stacked next to home
THIS is the sight that greets Howard Hudson every time he walks into his backyard.
As he peers over his wall he is confronted by an ‘ocean’ of plastic recycling waste.
Mr Hudson said: “It is an absolute disgrace, it looks really awful. I can’t carry on living like this.”
V10 Polymers which owns the site in Queens Park, Blackburn, is not doing anything illegal.
Because the firm has been operating legally at the site for many years it is not controvening any planning rules.
It said its recycling operations met Environment Agency and borough requirements.
But Mr Hudson and his neighbours in adjacent Derham Street say they have to contend with constant noise from heavy lorries going to and from the neighbouring recycling site and rats scurrying across the mountains of rubbish from the canal towards their homes.
They are calling for action from their local councillors and the Environment Agency to prevent the operations of V10 Polymers making their lives a misery.
Mr Hudson, 57, said the expansion of the firm’s Rockliffe Works in Paterson Street had seen the mountain of plastic waste grow and brought an infestation of rats to his and nearby homes.
Neighbour Diane Hargreaves, who has been in Derham Street for just three weeks, said: “I knew V10 was there when I moved in, but cannot believe how bad it is.”
Queens Park councillors Salim Mulla and Faryad Hussain, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for Environment, have promised to investigate the residents’ concerns.
The Environment Agency, which licenses the plastics recycling firm set up in 1968, has also launched its own enquiries.
Mr Hudson, who has lived in Derham Street for around 20 years, said the increasing activity at the site was making his family’s life a misery.
He said he feared it had caused the value of his Blackburn home to drop by £20,000.
He claimed he can no longer stand living next to the eyesore, but cannot sell his home since the firm ‘made amendments’ a few years ago.
Mr Hudson said: “This is the mess that I see over my back yard wall and every morning through the bedroom window.
“Since the company has grown, residents around here have been left with noisy wagons and this eyesore. We are going to start a petition and send it to the council. I was hoping to emigrate next year but I will never be able to sell the house.
“My son is in the building trade and he said the house has devalued by £20,000. The council needs to do something.
“When I moved in it was not like this. I just don’t know what to do because it’s really getting me down.
“There are rats everywhere I have had to buy three cats to keep them away.”
Mr Hudson said when he first moved in to the property, the company, which has been there for twenty years, was ‘quiet and tidy’.
Mrs Hargreaves said: “The view is dreadful and the noise from lorries, especially in the morning is terrible. I want the company or the council to do something about it. Even a wall or screen between us and the recycling site would be an improvement.”
V10 Polymers manager David Holt said that the company have the been trading the same way as usual.
He said: “ We have controlled facilities for our waste and the items that we recycle disposed of accordingly. And as for the rats we are situated right next to the canal.”
According to the company’s website the firm handles in excess of 5,000 tonnes of plastic scrap per year.
Coun Hussain said: “I will look into this both as a local councillor and council executive board member for the environment.
“As local councillor I am there to represent the interests of the householders and as member for the environment to make sure the company is adhering to all the rules and regulations it should.
“I shall be investigating this and talking to residents, the company and council officials to see what can be done.”
Coun Mulla said:”I shall be talking with Faryad and we as councillors for Queen Park will investigate this and see what can be done to solve any problems.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We have taken a complaint from a local resident relating to this site and are currently carrying out investigations.”
Blackburn with Darwen planning chairman Jim Smith said: “As the firm has been there for some time, we can do nothing in planning terms.
“It is about ensuring it meets environmental standards and the council mediating between the company and local residents on issues like this.
“A long standing industrial operation in the middle of a residential area is not uncommon in Blackburn.”