A NEW wastewater treatment works is set to be built in the Forest of Bowland.

The facility will be constructed on farmland alongside an existing sewage plant in Chipping. The current works, which were built 45 years ago, will then be largely demolished.

The project was given the go-ahead by Lancashire County Council’s development control committee, although final permission will depend on the Environment Agency being satisfied with flood mitigation measures.

United Utilities is creating the operation to ensure the site complies with more stringent regulations controlling discharge, coming into force in December 2023.

It will also expand the capacity of the plant, enabling it to cope with an expected increase in the population of the area it serves.

Papers presented to the committee acknowledge that the replacement buildings will have “a greater landscape impact” because of an increase in their size and number compared to those found at the existing facility.

However, County Hall planning officers concluded that landscaping proposals would ensure the site was sufficiently screened to protect local views.

Principal planning officer Jonathan Haine said the reasons behind the development meant there was “justification” for it in what is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

A new access road will be created to the site, but several committee members raised concerns over the suitability of the route leading to it, Longridge Road.

Ribble Valley North East county councillor Ged Mirfin said that the C-classification road was “not in the best of condition”.

United Utilities will now be obliged to monitor the state of the road during construction and report back to the highways department at the county council, after committee members supported an additional condition being attached to the planning permission.

Four trees and two sections of hedgerow totalling 130 metres will be removed to facilitate the development, but Mr Haine said that when considered in the context of the resultant improvements in water quality, the scheme will lead to a “net overall benefit in terms of ecology.