The Environment Agency has withdrawn its objection to a planned new sewage works in a Ribble Valley village.

It means that a proposal to build a replacement for the existing wastewater treatment facility in Chipping – on adjacent land off Longridge Road – can now go ahead.

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee approved the plans last June – provided that the Environment Agency’s concerns could be overcome.

The environmental organisation was not satisfied that sufficient measures had been put in place by water firm United Utilities to ensure that the development – alongside Chipping Brook – would not increase the risk of flooding in the area.

But a report presented to the latest meeting of the committee revealed that the agency regarded revised plans as “fit for purpose”.

It stated that while modelling showed that there were some small pockets where the potential depth of flooding could increase, they lay within areas “already considered to be at risk of flooding and will not present further risks to people or property”.

County Hall’s principal planning officer, Jonathan Haine, told committee members that the new blueprint for the site involved using “cut and fill” techniques, which would see some land levels reduced to provide additional flood plain capacity “above that which currently exists”. The extracted materials will then be used elsewhere on the site to create raised areas.

“The effect of this will be to ensure…the actual flood plain capacity is maintained,” Mr. Haine said.

A condition has also been imposed on the now fully-granted permission which requires a “compensatory flood storage area” to be constructed and in operation prior to any infilling of the floodplain.

United Utilities is creating the new wastewater operation in order to ensure that the site complies with more stringent regulations controlling discharge that will come 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.

The current sewage works, which was built over 45 years ago, will be demolished when the new plant comes into operation.