UK: Concerns about additional lorry traffic from planned Yorkshire beet plant

Published: 07/14/2017, 10:48:31 AM

A massive new sugar beet factory would dump 20,000 tonnes of water a day into the River Ouse system and could mean hundreds of extra lorries on York's congested outer ring road, it has emerged, according to the UK's York Press newspaper.

The proposed complex on land alongside the new incinerator at Allerton Park would also involve four silos, each of them 80 metres high - taller than both York Minster and the incinerator chimney.

A local resident, Ray Allott, said he had calculated the development would lead to hundreds of extra lorry movements per day on the York ring road and A59, "creating grid lock and mayhem on roads already overloaded at peak travelling times".

But this was denied by project director Martin Beardwood, who said about 80 per cent of the 1,700 beet lorries travelling to the site each day would come along the A1 from the north and south, meaning only about 340 additional lorries from the east on routes such as the A59 and ring road.

York council's transport executive member Ian Gillies said the factory could mean a potentially significant increase in the number of HGVs using the ring road, posing an extra burden on an already heavily congested route.

He added that if the factory won the go-ahead and traffic increased further, it might strengthen York's case for Government funding to dual the route - something The Press is calling for through its Dual Them! campaign.

The new details about the development were revealed at a packed public meeting earlier this week at Whixley Village Hall.

Local county and borough councillor Andy Paraskos said afterwards there were great concerns locally, particularly about traffic as well as visual intrusion from the factory.

Allott claimed the 20,000 tonnes of excess water from the factory, which would be squeezed out from the beets, going into the Ouse system would create "serious flooding and contamination risks".

But Beardwood said this amount was "minimal" compared to the total amount going down the river each day, and insisted it would make no difference whatsoever to flooding risks downstream in York.

He also said the water would be so well treated that it would be of almost drinking water quality when it went via a pipeline into either the Ure or the Nidd, upstream of the Ouse.

Beardwood, of Northern Sugar, a subsidiary of Dubai-based Al Khaleej, said the plans had been going through a scoping process at Harrogate Borough Council, and the firm planned to lodge a planning application in November, before which there would have to be full transport modelling.

It would also need to discuss issues such as traffic with the relevant highways authorities, including York, North Yorkshire and Highways England, and water discharge into the river with the Environment Agency.

The agency could not comment on the plan at this stage, but said the Ouse carried 600 tonnes of water per second at the height of the flooding in December 2015, with the Nidd and Ure carrying considerably less.

If permitted, the new factory will create 200 to 300 jobs and process up to 36,000 tonnes of beet per day during the season from September until March, producing 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of refined sugar per day on the back of one delivery per minute from 3,500 farms.