£16m turnover PLASgran wants official blessing it can continue 24/7 operations

Cambridgeshire based plastics recycling specialist PLASgran- the lab in their Technical Development

Cambridgeshire based plastics recycling specialist PLASgran- the lab in their Technical Development Centre. - Credit: Archant

Rapidly growing recycling specialists PLASgran – who turned over more than £16 million last year – wants official confirmation it can become a 24/7 operator.

The Wimblington based company admits it has breached the terms of its original planning permission for the past four years without complaint.

Now it has applied to Cambridgeshire County Council for a retrospective variation of its original consent to extend the processing hours within the confines of the ‘granulation’ and ‘separation and compounding’ buildings to 24/7 operation.

“The proposed development will not immediately increase processing capability or vehicle movements,” says the company. “This occurred over four years ago when the processing on site started to exceed the permitted working hours.

“During this time there have been no complaints or issues raised with enforcement or any other party regarding vehicle movements in and out of the PLASgran site.

PLASgran was founded at the turn of the century by Carl Waters and is now one of the UK’s fastest growing plastics recycling business.

Currently the firm has permission to operate from 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 7.30am to 1pm on Saturdays with no bank holiday or Sunday working.

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They are hoping to secure permission within some sections to allow 24/7 operations

“PLASgran needs to extend its processing hours in ‘granulation’ and ‘separation and compounding’ buildings for a few reasons,” says a report to the council.

“Firstly to keep up with demand and to reduce the amount of material being stored on site waiting processing.

“Secondly to work within the requirements of the multi-million pound plant that is designed to run 24/7. The main plant line takes six hours to shut down and cool off and it must be manned at all times, which means it is impossible to shut it down each night of the week and be ready for the next working day.”

PLASgran says that prior to the submission of this application meetings were held with the county council.

“The advice given was that the applicant must demonstrate that the increased hours of operation could be accommodated without resulting in demonstrable harm in relation to the loss of residential and other environmental amenity,” says the company.

As a result of this advice, a specialist sound test survey and report was commissioned.

“In short, the report provides the necessary justification that the unlawful operations outside of the approved working hours do not present an issue in line with the tolerances set out by Fenland District Council’s environmental health officer.

“Forklift movements will only occur within the permitted working hours given under the original permission.”

PLASgran says the nearest neighbour had no concerns with the proposed development or noise impact.