Campaigners call for support to research impact of new sugar plant near Harrogate

Members of Stop the Beet Factory want to commission reports on the impact the sugar plant could have
Members of Stop the Beet Factory want to commission reports on the impact the sugar plant could have
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Campaigners opposing plans for a sugar beet processing plant between Harrogate and York are calling for support to research the potential impact on the surrounding area.

Stop the Beet Factory is a group made up of residents looking to challenge outline plans submitted by Al Khaleej International Ltd to build the facility near the Allerton Waste Recovery Park. Aiming to raise £10,000 they will put the funds towards reports investigating their concerns over the impact it could have, looking at factors including a potential increase in traffic.

Paul Gill of Stop the Beet Factory said: "The funding is to help us get professionally produced reports on the impact this could have in areas such as wildlife, the environment and traffic.

"Al Khaleej International Ltd will be producing their own and we need to be able to have our own evidence to point to.

"We are fighting a huge, multi-national company and we do not have the resources to cover these kind of expenses ourselves for these studies.

He added: "It means we will need close to £10,000, if it goes through the next stages we could be looking at costs between £15,000 and £20,000.

"This factory could affect so many people, across the district traffic is already terrible. While the A59 junction at Allerton Park has been approved for an upgrade it is to address existing traffic problems and not the potential increase in the number of HGTVs."

Currently at the pre-application stage an environmental statement scoping opinion is being considered. This is where an applicant requests the local planning authority give advice on what information should be given in an environmental statement.

Planning documents include details such as the factory potentially producing between 24,000 to 36,000 tonnes of sugar beet per day during the harvest season, September to March, with 24 hour a day warehouse and packaging operations. This could see 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of refined sugar produced every day.

Across a full day a potential 3,400 two-way Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) trips could be needed for production at the factory.

It also suggests 200 to 300 people will be employed on the site once operational, while a supply chain of around 3,500 farmers from the North-East could be established to supply the sugar beet needed for production.

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