‘Our plans will keep pests and smell to a minimum’

A flyer, which was distributed in Newbuildings, in opposition to the plans for the former Foyle Skip Hire site.
A flyer, which was distributed in Newbuildings, in opposition to the plans for the former Foyle Skip Hire site.

The boss of a Garvagh-based recycling firm has moved to reassure Newbuildings residents that its plans for the former Foyle Skip Hire site in the village will minimise the risk of pests and odour whilst improving conditions for staff.

Brett Ross, Managing Director of River Ridge Recycling, which recently acquired Foyle Skip Hire retaining all of its employees, said: “When we acquired the site we knew it needed modernised.

“We hope to replace the current small dilapidated shed with a larger shed which will ensure that waste transferred at this site will be completed within an enclosed facility.

“As the facility is regarded as a transfer station, daily waste arisings will be regularly transferred to River Ridge’s flagship waste treatment facility in Garvagh, and as such will minimise the risk of odour and pest nuisance.

“It will also ensure that staff have better working and welfare facilities than is presently available.”

Mr Ross made the comments in response to concerns raised by residents and politicians over its plans for the site in Newbuildings Industrial Estate.

By March 6, 2014, three objection letters had been submitted to the planning office and Ulster Unionist council candidate Ronnie McKeegan said: “I’ve been contacted by dozens of residents in the surrounding area who are very concerned that they will be adversely affected by this development in terms of smells, insects and rodents.”

Meanwhile, an anonymous flyer has been distributed in the village raising objections on a number of grounds and stating “the site is 60m from the private residential properties of Duncastle Park, and surrounding residential areas.”

Mr McKeegan said he fully supported the objective of increased recycling but added: “There is also some concern that this site would be further developed into a major and alternative recycling depot similar to the Mobuoy site and this is why we need to make the right decisions now.”

But River Ridge says that at a public meeting on Tuesday, March 4, to allay residents’ fears regarding the site, Mr Ross personally informed those present that the planned changes will ensure a cleaner, more efficient site.

It was also pointed out that the application was not seeking to change the existing tonnage or waste type consents permitted.

Said Mr Ross: “River Ridge Recycling is committed to the on-going enhancement of its recovery and recycling activities and has invested heavily allowing for job creation and growth of the local economy.

“River Ridge Recycling is dedicated to environmental and community issues and these values are interwoven into our company and its employees ethos.

“We continue to ensure that we have an excellent, well-run and environmental friendly company.”

River Ridge - a vehicle for a group of South African investors - acquired Coleraine Skip Hire and Recycling Limited in 2011.

The firm’s latest acquisition in Newbuildings was made a number of months ago.