ENVIRONMENTALISTS have expressed concerns over fresh plans to allow a concrete plant building in Woolston without planning permission to remain standing.

The facility was built on Bridge Lane two years ago despite Warrington Borough Council not having given its consent for the scheme.

While the retrospective planning permission for the scheme was refused last year, a second bid by Mincrete Ltd to allow the concrete plant to remain has since been lodged.

But Natural England has raised worries over the plant's impact on Woolston Eyes, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) located 50m away.

A report into the plans said: "The application, as submitted, does not contain sufficient information to conclude that the development is not likely to damage or destroy the interest features for which Woolston Eyes has been notified.

"Woolston Eyes is a nationally important SSSI for wintering wildfowl, and also maintains a large diverse breeding bird community during the summer.

"Our key issues are ensuring no disturbance to the SSSI in terms of noise, visual and air quality.

"Dust or particles falling onto plants can physically smother the leaves - affecting photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration and leaf temperature.

"There may also be toxicity issues caused by heavy metals particles and potential changes in pH, particularly if the dust is alkaline - for example, cement dust.

"A water recycling system needs to be put in place.

"Extending the concrete platform would increase the run-off into the Mersey and ultimately the Mersey Estuary SSSI, so recycling the run-off water would reduce this problem.

"Noise and visual disturbance to the SSSI's also needs to be taken into account, with possible mitigation such as screening being considered."

The developer has not completed any assessment on the impact of the concrete plant on Woolston Eyes as part of its application.

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Construction work on the 2,000sq m site began in April 2017 without planning permission, with the concrete plant completed in September the same year.

Formerly an open storage area, four full-time employees of the ready-mixed concrete specialists work onsite between 6am and 5.30pm from Mondays to Fridays according to the application.

A similar application was previously refused retrospective planning permission in May last year, with the company's actions described as 'underhand and horrifying by residents'.

The site was also previously operating without the necessary environmental permit, which has since been granted.

Warrington Borough Council threw out the application as it 'lacked sufficient information', and a number of residents have again objected to the scheme.