Plans to build a long awaited recycling centre in south Bristol have been recommended for approval – despite concerns about increased air pollution.
Promises of delivering the scheme at the Hartcliffe Way site have been made by nearly every political party in the city over the years – but nothing has ever materialised.
In 2018 Bristol City Council said it “remained committed” to building a third recycling centre in the city following a petition from a resident, and last year plans were submitted to the council’s planning department for the scheme.
If given the go-ahead, it would see a new Household Reuse and Recycling Centre (HRRC) built on land at Hartcliffe Way, currently used as a Highways Depot.
A new traffic light junction on Hartcliffe Way is also proposed as part of the scheme.
The existing Street Cleansing and Winter Services Depot at the site would need to be relocated should the scheme go ahead.
Officers at the council have recommended the plans for approval, despite the fact the council’s own Air Quality Team has said they should be turned down on air quality grounds.
In a statement to the planners the team said that the development is predicted to worsen air pollution at a site located close to “one of the most polluted areas of the road network in Bristol”.
However planning officers have concluded that while it is accepted the development would lead to worsening air pollution, there is a “recognised need” for a new reuse and recycling centre in this part of the city.
A final decision will be made by the authority’s development control committee on Wednesday (March 18).
In 2012, Bristol City Council put £2m aside for the Hartcliffe Way site and the scheme was also part of the city’s European Green Capital bid.
But former mayor George Ferguson shelved the idea during his time in office stating that the council could not afford the running costs every year.
Current mayor Marvin Rees put the recycling centre back on the agenda in 2016, and the centre was included in the council’s waste strategy.
However it was not until the end of 2018 that work on the project began.
The scheme hasn’t been without controversy. Back in December it was revealed that the price of building the new recycling centre had rocketed to £7million.
While an additional amount of between £1million and £4million on top of that is required to relocate the site’s existing winter services and street cleansing depot.
At a meeting in December Labour cabinet members said the spiralling costs were the fault of former mayor George Ferguson’s regime because it had set the original budget back in 2013 along with planning consent.
However, a report to cabinet said the current administration allocated £4million for the project in its 2017 budget, a year after Mr Ferguson left office.
Members agreed the extra £2million to meet the increased costs, with Bristol Waste providing the other £1million and taking the lease of the site, which the company will operate when it opens in 2021.