Hedon Town Council last night joined Paull Parish Council in objecting to the proposed Rare Earth Oxides processing facility originally planned for the Saltend Chemicals Park (SCP) but now earmarked for land to the East of SCP.
The site, known as the Reedmere site (owned by SCP) is the proposed new location for the development. It is a 15 Ha (35-acre) area already allocated for employment development within the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s local plan. To give it local context, the proposed development will be across the main roads from the Arts Garage and Dance School on Hull Road and not far from the houses at Glencoe Villas. Access onto the site will be via a new entrance from Paull Road which borders the site to the west.
In their objections last night, Hedon Town Councillors noted that the site is currently a greenfield site and warned of the accumulated effects of industrial development in that vicinity with ensuing increased flood risks, potential higher volumes of traffic, and the potential risks involved in the storage and transportation of hazardous and toxic materials. It was noted that the previous application from Pensana Rare Earths PLC for its facility within the Saltend Chemicals Park had been approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Council planners. However, when work started it was discovered that the chosen site was not suitable for the drainage requirements of the facility, hence the renewed planning application.
Paull Parish Council has already raised an objection to the planning application, noting that the facility is proposed with expansion plans already in mind. Once it is operational, the construction of an additional metals production unit within the same plot of land will facilitate the next stage of magnet metal production. Rare Paull Councillors note: “This suggests the proposed development is just the beginning and further extensions to the facility are clearly planned and further detrimental impacts must be assumed.”
Rare earth elements are important for use across a wide range of applications, including electric car batteries, computer hard drives, and high-tech consumer products. They are also used in the manufacturing of magnets for wind turbine generators. A rare earths oxides processing facility in the UK could contribute towards future goals of eliminating petrol and diesel cars as part of the Government’s Climate Emergency response. It would also reduce reliance on Chinese imports, China being a major worldwide producer of rare earth minerals. A Critical Minerals Strategy will be published by Government later this year.