A PLANNING APPLICATION to build the UK’s first rare earth materials processing facility on vacant land adjacent to the Saltend Chemicals Park (East of Paull Road) has been approved by the planning committee of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (26 May 2022).
When constructed, the facility is expected to produce 4,500 tonnes of Rare Earth Oxides which will be refined by Pensana PLC and used in the creation of powerful magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.
Local Preston Parish Councillor Tony Hodge, and ERYC Ward Member for South West Holderness Councillor John Dennis, both spoke at the committee to object to the development raising concerns about safety regulations (Control Of Major Accident Hazards) and potential wider negative impacts on local communities. However, the new development is seen by some sources in Government as being of national significance as the UK races to compete in a rare earths market that is currently dominated by China. Rare earth magnets are essential to the development of greener, more sustainable strategic industries it is argued.
The new facility is expected to create construction jobs and 125 permanent skilled jobs and contribute towards creating a “centre of expertise” in this kind of chemical engineering.
(Note: Although in effect the plan has been approved, in actual fact the application has been formally deferred until certain conditions are met and then will be delegated to officers for eventual approval).
The discussion on this at the planning committee is on the ERYC’s YouTube channel at 1hr 56mins in, at: https://youtu.be/3SU-tHz0HwE