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Planning green light fails to remove Sonae closure threat

The future of the UK’s largest recycler of waste wood is still uncertain despite the firm obtaining planning permission for development at its site.

Sonae Industria UK had previously blamed “political and planning difficulties” for entering into consultation with 220 staff over the future of its facility at Knowsley in Merseyside.

However, the firm said that it was continuing with the 90 day consultation with 220 staff about the potential closure of the plant, despite getting permission from Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council for a replacement to part of its facility after a fire last year.

It is understood that planning permission was first the first phase of redevelopment, with the facility only returning to full capacity after the second phase, which has yet to be submitted.

Managing director Nigel Graham said: “We are still consulting on what is a very complex and difficult situation. It is very important to respect this process until a final outcome has been reached.”

Consultation is due to end in at the end of October.

In July, George  Howarth, MP  for  Knowsley, and Paul Finegan, regional secretary of UNITE, called for an independent assessment of health and safety and enviornmental considerations at the facility, followed by any necessary modifications, which they said would eliminate the need for the factory to close.


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