Plastics specialist PGP UK has been granted permission to run a Lancashire facility 24 hours a day after arguing that low margins and volatile prices meant that extended operation hours were vital if it was to invest in new plant.
The firm, which operates the 1.29-hectare former Valpak Recycling centre near Preston, told Lancashire County Council it wanted to install a new Titech plant capable of sorting 14 tonnes of plastic bottles an hour to be baled and exported for recycling.
But it said the £4.8m investment – also earmarked to create 45 new jobs – would require 24-hour operation on weekdays, plus the extension of Saturday and Sunday working from 12 to 16 hours.
PGP said its plans for the facility, named Gaskell House, would mean a shift from mixed recycling to polymer-only, and a big increase on the facility’s current 13 employees.
A report to councillors ahead of a planning meeting last month warned that jobs could be at risk if the existing operating hours were not extended.
Recommending the proposals for approval, planning officers said: “The applicant has said that the site is currently running at a loss and failure to secure a new permission … would have financial implications for the company, risking the investment in the site, the existing workforce and the proposed additional posts.”
PGP’s application for the hours variation said it was planning to change the focus of the facility to principally sorting plastics by polymer type.
Eight letters of objection to the proposals were received, with concerns about noise and litter disturbances. The Environment Agency said it believed measures could be implemented to deal with the effects of the proposals.
PGP UK is a subsidiary of Indonesian plastics reprocessor Sancorino Damai Sejahtera.