Plans to use a former landfill site to recycle thousands of tonnes of garden waste from across Durham have been given the green light.

And the plans are set to save Durham County Council around £100,000 a year.

On Tuesday, November 6, the authority’s County Planning Committee discussed the future of Joint Stocks site, in Coxhoe, which was a landfill site for about 40 years.

The facility was previously used for commercial composting operations by Premier Waste Management, which had permission to compost up to 100,000 tonnes of garden waste.

With planning permission for the site expiring in 2014, the council applied to bring the service “in house” rather than contracting to other providers.

When operational, the site will process up to 25,000 tonnes of green waste from County Durham residents every year, including stockpiling, shredding and screening.

While councillors welcomed the scheme at the Durham County Hall meeting, concerns were raised about increased traffic accessing the site and potential odour.

Planning officers confirmed no odour complaints were received when the site was open and that there were no changes in the number of vehicles using the site, compared to previous composting operations.

A council report states the site would produce 12,000 to 14,000 tonnes of compost every year which would be used for council grounds maintenance and construction.

The compost would also be made available to community groups, farmers and groundwork companies.

New planning permission will allow the council to use the site until 2041 tied into its garden waste collection service which runs between March and November.

During the 34-week collection period, this would equate to 16 deliveries a day and around 100 exports per month taking place.

It is envisaged that the composting site would receive 70 per cent of deliveries from collection wagons, with the remainder going to transfer stations.

Agreed planning conditions also cover limitations around vehicles accessing the site.

This includes access times of 7am-6pm, Monday to Friday and 7am-4pm on Saturdays and no more than 50 HGV movements per day.

A statement by the council said: “The council is seeking to reduce its overall operating costs and is therefore proposing to compost the garden waste collected by the in-house service at its existing composting pad at joint stocks.”