PERMISSION for a controversial wood chipping operation has been recommended for approval.

Members of Hambleton District Council's planning committee are due to look the application to make changes to Busby Stoop Farm and North Turkey Farm, at Sandhutton, near Thirsk, which will enable the use of a mobile wood chipper to be used on the site despite residents' concerns about noise.

If granted permission, the wood chipper would supply fuel to the biomass boilers already in operation on the site.

Sandhutton Parish Council has raised concerns about the impact noise will have on residents as well as increased heavy goods vehicle traffic flow on the A167 and tight restrictions on operating hours.

Three residents have also written to the authority to express their concern about the noise emanating from the site.

Their issues included:

  • The chipper is already in operation; the noise omitted from the chipper has meant residents in Sandhutton are unable to use their outdoor space, and are forced to keep their windows closed. This is impacting unacceptably on their residential amenity;
  • The location of the chipper should be enclosed or surrounded by a bund;
  • Would be more acceptable and sustainable to chip the timber adjacent to each of farms in turn, therefore breaking up the intensity and regularity of the noise.

The council report highlighted that an earlier application in July last year with a recommendation for refusal due to 'inadequate noise assessment and no details of mitigation measures to address the noise impact of the chipper on nearby residents'.

Since then the applicant has provided the local authority with an updated noise assessment report which the planning officers believe is 'fit for purpose'.

The council's highway impact assessment says it has taken into account the parish council's concern about increased traffic but highways officers say there will be no increase due to the chipping operation as vehicles are already supplying the biomass boilers on the site.

Council planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval but with a number of conditions including hours of operation and all wood chipping must be carried out in specified areas of the site.

Councillors will meet tomorrow at 1.30pm to consider the application at the Civic Centre, Rotary Way, Northallerton.