Major fears over Welwyn Garden City worm farm plan

Sir – I am writing to you to express my surprise at the comments of planning consultant Chris Watts in the article about the worm farm development at Great North Road, Stanborough (WHT, March 25). There are many issues I could raise with those comment

Sir - I am writing to you to express my surprise at the comments of planning consultant Chris Watts in the article about the worm farm development at Great North Road, Stanborough (WHT, March 25).

There are many issues I could raise with those comments but space is limited. Let me then simply query two aspects of that response.

Firstly, Mr Watts states that the project is small scale-with just two polytunnels. Even a cursory glance at the submitted plans will cast great doubt on that statement. The original application envisages several van- loads of waste being trucked into the site and stored in three large waste pits measuring some nine metres long by 2.6 metres high. And the danger is that this is simply the beginning of a large project with scope for expansion once the original plans have been approved.

This is hardly a small scale enterprise as it stands and can in no way be described as simply 'for the sale of worms in fishing and angling shops'. How many are there in the vicinity? That brings me to the second point.


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Mr Watts states, 'The idea is for people to bring their compost here'. Is he really trying to say that this will not lead to increase traffic? That is simply not believable. Nor is it consistent.

How does he square that comment in your pages with the application's statement that compost will be produced on site by the worms and sold on?

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Brevity keeps me to these two points. There are many other contradictions between the planning application and the statements in Mr Watts' statement as produced in your paper. These contradictions need answering before any application is even heard.

J Marino, Great North Road, Stanborough.

SIR - I would like to make a response to Chris Watts' comments in the WHT.

The officer handling the wormery case has stated there is the possibility of increasing the size of the development by 150 per cent with the inclusion of another three polytunnels.

It is not a small scale project.

He has obviously not examined the findings of the Worm Research Centre which clearly states that:

1.Foul odour is an environmental hazard related to worm farming.

2. The large number of flies caused by wormeries is a common environmental hazard of the business.

3. The harvesting of worms does not just take place at regular times during the day; often the process takes place during the night.

4. The Environment Agency has expressed concerns regarding worm farms due to noxious substances.Gas emissions from such sites are potentially lethal, so local people should not be put at risk.

5. Apparently worm farming is not considered to be an agricultural activity and therefore has no place on Green Belt land.

Other sources state that councils can pay about �25 per ton to such companies for every ton of waste diverted from landfill.

I rest my case.

Name and address supplied.

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