ROOM TO GROW: The Beresfield Baiada plant is seeking permission from Newcastle City Council to ramp up its operations. Picture: Marina NeilPoultry giant Baiada is pushing to ramp up production at its Beresfield plant, lodging a proposal to generate an extra 166,000 tonnes of feed each year to keep pace with demand.
Under plans lodged with Newcastle council, a mill that forms part of the Beresfield operation would produce 416,000 tonnes of feed per annum, up from the existing 250,000 tonnes.
The plan could set Baiada on a collision course with neighbouring residents, who have already flagged concerns over traffic, noise, odours and declining property values.
But the company insisted those concerns had been considered and addressed in its environmental impact statement.
“The increase in production will enhance the efficiency and value of the operation and deliver economic benefits to the region, including an additional five staff positions,” it said.
A dust impact assessment commissioned by Baiada indicated particle emissions could be kept within guidelines if an access road was sealed and “enhanced housekeeping strategies” were adopted.
An acoustic report predicted “minor exceedances” of the noise criteria by up to 2 dB at properties immediately to the south and east. Those would be addressed by using shipping containers as noise barriers and providing acoustic covers to grinders.
“The site is located near major arterial roads, a busy rail line, and other industrial operations and the residential neighbours have chosen to live in this location knowing that they would be exposed to noise from nearby industry,” the company argued.
The plan is expected to generate an additional 100 truck movements on a weekday along Anderson Drive. The company said it would liaise with council about an upgrade of the road.
Under the plans, the mill’s approved hours of operation would not change – at 24 hours a day, seven days a week – but an additional shift per day would be necessary.
The Beresfield plant has had an eventfulhistory, facingpast allegations over the underpayment of workers. Achlorine leak last year saw 42 workers hospitalised.