Cawingredients has lodged a request with North Yorkshire Council to consider what specialist studies will be needed when it submits a proposal for a 525,000sq ft factory across 18.5 hectares of arable farmland, east and west of Low Street, Leeming Bar.
It is 13 years since Cawingredients boss Andrew Cawthray opened a factory about a fifth of the size of the proposed plant on Leeming Bar Industrial Estate, which has become known for food and drink production.
Residents living near what has become one of the region’s leading industrial estates battled against Hambleton District Council allocating the proposed site in its Local Plan as one of three strategic employment sites that seek to develop the role of the “A1/A19 Growth Corridor”.
Papers lodged with the authority state the proposals will feature production facilities, including laboratories and manufacturing, research and development spaces, as well as warehousing.
Some 61.9 per cent of the proposed site, 600 metres to the east of the Leeming Bar interchange of the A1(M) is classified as very good quality arable farmland, while the remaining area is classified as good.
A scoping report commissioned for the firm states the site is of local value to breeding birds, with 25 species identified, including five red-listed and six amber listed species
It states: “Considering the scale of the development and nature of the site and surrounding area more generally, it is considered that there is the potential for significant environmental effects to arise.”
The report states incidents considered likely with the proposed development include “a major accident or disaster” relating to the Trans Pennine Ethylene Pipeline, as it transports a highly flammable liquid under very high pressure, but “legislative tools” reduce the risk of causing an explosion or fire.
Other likely issues to be considered include the impact of HGVs accessing the plant.
Residents said as Hambleton council allocated the site for employment in its development blueprint, they felt Cawingredients plans were a fait accomplis even before an application is lodged with North Yorkshire.
Natural England has said it wants a robust assessment of environmental impacts undertaken.
Aiskew and Leeming Bar Parish Council said it wanted full impact studies carried out because it does not feel the site was suitable for the village.
Campaigner Matt Sawyer said the plan represented “ecological vandalism by any other name”.
However, he said residents were resigned to the scale of the plant as Austrian-owned Red Bull wanted a UK factory to produce their drinks and had “deep pockets” to fight off any legal challenges.
Dr Sawyer said: “This is ecological vandalism by any other name.
“This building is going to be imposing and dominate the village landscape for generations to come. The frustration that a lot of us have had is that they are now coming up against the things we said were going to be a problem in the first place.
“We said there’s a site the other side of the motorway not surrounded by people or houses, but that’s not where they want to build.
“As the proposed ecological improvements are required under legislation, so there isn’t anything that is being done for the benefit of the villagers, it’s more about what they can get away with.
“As a GP, one of my concerns is the amount of diabetes being caused by sugary diets in the UK, and you can start to calculate how many extra diabetic cases are going to be contributed by per 10,000 bottles of fizzy pop, so there is going to be a human impact as well.”