A controversial waste plant has opened opposite a village which has been blighted by environmental problems.
The facility – which will turn 40,000 tonnes of food and garden waste collected from Derbyshire homes into compost – launched on a former pit site off Deepsick Lane, Arkwright Town, on Tuesday.
During the mid-1990s, hundreds of families in Arkwright Town were forced to move to the other side of the road after officials detected colliery gasses underneath their homes.
Villagers have criticised the waste plant and voiced fears about an increase in smells and traffic.
However, Derbyshire County Council (DCC) defended the £6million facility, insisting it would cost too much money to send the waste to landfill.
Councillor Joan Dixon, DCC’s cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, said: “Sending waste to landfill is expensive. The county council is facing budget cuts of £157million by 2018 and with landfill tax currently set at £80 per tonne it’s a cost we just can’t afford in the future.
“This new facility will allow us to manage the cost of dealing with the county’s waste more effectively in the future by helping to protect against further landfill price increases.
“Residents can help by making sure they put as much food and garden waste as possible into their green waste bin ready to be taken to the new site.”
Andrew Ives, regional manager at SITA UK, which will run the waste plant, added: “We’re delighted this project is up and running.
“It will make life much easier for residents who can now put their food waste in with their garden waste so it can be put to good use rather than being landfilled.”
The company said the facility would be operated to the highest environmental standards and added there will not be a noticeable rise in vehicles going to and from the waste plant.
The rubbish will be collected by Chesterfield Borough, Bolosver District and North East Derbyshire District councils.