PLANS to expand a recycling plant have been rejected by town councillors.

Dozens of furious Blackrod villagers attended last night's meeting of the town council where proposals to build a waste treatment processing plant were discussed.

Horwich-based J Dickinson and Son has applied for planning permission to build the plant in an existing building at its recycling works in Station Road, Blackrod.

Local people, angry at the proposals amid fears they would increase traffic, noise and pollution in the area, packed the Blackrod Council offices in Blackhorse Street.

And councillors agreed, voting to reject the application.

Cllr Graham Farrington said: "We need to send a recommendation from this local council expressing our concern at the number of residents expressing views against this. It's quite clear that people don't know what's going on."

The plans will now be considered on Thursday at a meeting of Bolton Council's planning committee.

The plant would be capable of processing up to 75,000 tonnes of household and commercial rubbish.

It would create recyclable materials and bio fuel products and would operate 24 hours a day, six days a week..

Four 38ft high bio-filters would need to be built to clean the air produced by the processing plant.

Owners say the facility would mean that 48,000 tonnes of waste, including recyclable glass, metal and plastics, would not be sent to landfill sites and that it would produce bio-fuel products, which could be processed to create environmentally friendly fuels. It is estimated the plant would create an extra 20 jobs.

Environmental health officers and the Environmental Agency have raised no objections to the plans.

Steve Whatmore, a director at Orchid Environmental Limited, who have been working with Dickinson's to develop the project, said at last night's meeting: "We are bringing new technologies to the area. There are valuable materials in the waste that should be recycled."

Angry residents claim the plant will increase pollution, add dangerous extra traffic to the roads, be a blot on the local area and cause house prices to fall.

Ex-chairman of the local residents association Eileen Jackson said: "This will be a blot on the landscape, will increase rats and airbourne dust as well as cause a rise in the traffic in Station Road. The houses are already filthy with the dust.

"We know the importance of recycling but it's completely unforgivable to put these developments in housing areas."