A SCHOOL whose students worked for two years to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Status’ from an environmental group has defended its proposal to create a floodlit all-weather plastic football pitch.

Ryedale School’s planning application to a install 7,420sq m of artificial grass, a 4.5-metre mesh fence and eight 15m-high lighting columns to North Yorkshire County Council will be considered by its planning committee on Tuesday.

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The proposal comes just four months after charity Surfers Against Sewage praised the secondary school in Nawton, near Helmsley, which the school’s headteacher said highlighted “the need for sustainability and bring about real change”.

A letter to the council from Ryedale Learning Trust, which runs the school, states there is “nothing contradictory about this award in relation to our desire to have a 3G pitch on the school site” and there would be “many environmental benefits”.

The letter states: “This facility would both encourage and support fit and healthy lifestyles by being playable throughout the year, unlike our grass pitches, and furthermore this facility would significantly reduce the need for school and community users to travel significant distances to access similar facilities in Malton and York.”

The trust added while the construction of an artificial grass pitch “would at first seem to go against being plastic free”, most artificial grass pitch manufacturing companies produced products that could be be fully recycled, back into raw material for the same industry, thus removing them from the label of a single use plastic.

The proposal states the pitch would be open to students and local community sports clubs and groups visiting Ryedale School in Gale Lane.

The application states: “There is significant demand for the facility within the local area.

"The application site is a sufficient distance away from neighbouring properties, with existing screening and buffers through natural vegetation and school buildings.

“From the very beginning of this project, we have proactively sought, commissioned and received professional assessments to ensure the sports facility design is compatible and complimentary to an educational setting; whilst being sensitive to visual and residential amenity and the surrounding environment as well as protecting local biodiversity.”

However, numerous villagers living close to the proposed pitch claim they would suffer unacceptable light and noise pollution as the pitch would be open until 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on other days.

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The nearest home is 65m from the proposed development.

 Objecting to the plan, residents have claimed the floodlight would be totally out of keeping in an historic Doomsday Book village with a population of just 570 people.

In a letter of objection resident Anne Twine wrote: “This sort of facility should be located on the recreation ground.”

Sandra Thurlow, chair of Beadlam Parish Council, raised concerns about “the light pollution from the floodlights and more traffic using Gale Lane”.

She wrote: “It’s such a busy road at school times, but at least for the
residents they do get a breather from it outside those times at moment.”

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