A LONG-ESTABLISHED manufacturing company has warned it may be forced to relocate if plans for a controversial waste treatment plant get the go-ahead.

Caldicot Metal Decorating (CMD), the largest independent metal decorator in the UK, has voiced its concerns over plans to build two 15.5 metre high chimneys at the former Tata Steel site in Portskewett’s Severn Bridge Industrial Estate, where it is also based.

The business, which provides 65 highly skilled jobs, says the waste plant proposed by DPS Process Solutions would damage its image and potentially have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the economy in the area.

Planning consultants Barton Willmore, writing on behalf of the company, states in a letter to Monmouthshire County Council’s planning team: “The proposed development involves the thermal treatment of waste and the emission and dispersion of exhaust gases into the air within close proximity of our client’s food packaging manufacturing facility, and the visual perception of such a use would be detrimental to CMD’s long-established brand and quality image.”

CMD, which has been based at the site for 109 years, recently invested more than £5million in a new print line at its premises and there are plans to further grow the business.

One of its key contracts is making metal packaging for infant formula, 80 per cent of which is exported to China.

But it says the Chinese infant formula market is “extremely sensitive to the perception of food hygiene standards.”

This comes after the “Chinese milk scandal” of 2008 where six babies died after high levels of the industrial chemical melamine was found in powdered infant formula produced in China.

The letter from Barton Willmore states: “The perceived quality of our client’s product to the overseas market is critical to the continued operation of the facility, and any damage to CMD’s image and brand or loss of business could be catastrophic for the local economy.”

It also warns that the proposed development would place up to 65 jobs at risk.

Urging the council to refuse the application, the letter states: “Should the council approve this application and CMD’s clients express concern over the quality of the product manufactured at CMD, then our client would be left with no choice other than to consider the potential relocation of its facility.”

DPS Process Solutions has stressed that the plant would not be an “incinerator”.

The Bristol-based company say it would involve a thermal treatment process which does not involve incineration.

A spokesman for DPS said: “As heavy solvent users with a thermal oxidiser, CMD Ltd will themselves be subject to stringent solvent emissions and sewer discharge restrictions monitored regularly under permit by Natural Resource Wales.

“Therefore, we are disappointed that CMD’s in-house experts would harbour any concerns about our process which is not incineration, or our minuscule emissions profile or indeed be in anyway pugnacious about it.

“Nevertheless as good neighbours we will be contacting CMD’s environmental or process experts to directly address any fears they may have incorrectly formulated as the result of what they might have read.”