The latest addition to the expansion plans for a major Cumbrian industrial site has been revealed.

A further planning application has been submitted to Eden District Council for a new addition to the Omega Proteins animal by-products processing facility in Penrith.

With several planning applications for the Omega Proteins site awaiting a decision from the council, the new application, for a new 875 square metre, 9.3m metre tall building, represents the latest in a string of proposed additions to the site.

Documents prepared for the latest application state that Omega Proteins is "committed to a major investment programme at the Penrith site", and that the business is "investing in the latest machinery as process lines are renewed and upgraded to ensure efficiency, reliability and peak environmental performance".

The newest application requests planning permission for the development of a new building for the storage and dispatch of "finished meal product", described as part of the wider "improvement works at the Penrith plant".

Animal by-product material is brought to the Penrith site, which employs about 100 people, for "immediate processing" from abattoirs, meat processing plans, catering operations and retail premises across the country.

The by-products are then turned into a range of "value-added oils, fats and meals with wide-ranging applications in the power, aviation, and pet food industries, to name a few", according to the planning documents prepared on behalf of the company.

Part of the investment in the site involves the installation of "new and improved systems for air handling and odour abatement", the documents add, technology which is said to be "at the heart of ensuring the plant can operate without adverse impact on the local community in and around Penrith".

"Many factors" are driving the "need for change" at the Penrith site, and one of the "key issues" given is the impact of Brexit.

"Brexit will impact on established trading patterns with Europe so Omega must be able to look to a much broader range of international markets for the goods it produces at Penrith and be able to create products that meet the legislative requirements of these new markets and customers," the planning statement for the latest application explains.

"Single species product is the key to enabling international trade so the business must have the process lines and material handling facilities to be able to guarantee 100 per cent pure species products in order to thrive post-Brexit.

"For example, exporting to Muslim countries requires some products to be warranted as pork-free, and others require sterilisation of export products."

Another key issue given is the pursuit of "improved environmental performance", secured through "measures to deliver better odour control and treatment", as well as "improved energy and water efficiency in the industrial processes", and and increase in the "contribution of renewable energy to meet the power demands of the planet".

The company is also pursuing "job retention", with the investment in the site said to be helping to ensure "the business remains at the forefront of the animal by-products industry".

"Omega Proteins is pursuing a programme of substantial investment in the Penrith plant to ensure the continued resilience of the business, provide support for safe working practices and to deliver continued environmental compliance and renewal of buildings and process lines," the planning statement concludes.

"It is hoped that the district council will be able to approve this application without delay so that the applicant can move on to the construction phase of the scheme."

Separately, in addition to awaiting decisions on its plans from Eden District Council, Omega Proteins is also awaiting a decision on its application to vary its operations permit with the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency's consultation period on this application ends on March 31, and members of the public are invited to submit their views on the proposed variation to the company's permit, which include the addition of new processes including a change to its "primary odour abatement" mechanism, by way of a "multi-fuel thermal oxidiser".

The new proposed oxidiser set-up is said to be "designed to provide additional effective odour abatement under the same conditions as the existing equipment, but with more capacity".

Odours emanating from the site have repeatedly attracted complaints from Penrith residents in recent years, though the company has stated a new oxidiser will help "eliminate" any odours coming from the site.

A spokesperson for the Leo Group, which runs Omega Proteins, has previous said: “We take our responsibilities seriously and endeavour to be good neighbours.

“We are continuously investing in new technology and have done since acquiring the site in 2002.

"We are also working closely with the environment agency in conjunction with our environmental permit.”

Jeff Thomson, of the Fresh AIR for Penrith campaign, has long spoken out against the plant, and has urged residents to engage with the consultation.

“We urge local people to look the application and its full implications for Penrith and give comments to the Environment Agency,” he said, including "potentially more odour pollution which has long been a problem with this site".

Last year, Mr Thomson called on Eden District Council to reject any further planning applications for the site, saying Omega Proteins "cannot be trusted" with any further expansion.

Presenting a petition to the council in September last year signed by more than 1,000 people calling for a halt to any expansion, Mr Thomson criticised the plant for the impact odours coming from the site had on local residents.

"Omega is a bad and irresponsible community neighbour," he said.

The call from Mr Thomson and petitioners for Eden District Council to take such a position was rejected by William Patterson, independent Warcop ward councillor and the chairman of the authority's planning committee.

He said it would be "quite wrong" for the council to pre-emptively commit to a rejection of planning applications without first applying the correct process of scrutiny to each individual submission.