A controversial water treatment works has finally been given the go-ahead.

Essex and Suffolk Water has been given the green light to operate the water recycling plant at Langford by Maldon District Council.

The company will be discharging up to 40 million litres of recycled water a day into the River Chelmer and taking an equal amount of water out.

But campaigners are furious at the plans, claiming that it will add to the problem of siltation in the river.

Some businesses say they are under threat because the port at Maldon was silting up so badly, making the river channel difficult to navigate.

Essex and Suffolk Water has already been given permission by the Environment Agency and the Department of the Environment to go ahead with the scheme, and now has the backing of the local council.

It will have to stick to a long list of rules to ensure that the river and water quality is not affected.

If it breaks any of the conditions, work will have to stop immediately.

Celebrating the planning permission, Martin Lunn from the company said: "We are very pleased that the recycling project has been given the final go-ahead.

"This represents the culmination of more than seven years of scientific study and consultation with local groups, leading experts and our customers."

Essex and Suffolk Water says the new treatment plant is essential as the demand for water in Essex grows.

Mr Lunn said: "We have undertaken an extensive public consultation programme and worked very closely with the local businesses in the Maldon area who have raised concerns about environmental issues."

Converted for the new archive on 19 November 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.