Changes to the amount and the way potentially dangerous fertiliser is stored at Falmouth Docks would shrink the so-called “blast zone” which restricts development around the yard, councillors heard this week.

Peter Child, managing director of A&P Falmouth, attended a meeting of the town council’s planning committee on Monday, to explain the company’s current application which seeks to modify its deemed hazardous substances consent to store ammonium nitrate.

The proposed changes include reducing the amount stored to no more than 14,000 tonnes and changes to storage areas, identified areas for loading and other operational conditions.

Mr Child said: “The docks imports fertiliser and has done so for 30 to 40 years. In 1992, it was recognised that ammonium nitrate was a potentially dangerous product and we had deemed consent from the council to handle it.

“That has continued, but there have been issues with health and safety. We have talked to the Health and Safety Executive and agreed an improved way of handling it which will further reduce the risk.

“By doing this we will reduce the red line within the docks, so reducing the risk all around the area. Hopefully it will reduce the planning blight and the test of that will be when the first planning application comes through.”

Mr Child said handling fertilising was an important part of the company’s business and even though the current operator has pulled out, it would remain so.

“We need to keep the consent because there are two other companies who want to handle fertiliser through the docks,” he said. “It is important business for us and this is a safer option which is why we are doing it.”

Councillor Steve Eva said: “We are lucky to have the docks and we should back it.”

The committee agreed to recommend approval of the application by a majority vote. It will now be determined by Cornwall Council.