State planning officials have recommended a massive expansion of a Newcastle fuel terminal be approved, despite fears about toxic emissions.

The Department of Planning has approved Stolthaven’s application to increase fuel imports from 300 million litres to more than one billion litres a year at its facility on the old BHP site at Mayfield.

The plans do not sit well with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which is worried about potential emissions of the toxic chemical benzene, after past exceedances.

The Department of Planning has now recommended approval, saying the development is in the public interest.

It said it will expand capacity at the terminal to meet increased demand for diesel and biodiesel.

The department said the impacts can be mitigated and managed to ensure the terminal would meet relevant air quality and noise criteria at sensitive receivers.

It added that traffic generated by the terminal can be safely accommodated by local and regional roads, without the need for any upgrades.

Extracted in full from ABC