Peel power vs. people power: public inquiry begins over Barton incinerator

Article published: Tuesday, November 13th 2012

Major developer Peel Holdings’ fiercely-opposed plan for a biomass incinerator in Trafford is going before a public inquiry billed by campaigners as the “last chance” to halt the plant from today, Tuesday 12 November.

A graphic of the plant

Campaigners from the Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG) are urging residents to attend the inquiry, organised by government body the Planning Inspectorate, which will report back to Secretary of State Eric Pickles for a final decision on whether the plant should go ahead.

The inquiry was sparked after Peel Holdings subsidiary Peel Energy appealed against Trafford Council’s decision to refuse permission for the proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant on the Trafford side of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Nearby residents and both Salford council and Trafford council oppose the scheme, pointing to potential health threats to people downwind from the plant.

Salford council objected to the plans in August, labelling the plans a “serious concern” in an area with already poor air quality, while in June Trafford councillors issued a motion demanding that “Peel Energy reconsiders its decision to appeal the refusal and withdraws their appeal forthwith.”

But Peel passed one hurdle for the plant last month when government regulators the Environment Agency (EA) approved an environmental permit, saying they were “satisfied that the proposed facility will not harm the health of local people or the environment”.

The permit caused astonishment among local activists, with a contemporary statement from BCAG labelling the decision as “completely irresponsible, although consistent with their previous decisions. The EA has never said ‘no’ to an incinerator application, despite many of these being located in areas of illegally poor air quality.

“Peel Energy needs two permits and this is only one of them.  It is now absolutely essential that BCAG and ALL of the local community focus its attention on stopping the planning permit at the forthcoming Public Inquiry in November.  We need people to attend the Inquiry and speak to voice their concerns.  It is literally the last chance to stop this filthy incinerator.”

Richard Goulding

The inquiry will take place at the International Suite, West Stand, Manchester United FC and will last for 10 days. Sessions will be held during the daytime of the following dates: 13 – 16, 20 -23, 27-28 November. See here for the full timetable.

More: Environment, News

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