A Manchester MP has hit out at Eric Pickles’ decision to give the green light to a renewable energy plant in Davyhulme, Greater Manchester, whilst campaigners have also challenged the government’s decision to remove rulings which state that local authorities must report air quality figures and potential associated health risks.
Kate Green, the MP for Stretford and Urmston, is of the opinion that by eradicating the air quality rules and granting permission for Peel Energy’s plant, which is set to treat waste wood and accumulated industrial and commercial waste, Government is going against the best wishes of residents.
She said: “As with the government’s thoughtless decision to give permission for an incinerator, these latest proposals show that the government completely overlooks Trafford residents’ right to breathe clean air. Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths each year in the UK, more than obesity and alcohol combined, but instead of sorting it out ministers want to stop anyone knowing how bad the pollution is.”
The chairman of residential campaign group Breathe Clean Air, Pete Kilvert, is in agreement with Green’s comments, adding: “This government has a hidden agenda – how can burning wood be economic? It produces less energy and much more carbon dioxide than coal or gas.”
The Barton Renewable Energy Plant is set to cost £70m, create over 100 jobs and generate renewable electricity for at least 25 years by processing approximately 200,000 tonnes of biomass annually.
Upon being granted planning permission for the project in May, Peel Energy project manager Jon England said: “We would like to thank both the Secretary of State and the planning inspector for giving the plans a fair hearing. We realise that applications like these are not easy. However, these are exactly the kind of decisions that are required if the UK is to meet its renewable energy targets, reduce reliance on imported energy and avoid valuable resources going into landfill.
“We are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to taking the project on to the next stage, ultimately delivering renewable energy and jobs for the region. We will continue to inform the community about forthcoming phases of the development.”
Construction is set to begin in 2014 and is expected to be concluded by 2016.