Up in Smoke? Democracy, Trafford, and an incinerator…

Mason Corbishley of the Breathe the Clean Air Group answers questions about a proposed incinerator in Trafford.

Briefly, what is the planned thing that you are objecting to? 

Peel Energy has proposed to build a waste incinerator within 550 metres of a densely populated residential area. The incinerator is planned to burn 200,000 tonnes per year of waste, which will include wood from construction and demolition sites as well as Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), which are plastic residues that cannot be recycled.

What are your principle concerns/objections? 

Our principle reason for objection is the impact of this incinerator on the local air quality and the health implications that it could cause. Some other reasons include:

  • The location of the Application Site and Surroundings
  • Policy Misalignment – Whether the development is incompatible with sustainable development principles and local and national policies
  • The amenity of local residents due to noise or other disturbance and interference with enjoyment of the land
  • The impact of the development upon Regeneration of local town centres and property prices

What would you say to people who accused you of being NIMBY? (“Not in my backyard”)
We are not NIMBYs; we are a well-established community group campaigning against the construction of an incinerator within our community. As well as working on a local level on this issue, we are working collaboratively with other groups or a more national scale to prevent the construction of such plants. We are also affiliated to organisations such as “United Kingdom Without Incineration.”

What would you say to people who say, “Surely renewable energy is a good thing”?
We are not opposed to renewable energy. BCAG is 100% for renewable energy but this method of waste disposal certainly is not renewable. Solar, wind and hydroelectric power are all renewable energy sources that should be utilised instead of incineration. Incineration is a dirty industry and energy of the future should not have such a dangerous impact on air quality. Alternatives are green and clean, but incineration cannot be put into this category.

What do you think should happen to the waste?
Energy can be derived from waste using alternative processing methods such as Plasma Gasification or Pyromex.  These processes do not create the dangerous emissions we are so concerned about.  However, all of the processes mentioned still create a ‘pull’ for more waste – the BCAG support the drive towards a Zero-Waste society, where precious resources are not destroyed.

Who are your public allies within the political system (MPs, councillors etc.)?
We have had full support for all 3 of our MPs (Kate Green, Paul Goggins and Graham Brady) as well as MEPs (Sajjad Karim and Arlene McCarthy).
Not only have we had members of parliament supporting our campaign but also we have a unanimous cross-party supporting council, who have gone public with a motion that states:
This Council deplores the recent action of Peel Energy in appealing the decision of Trafford Council’s Planning Committee to refuse planning permission for a bio-mass incinerator in Davyhulme. This was a unanimous decision of the planning committee on the grounds of the perceived threat to the health of Trafford residents.
The council demands that Peel Energy reconsiders its decision to appeal the refusal and withdraws their appeal forthwith.
Further this Council resolves to investigate using its powers under the Sustainable Communities Act to petition the Government to change the planning system so that developers cannot appeal to central government to overturn a local planning decision.”

All Trafford Councillors are in full support of our campaign and will be helping us during our next step in the lead up to the public inquiry.

What are the top three things you are asking your supporters to do? 

The Public Inquiry is going to cost us money to engage the services of an Air Quality expert and obtain Legal Representation. We have launched an appeal for £12,500. We are asking the public to donate whatever they can to our fighting fund.
We are asking the public for ideas on how to raise money with their friends and neighbours by holding a coffee morning, sponsored event, collection or fundraising events. This is also giving the public a way to get more involved without being part of the core group.

We need as many people as possible to speak at the inquiry so we are asking for people to be at the public inquiry on the first day (13th November) and to see whether they can get their local Head teacher or doctor to speak. We need the community to support us on the first day of the Inquiry (13th November) and on a later day when the public have their say. The venue is yet to be confirmed and we will inform everyone nearer to the time, but it will be held locally within Trafford.

What happens after the next “deadline” in the campaign
At the minute, the Environment Agency (EA) is consulting the public on its draft decision to grant and environmental permit for the plant. The deadline for representations is 15th August.

As well as the EA consultation, the Public Inquiry is a parallel process, which we are currently trying to raise funds for. (See info above). The Public Inquiry is to being on 13th November (Venue TBC) and scheduled to last 10 days. This will allow the public to express their concerns and objections to the inspector. After the inquiry, the inspector will write a report recommending whether or not planning permission should be granted. This is then sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, who will make the final decision.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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