CAMPAIGNERS believe the Government’s decision to approve plans for a waste incinerator in nearby Lostock Gralam will affect Knutsford and its residents.
Proposals by Tata Chemicals Europe and E.ON to build a sustainable energy plant off Griffiths Road in Lostock Gralam were given the go- ahead last week by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, following a five-week public inquiry last autumn.
Construction is expected to begin next year, and the plant, set to process 600,000 tonnes of pre-treated waste and biomass per year, will be operational towards the end of 2016.
Liam Byrne, spokesperson for CHAIN (Cheshire Anti Incinerator Network), told the Guardian he was convinced Knutsford would be affected by emissions from the chimney.
“There’s never been anything approved as close to a residential area as this,” he said.
“It’s not going to do the reputation of the area any good, and people will know Northwich is on Knutsford’s doorstep.
“There will be the emissions and the traffic as well as them shipping stuff in from everywhere.”
Tatton MP George Osborne – whose constituency covers the area where the incinerator will be built – said he was disappointed the decision had gone Tata’s way.
Mr Osborne said: “As the local MP for Lostock Gralam I campaigned hard against the incinerator, and am therefore naturally disappointed with the decision that it is to go ahead.”
Knutsford resident Mabel Taylor said in a letter to the Guardian: “As Knutsford is downwind of Lostock Gralam possibly the people of Knutsford will come to regret their lack of interest in the protests, as they cope with traffic chaos in the town if there are problems on the M6, and see Cheshire, already home to a disproportionate number of waste treatment plants and incinerators, becoming the UK’s major waste dumping ground.”
A spokesman for Tata Chemicals Europe said: “The sustainable energy plant will utilise state-of-the-art technologies and will be operated by E.ON Energy from Waste, who already successfully operate 19 similar facilities in Northern Europe, one of the most highly regulated regions of the world. The plant will require an environmental permit and will have to comply with the strict limits that are set by the Environment Agency.
“All the emissions will be tightly controlled and monitored 24 hours a day. They will also have been through a state-of-the-art cleaning process to make sure there is no impact on air quality.”