Plans for controversial Preston waste energy plant take a step forward

Unpopular proposals for an energy recovery plant planned for the outskirts of Preston have moved forward a step.

Monday, 12th August 2019, 12:24 pm
Computer-generated image of what the waste plant could look like

Preston City Council lodged no objections in a consultation for the plant, which could come to the Red Scar Industrial Estate on Longridge Road if it is given the green light by Lancashire County Council.

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Plans for the ‘energy recovery facility’, which have attracted about 300 objection letters, say it would generate electricity by burning household and commercial waste.

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At a meeting at Preston Town Hall a spokesman for the applicant Miller and Turner Green Power told members of the city authority that the plant represented an “opportunity” for the energy economy and waste management.

He said the “energy generated would be low carbon”, that it was an opportunity for investment as it would “create employment” and provide “lower cost energy to smaller firms”.

But city coun Brian Rollo, who represents Ribbleton, said: “Let’s call it what it is - a waste incinerator. It’s going to take waste matter and create carbon dioxide.”

He went on to argue that with 180 HGV vehicles a week it would mean traffic in Longridge Road and Ribbleton Avenue would get even busier.

“They are already congested even at none rush hour times,” he said. “What we don’t want is slow-moving heavy goods vehicles.”

According to planning documents outlining the proposals: "The energy recovery facility will have the capacity to process up to 395,000 tonnes of residual waste per year.

"The facility would generate up to 47 Megawatts of electricity (MWe) of low carbon electricity, and potentially heat, for distribution to businesses and other end users nearby."

Preston's Environment Health has requested further information on whether the short term hourly Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide would exceed the limit of 18 times a year as it may trigger the need for an Air Quality Action Plan.

Colin Jarvis of the campaign group, Residents Against Longridge Road Energy Centre, said: "We are obviously disappointed with the decision.

"To a certain extent the issues we are concerned about weren't under the remit of Preston City Council. Whether Lancashire County Council will take the same approach or not I don't know.

"The main issues we are concerned about are pollution and the local residents are concerned about the noise and smells.

"I just hope that all the objections and concerns by residents will actually be passed on to LCC when they come to debate it."

Among the objection letters is one from Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick.

Outlining his stance against the energy plant he listed traffic implications, air pollution and impacts on the environment and health to residents in the area.

He wrote: "Whilst I agree that we should be looking for alternative forms of energy and that we should decrease the amount of landfill produced, I do not believe that the energy centre provides the answer and does not provide enough incentive for the people of Preston.

"Incineration should be seen as a retrograde step given the various amounts of recycling and re-use of plastics currently available and I believe more emphasis on this should be taken by both the Government, supermarkets and local authorities."

No date has been set for when Lancashire County Council will determine the full application.