Arsenic fears stoke Davyhulme power plant protests

By Kevin McHugh

Anger over a proposed renewable energy plant in Davyhulme has heightened after suggestions that arsenic may be among the waste products emitted.  

The power station would burn biomass, predominantly waste wood, which protesters say releases the deadly element.

The Breathe Clean Air Group has already held two marches around the Urmston area in protest to plans by Peel Energy to build the controversial power station.

Pete Kilvert, chairman of the protest group, said: “Arsenic can kill humans quickly if consumed in large amounts, although small, long-term exposure can lead to a much slower death or other illnesses.”

“It’s not something we want in our neighbourhood,” he added.

The proposed plant would be built on a 10.5 acre site of land near the Barton Bridge, and would have an energy output of 20 megawatts.

It is expected that construction would create 100 jobs and operation and maintenance of the plant would require workers for an additional 15 posts.

Resistance groups argue that biomass power stations are not a legitimate renewable alternative to fossil or nuclear fuel types as they still release pollution into the atmosphere and it takes decades for new trees to grow.

But Peel Energy say the plant would not create health problems for local residents and the plant is fulfilling a local need.

Jonathan England, Development Director for Peel Energy said: “Objectors to the proposals have continued to distribute material which is both misleading and inaccurate.

“We have supported our planning application to Trafford Council with detailed air quality assessments which demonstrate that there will be an imperceptible effect on human health from the emissions from this plant.”

Should the proposals be accepted by the council construction would begin next year and the power station would be operational in 2014.

The protest to stop the building of the Davyhulme plant is part of a larger nationwide resistance to government subsidies for biofuel stations.

Recently Biofuel Watch, supported by the Campaign against Climate Change, staged a protest outside the Department for Energy and Climate Change in London to call for an end to bio-energy subsidising.

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