Protestors celebrate as Trafford council reject biomass power plant proposals

By Kevin McHugh

Health fears for Trafford residents have been quelled after the council last night rejected proposals for a biomass power plant in Davyhulme.

Planning committee members voted unanimously against the plans by Peel Energy, stating the plant would not be far enough from homes and would potentially have an adverse impact on the regeneration of the area.

The decision has delighted protest groups opposed to the controversial plant’s construction.

 “Last night’s decision vindicates all the hard work undertaken by the Breathe Clean Air Group,” said Pete Kilvert, chairman of the Breathe Clean Air Group.

“We are thrilled that the whole community stood together and wish to thank all the councillors who spoke out against the plant last night. This is an historic victory for the people of Urmston.”

The proposed 20 megawatt power station would have burned waste wood to create energy.

Trafford Council’s Planning Committee met at the George Carnall Leisure Centre in Urmston for the vote while protesters gathered outside with placards.

The proposals were initially recommended by planning officers. The Health Protection Agency also offered no resistance.

But last night Trafford councillors sided with concerned residents – a spokeswoman stating there was a ‘genuine and significant public concern of perceived impact on public health.’

Councillor for the Davyhulme East ward, Michael Cornes, said:  “I have spent the last 18 months working with residents from my ward and several adjoining wards – all of whom have been concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed power plant.

“Cross party working has never been so great, and this clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling and support the council has given to the residents as all local councillors were united in their opposition.”

Peel Energy project manager Jon England said: “We are disappointed that the planning committee has seen fit to turn down the expert evidence placed before it. The recommendation for approval was very clear.”

He added: “Modern and reliable power plants are required if the UK is to meet its renewable energy targets, avoid valuable resources going into landfill and to keep the lights on.”

The months leading up to last night’s vote saw a war of words develop between Peel Energy and opposition protest groups – each accusing the other of misrepresentation in their arguments.

The Breathe Clean Air Group, along with the international campaign group, Biofuelwatch, slammed assertions that biomass power is a low carbon renewable energy as ‘greenwash.’

Peel Energy responded by stating that protest literature circulated by the groups was ‘misleading and inaccurate.’

The energy group said they are considering their next course of action, but protesters are prepared for an appeal.

Mr Kilvert said: “We are awaiting Peel’s next move and will do what we have to, to protect the air we breathe.”


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