‘Step back for democracy’: Davyhulme biomass incinerator given green light by High Court judge

The highly controversial Davyhulme biomass plant has been given the go ahead after Trafford Council’s challenge to block the development was rejected at the High Court today.

A judge approved the plans for Barton Renewable Energy Plant (BREP) to be built despite years of debate and protests by the council and members of the Greater Manchester Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG).

The proposal sparked public outrage back in 2011 because of fears about air pollution and the plant’s proximity to residents.

After the judgement today, a BCAG spokesman said: “Today is a backward step for democracy and localism.

“We are deeply disappointed that generating money has been prioritised over ensuring everyone’s air quality is safe and legal.”

In 2011 councillors unanimously rejected the plans for the plant however this was then overturned in May last year by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles.

The ruling also comes at a time when Europe is taking action against England for persistent air pollutant problems and is facing fines of £300million per year until the high pollution levels are resolved.

Greater Manchester has been named as an area in need of lowering its carbon emissions with carbon dioxide levels more than 50% over the legal or safe limit.

The incinerator, due to be finished in 2016, will be built opposite the stadium of Salford Reds and Sale Sharks Rugby Clubs and will be almost as tall as the Chill Factore.

The small chimney means that pollution will be concentrated on areas such as Trafford Park with many houses, schools, parks and allotments in the area as well as the Trafford Centre and various sports facilities at Trafford Quays. 

MP for Stretford & Urmston MP Kate Green slammed the government’s decision to give the biomass plant the go ahead.

She said: “I know that many people living in Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme will be extremely disappointed that the High Court has rejected the Council’s challenge to the Barton Renewable Energy Plant.

“They will be very angry that the plant is allowed to go ahead, and I share their disappointment.

“Local people could not have made their opposition to this plant clearer, yet the government and the High Court has completely disregarded their views.

“The Tories make out that they want local people to have more say in planning decisions, but the Government have totally ignored the fact that local people do not want the incinerator here.

“The Tories localism strategy which was meant to give local people a say in decisions about their neighbourhood has turned out to be totally hollow.

The ruling at Manchester Civil Justice Centre at 10.30am attracted around twenty spectators.

Pete Kilvert, Chairman of the BCAG, said: “The public unanimously thought that the judge was dismissive to us. There was no explanation about the decision.

 “There are many subjects such as heat, and where the waste wood will be kept that were not brought up and were not adequately covered at the trial.”

Image courtesy of Peel Energy, with thanks.

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