CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a giant incinerator which residents fear could release clouds of toxic fumes into the air above Frodsham and Helsby could be approved today.
Peel Energy’s plans to develop a 20MW biomass renewable energy plant fuelled by up to 170,000 tonnes of waste wood each year on Ince Marshes are set to be discussed by councillors at a strategic planning meeting this afternoon (Thursday).
Despite years of campaigning by residents across Frodsham, Helsby, Alvanley, Elton and Ince against the erection of the 85m chimney which they fear will release ‘cancerous’ and ‘hazardous’ dioxins into the atmosphere, planning officers have recommended the plans should be approved subject to conditions.
Residents Against the Incinerator (RAIN) objected to the development, on the Ince Resource Recovery Park, on Marsh Lane, Ince, saying it would release more than 335,350 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year and create a ‘visible blot’ on the rural landscape.
Chairman of the RAIN group Barry Hill warned that if approved the application, which replaces original plans for a bio-ethanol plant, could open the ‘floodgates’ to further detrimental changes on the site, saying: “Overall what we are seeing is what we always feared would happen once Peel got permission to use that land.
“We knew that they would come back with changes and adaptations which will cause more harm than good and we believe that this will be the first of many changes.”
Mr Hill added that after almost five years of campaigning against the site many residents simply did not have any energy left to fight against the extensive development plans in the area.
“We have had two incinerators, a windfarm and Quinn Glass in a space of a few miles to compete against, we feel we are being dumped on,” he added.
Representatives from RAIN will be making a short presentation during the meeting today outlining their reasons against the development.
Peel Energy have said that the wood-fuelled plant could create as many as 20 jobs with the biomass plant creating enough energy to power 37,000 homes as well as provide hot water or steam to local businesses.
If Peel Energy receives planning permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council, building could begin as soon as 2012 with the plant expected to be fully operational in 2014.
For the outcome of today’s meeting visit www.chesterchronicle.co.uk and for a full report and reaction to the outcome see next week’s copy of The Chronicle.