Peel Holdings plan for an incinerator on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal has already been refused by Trafford Council as a "threat to residents" and opposed by Salford Council citing "serious concern in terms of health impacts and compliance with the air quality standards" (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Now Dr Mary Booth, a leading expert on air emissions from biomass power plants, has slammed the incinerator "as one of the most dangerous I have seen in terms of potential impacts to human health and general lack of oversight and rigor in permitting".
She adds that potential emissions from the incinerator "have consistently been underestimated or even actively misrepresented. This means that the Barton facility will present a greater threat to human health and the environment than the EA [Environment Agency] or the developer [Peel Holdings] admits."
Dr Booth, who runs the Partnership for Policy Integrity in the States and has reviewed numerous air emissions permits for wood-burning plants, has provided a 16 page technical submission to the forthcoming public hearing brought by Peel which has contested the refusal of planning permission for its incinerator.
In her submission she accuses Peel Holdings of "greenwashing" the project, slamming the developer's claims of a `clean', `safe' plant… "None of this is true" she states "The plant will emit as much particulate matter and NOx [Nitrogen Oxide] as a coal plant, along with heavy metals. Greenhouse gas emissions per unit energy generated are higher than from gas or coal."
Dr Booth's submission makes horrific reading, most of it technical concerning the variety of materials that will be burnt at the plant, and the health affects on the community. Yet the Environment Agency has already granted Peel an Environmental Permit, a move branded as "irresponsible" by the Breathe Clean Air Group which campaigns against the plant, and slated by Dr Booth on an array of levels. Like arsenic emissions…
"As it is, the arsenic emissions postulated in the Barton application result in a modelled concentration in the air near the ground that is 68.66% of the UK health standard" she states "It's surprising that EA would encourage development of a single facility that erodes air quality this much, particularly since they have admitted that actual emissions may be higher than estimated."
Dr Booth adds that safety provisions in the EA permit are "unenforceable" and that "promoting incineration that mobilizes lead and other metals, diffusing them into the atmosphere and depositing them in an already burdened environment, is bad public policy. People and the environment should be protected from new sources of pollution."
While the incinerator is based just across the Ship Canal in Trafford, this is very much a Salford community issue as our city is down wind of the plant due to the south-westerly prevailing wind.
"My testimony will largely focus on emissions of heavy metals from the facility, which I believe will represent a very serious threat to the health of the surrounding community" concludes Dr Booth "I will also comment on the net greenhouse gas emissions impact and I am dismayed by the inadequacy of the controls for nitrogen oxides".
This is yet more evidence against the Barton Renewable Energy Plant, to add to the wealth of information gathered by the Breathe Clean Air Group, which has consistently campaigned against Peel's plans with marches, petitions and street stalls.
"Dr Booth's testimony highlights the dangers of an incinerator burning waste wood, using old technology, in a populated area" says Pete Kilvert, the Group's Chairman "I urge local people to attend the Public Inquiry on 13th November and have their say."
The Public Inquiry begins November 13th at 10am at The International Suite, West Stand at Manchester United's Old Trafford.
The Breathe Clean Air Group is planning to provide a coach to take residents who don't have their own transport, to the first day of the Inquiry.
See www.BreatheCleanAirGroup.co.uk for details.