The Environment Agency has been dragged into the fight to stop Peel Holdings building its Barton Renewable Energy Plant, after it had granted an Environment Permit for the yet to be built incinerator by `flouting the law', according to the Breathe Clean Air Group.
Peel wants to build the unpopular biomass incinerator on the Trafford banks of the Manchester Ship Canal but emissions from the plant will be blown straight into Salford.
Both Salford Council and Trafford Council have opposed the plant on health grounds and a Public Inquiry was held last November looking into its suitability. At the Inquiry, Peel Energy was the only organisation which supported the plans.
Two weeks before the Inquiry began, however, the Environment Agency issued an Environment Permit for the incinerator – and the Breathe Clean Air Group, which has fought against Peel Holdings from the start, has now written to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, complaining about both the timing of the Permit and the `irregularities' associated with it.
The wrangle rests on which groups of residents live closest to the plant and will be affected by its emissions of nitrogen dioxide. The Environment Agency stated it was those living on Tindall Street in Peel Green but campaigners have now pointed out that it is residents who live on Wilfred Road.
The difference, they argue, will mean that residents on Wilfred Road will be well over the limit for exposure to nitrogen dioxide, because of their proximity to the M60 motorway plus two per cent extra exposure from the plant.
"Not only did the timing of the Permit go against us but certain facts about the danger of the incinerator were not revealed" says Pete Kilvert of the Breathe Clean Air Group "One crucial fact that was not revealed was that the Environment Agency failed to notice, when looking at Peel Energy's plans, that the nearest people to be affected by emissions from the plant lived on Wilfred Road, not Tindall Street, Peel Green."
The results of the Public Inquiry are due out in May, with Pickles making the final decision. In April, the Breathe Clean Air Group is taking the fight to Parliament to stress to MPs the dangers of burning biomass.
"We are not opposed to alternative energy" says Pete Kilvert, "but biomass should not be used as it adds to global warming and has serious health impacts."
If the incinerator gets the go ahead the emissions will be heading straight into Salford, calling at Wilfred Road first…
For a full background on the Barton Renewable Energy Plant see previous Salford Star article - click here and follow the links