`Peel Holdings go to hell… Peel Holdings go to hell!'
`2-4-6-8 we don't want to incinerate…'
`What do we want? Clean air!
When do we want it? Now!!!'
Virtually the whole of Davyhulme and Urmston was united in protest against Peel Holdings yesterday, as a huge march snaked its way around the area with people showing support from shops and houses along the route. No-one in the area, it seems, wants what is being called the Barton Renewable Energy Plant, an incinerator that will burn all sorts of materials to generate power and heat.
Peel claims that the incinerator "would provide enough electricity to meet the average needs of up to 37,000 homes", that it fits in with the Government's renewable energy plans and that there would be "very low emissions into the atmosphere as flue gasses are filtered and pollutants captured by technology at the plant in order to conform to stringent European emissions regulations".
But local people are having none of it, and have formed the Breathe Clean Air Group to oppose the plans which will see the incinerator built on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, just across the water from the new Salford City Reds stadium, Irlam and Peel Green. While the site is formally in Trafford, this is very much a Salford issue, with campaigners arguing that a "cocktail of pollutants" will be heading Salford's way.
"They're going to be burning wood, general household waste, heavy metals and God knows what else, it's highly carcinogenic" says Duncan Moules, spokesman for the Breathe Clean Air Group "You've got basically a cocktail of pollutants and most people can understand, with a minimum of technical knowledge, that if you don't know what you're burning how can you filter it out?"
He points out that such incinerators produce tiny airborne particles of toxins called PM1s and PM1.25s which, when inhaled, cause major problems.
"It's going to affect unborn children right through to old people and a whole range of health problems are documented, listed and proven which, of course, Peel and the Government are trying to deny" adds Duncan "This is particularly worrying really because time and time again when they make mistakes all you get to hear is that `We've learnt from our mistakes' – well that isn't good enough. There's enough evidence now to suggest that there should be a full investigation into the health affects, and they should postpone any planning applications until both sides of the experts get together and are content with the findings."
The Breathe Clean Air Group has cross party support, including from Trafford MP Kate Green, who attended the march yesterday.
"No-one's going to benefit from this incinerator other than Peel which is going to make a stack of money out of it" says Duncan "They are using what we believe to be poor technology because that's all the Government state they have to use – so clearly, a multi billion pound company are putting profit before the health of people, including our children.
"Particulates can travel for miles and people have got a right to question what Peel are doing and be angry" he adds "No-one's going to be exempt from breathing these emissions in – everyone's going to breathe it."
Salford will be particularly affected, not just in the immediate environment of Barton, but beyond and into Salford Quays and MediaCityUK (see fall-out map).
"The prevailing wind will definitely blow it all to Salford Quays and you get cross winds as well, so everyone needs to get on board" says Duncan "We don't just want this incinerator stopped either, we've got to look at places like Irlam, because it's no good us stopping this one if they move it to Irlam and we've got to start the whole process again. We need a complete re-think on this and a policy change from the Government down."
Objections to the Barton Renewable Energy Plant have to be lodged with Trafford Council by 12th January and the Breathe Clean Air Group is urging Salford people to protest. There's details of how to do this and ready made letters and e-mails on the campaign group's website: click here or go to www.breathecleanairgroup.co.uk
There's also lots more detail on the site about the campaign, plus videos of yesterday's marchers shouting `Down with Peel!' and also the consultation document from Peel Holdings itself.