When TATA of India submitted its application to build a waste incinerator in Northwich in 2010, its declared intention was that the plant would be fully operational in 2016.
It is thanks mainly to the activities of the supporters of our campaign that the awful day which would be a disaster for the whole area has been delayed and, please God, will be totally avoided.
This Update is a summary of what has been happening over the past couple of months.
The Northwich incinerator variation planning application
As you will recall, this is an application by TATA to increase the output of the incinerator by 50% above the level approved in 2012. The Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has not yet made his decision.
The Government has received many objections from members of the public, MPs and parish councils.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is a fact that CWAC Council did not register an objection and thereby supported TATA, contrary to the impression that some senior councillors tried to create.
When the Council was challenged on this, there was an evasive response and we now have proof that at least one document was altered after initial publication in order to deceive the people whose lives will be turned upside down by having a huge rubbish burning incinerator close to their homes.
Evidently, nothing is too dodgy for the bureaucrats if it helps their pals in TATA.
The mystery fuel that TATA does not want to talk about
TATA claim that the reason for their claimed fantastic 50% increase in efficiency is mostly due to the super new type of waste that they intend to burn. It is therefore shocking that they refuse to disclose its composition in order to allay fears about the risk of increased pollution.
It would be cynical, but probably accurate, to suggest that if they do get approval to go to 90 MW output and the fuel does not live up to expectations they could then justify increasing the tonnage burned with all of the implications for even more HGVs on local roads.
In case of any doubt, CWAC did not ask TATA to provide information about the fuel when it had the opportunity.
By the way, Viridor is currently seeking to increase the annual tonnage at its incinerator in Runcorn by 25% because the waste now available does not generate enough heat to attain the designed electricity output. The exact opposite to the yarn TATA is spinning!
HS2 – The new elephant in the room
It is widely known that HS2 will run very close to the proposed sites of both the TATA and the OWM incinerators in Lostock.
Many in the area will also be in dreadful awareness of the planned reconstruction of the nearby A556 Northwich Bypass and various other works that will cause serious disruption and stress for years.
It therefore came as a surprise to one of our supporters who attended an official public meeting in Gadbrook Park last week, when a HS2 representative admitted that he had no knowledge about the incinerators or about the complications for construction and traffic disruption.
HS2 obviously did not feature in the original TATA planning application written in 2009/10 but, despite many promptings by CHAIN to CWAC and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, it continues to be ignored by the authorities.
You can bet that if HS2 was destined to plough through the suburbs of Chester, the Council would be up in arms but Northwich is another matter.
The impact on the local property market
The following is an email recently sent to CHAIN by a resident of Northwich.
‘Our close neighbour lives in a beautiful bungalow and wants to move. She had a family from Hale interested 4 weeks ago. They came back several times and were going ahead. Then they read the Northwich Guardian with the Incinerator as the headline. They pulled out straight away saying they could not bring their family up with that on the horizon.’
The above story speaks for itself although we should mention the many new residents in the Lostock/Rudheath/Northwich Town area who have told us that they were stitched up because the plants were not mentioned by their builder, estate agent or solicitor at any time during their purchase.
They are dreading having to live, literally, in the shadow of one of the largest incinerators in the UK and put up with the HGV traffic, or having to take a big hit on the value of their properties if they want to move out.