The announcement that the Government has granted planning permission for TATA/EON to build and operate a huge waste incinerator in Lostock at the edge of Northwich Town Centre has been met by fear and dismay by local residents. CHAIN has been contacted by many who are bitter that the interests of two foreign business corporations have been put before the risks to the health and quality of life of the local community and the threat to the town itself. Above all, they are in disbelief that the outright opposition of residents, local councils and Cheshire West and Chester Council has been ignored and they want something done about it before it is too late.
Brian Cartwright, Chairman of CHAIN, commented:- “This news is devastating for those who live in Northwich and the surrounding area particularly because the Government has clearly not listened to the people who are united in their opposition to the incinerator proposal. It exposes the doctrine of ‘localism’ as a cynical confidence trick that will not be forgotten. CHAIN has examined the planning inspector’s report and decision letter from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and it is very obvious that the cogent arguments we and others put forward have largely been ignored and the claims of TATA/EON, who are only interested in the financial return, taken at face value. People are particularly incensed that the Government has not shown consistency in how it has treated Middlewich, where it recently turned down a planning application for a waste incinerator and yet it sees fit to allow one in Northwich just five miles away. In my view, the fact that the case put forward by CHAIN on behalf of the community in the Middlewich inquiry did get a serious hearing played a significant part in the outcome. The Government should also be aware that it has caused significant damage to the project to regenerate Northwich just as it is gaining momentum. Does anybody seriously believe that its prospects will not be badly affected by two chimneys, 90 metres tall, spreading dangerous emissions and an ugly building the size of a large football stadium looming over the town? There is still time for the Government to come to its senses and prevent what would be a catastrophe. CHAIN and the other parties involved, including the Council, have three months to lodge a legal challenge. We will be making a further announcement in due course. In the meantime, I urge all who are opposed to this attempted assault on our town not to give up. The people of Northwich deserve better than this.“