The Pre Inquiry meeting into the proposed Incinerator in Northwich got underway today with the Inspector Elizabeth Hill opening the meeting and welcoming all the interested parties. The great news is that despite the fact that it was out at Northwich Victoria FC, on a morning in the school holidays, there was a fabulous turnout of over 200 people. At one point early in the proceedings the Inspector had to halt the meeting as there were too many people standing at the back, and provision for more seating had to be made.
After general introductions she progressed to the vexed question of the timing of this Inquiry, coming as it will the day after the Middlewich Public Inquiry comes to an end. Tata/EON along with Cheshire West and Cheshire Council (CWAC) both lobbied to keep the dates as they currently stand however CHAIN argued that it was inappropriate to keep to this date as they would have finished the Middlewich Inquiry the day before. CHAIN argued that on recent evidence it was unlikely that the Middlewich Inquiry would finish on time leaving them absolutely no time to prepare and the real danger that they would not even be able to be present on that day. After hearing the arguments the inspector said that she would give a written ruling on this point later this week.
Tata/EON then asked for a variation to the normal running order of these meetings meaning that those who oppose would have to present first. Quite rightly the Inspector denied this application as there were no good reasons for changing it.
The meeting then covered off all the other procedural aspects of the Inquiry, due in October, and following a short recess for lunch it reconvened, cleared the last few items on the agenda and closed. The photos of the day show that not only were people queuing to get into the meeting but there was also a protest outside the meeting before hand to show the Inspector the depth of local feeling against this particular plan.