Campaigners in Runcorn against the massive 850,000 tonne incinerator at Weston Point are up in arms over the latest twist in the saga of this incinerator. The firm behind it, Ineos, want to increase the amount of refuse it carries by road from 85,000 to 480,000 tonnes a year, despite the lower figure being a firm commitment at the time of the planning application.
The reason they now want this change is that there are two linked issues which mean they cannot bring the waste in by rail as previously planned. The first issue is that there is insufficient waste within the North West to be fed into the plant by rail, and secondly there is a lack of rail head availability at any of the other likely waste sources around the country which could potentially supply them with waste by rail. This, they say, leaves them no option other than to bring in the waste by road.
Campaigners are furious over this ‘u-turn’ and are determined to stop it, and efforts on their part means that currently the number of Halton councillors objecting to this has risen from 8 to 16, along with the support of two local MP’s. Despite this there is still a recommendation on the table for the planning committee to approve this change.
The lesson for campaigners all around the country is that you cannot believe what you are told at any point of the planning stage, as once planning permission is given it is almost impossible to stop any changes.
Campaigners in Northwich and Middlewich are watching these developments with interest as in both areas the transport issue is high on the agenda, but more importantly the revelation that Ineos is finding it impossible to source sufficient waste to fuel their plant from with the North West must cast severe doubts over claims by both Tata and Covanta that they are looking to build these plants to deal with local waste. If Ineos, 15 miles away, cannot find sufficient waste to fuel their as yet unfinished plant, where do Tata and Covanta think they will be able to find it from? I think we should be told.