Plans for a gasification plant in Corby were formally given the seal of approval today (Tuesday) despite widespread objections.
Applicant Clean Power Properties says that the Shelton Road site will turn up to 195,000 tonnes of waste-derived fuel from across the region into electricity.
The plant, close to Rockingham Speedway, will be 22 metres high with three 45-metre flues grouped together into one stack, a weighbridge, education centre and a car park.
There is already an existing permission on the site, granted in 2014, for a smaller processing building using a different method to deal with waste.
Clean Power had been given approval to use the gasification process but withdrew the plans after they were called in by the Secretary of State.
It put in a new application to deal with local concerns, but the plans were still objected to by Corby Council, Cllr Rob McKellar and MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove.
Corby Council objected to the plans because, it said, there is not enough information provided on air quality, odour, noise and vibration.
There were also 60 comments from people living nearby, concerned that pollution and toxins will be harmful to health, that there are risks from disturbing land contaminated by the former steelworks and that the 106 HGV movements every day will damage the road infrastructure.
But despite the concerns, the plans were approved by Northants County Council’s development control committee with just one objection.
Cllr Elizabeth Coombe (Lab, Brickhill and Queensway) questioned the plant’s sustainability.
Sh said: “Others are accepting the need for this type of development but I am not in favour.
“My concerns are over the sustainability of it.”
Cllr Coombe also questioned the need for the plant, with a similar facility which is to be sited just half a mile away.
But Cllr Dennis Meredith (Lib Dem, Talavera) said the plant was ‘the way forward’.
He said: “I support this development because it is the way forward for our world.
“I have seen a lot of investment in these sites and there is a lot of thought that goes into it.
“I think it is a good thing for our environment.”
A summary by NCC planning officer Phil Watson concluded: “Overall it is considered that there are no policy grounds to object to the principle of the proposed waste development at the site.
“An analysis of the need for the facility has been undertaken and shows that there is a shortage of operational waste treatment capacity in Northamptonshire.
“The subject site would make a significant contribution to reducing the current operational capacity gap.”