Major blow to Corby campaign against waste plant

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Controversial plans for a contentious Corby waste plant look set to be given the go-ahead despite widespread local objections.

The Shelton Road gasifcation plant will be the subject of a Northamptonshire County Council development control meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) and officers have recommended that councillors give the plans the nod.

Applicants Clean Power Properties say that the plant will turn up to 195,000 tonnes of waste-derived fuel from across the region into electricity via the gasification process.

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 - anaerobic digestion - to deal with the waste. Clean Power put in a further application to use the gasification process instead last year, which was again given the go-ahead by county councillors. But the plans were called in by the Secretary of State, so Clean Power withdrew them.

This new application is designed to deal with some of the issues that local people had with the plans.

But it has again drawn objections from many quarters. Corby Council have objected to the plans because they say that there is not enough information provided on air quality, odour, noise and vibration.

Councillor Rob McKellar has objected because he says that the plant is too close to another similar facility which is to be situated at Gretton Brook Road, less than half a mile away.

He has concerns over the high temperatures reached during gasification causing a fire and explosion risk.

MP Tom Pursglove has objected on behalf of his constituents because he says that the development will result in an unacceptable increase in traffic, a health risk, and a negative visual impact.

There are also 60 comments from people living nearby. They are 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.

County Councillors at tomorrow’s meeting will be asked to consider whether the proposals are supportive of local and national planning and waste policies, and whether the impacts on the environment and the highways can be mitigated.

A summary by NCC planning officer Phil Watson concludes: “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.”

The report also says there will be no visual impact on Grade I listed Kirby Hall, that planning conditions can be applied to deal with noise emissions, and that HGV movements are not at unacceptable levels.

There are a large number of planning conditions attached to the proposed consent which will also be considered at tomorrow’s meeting which is open to members of the public. It will take place at 10am in the NCC council chamber at county hall in Northampton.