Controversial Corby waste plant set for approval

The two chimneys will stand at 75m high.
The two chimneys will stand at 75m high.

The controversial waste to energy incinerator proposed for Corby looks set to be approved.

Despite objections from a local authority, residents and nearby schools, officers at Northamptonshire County Council are recommending that councillors on the planning committee say yes to the plans at a decision meeting at County Hall in Northampton next Tuesday (Sept 24).

Devon-based developer Corby Limited wants to build the centre which could process up to 260,000 tonnes of waste per year. It will treat refuse-derived fuel and other industrial, commercial and household waste that cannot be recycled. It could generate up to 23 MWe which the developer says would meet the energy needs of most Corby households.

The plant will have five buildings as well as two 75m-tall chimneys. it is estimated there will be 175 HGV trips to and from the site each day.

The plans have faced harsh criticism from a number of quarters including East Northamptonshire Council, which says it strongly objects to the recovery centre on environmental and heritage grounds. It says nearby historic estates at Deene Park and Kirby Hall will be visually impacted by the plant.

The Brooke Weston Trust, which runs nearby Corby Business Academy and also Gretton Primary School, also has big worries about the impact on the air quality in the area and any subsequent effect on the health of its pupils.

In response the developer has said the method used by the academy trust to gauge the plume flow from the incinerator chimneys was inaccurate.

Corby Council, which could net £900,000 in business rates if the energy recovery centre is built, has not objected to the plans.

Public Health England says it has no significant concerns regarding a health risk to the local population providing the applicant takes all appropriate measures to prevent or control pollution.

In their recommendation to approve the energy recovery centre, officers at Northamptonshire County Council say the main things to consider are whether the proposal is in line with the county’s development plan and if the landscape, traffic and environment impacts can be ‘adequately and appropriately mitigated and controlled’.

The report concludes that according to the Northamptonshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan, additional waste processing is needed and the Corby industrial location fits within the plan. It also says there needs to be a clear evidence of risk to health and there is no evidence that the plant would pose an unmanageable risk.

The report says: “In conclusion the proposal is considered to be acceptable having regard to the National Planning Policy Framework, and Development Plan policies and the minor negative impacts relating to visual amenity and the impact on heritage assets, and the very minor increase in acid deposition levels in Weldon Park, are significantly outweighed by other policies in support of the principle of the development and the previous permissions for an energy from waste facility at the site.”

Waste is a contentious issue in the town. Residents at Priors Hall made 50 complaints to the Environment Agency over the August bank holiday about the smells and flies coming from the TW Composting plant near Gretton Road and the unpleasant stink from the Mick George site have also plagued the south end of Corby this summer, leading the agency to insist work is done to rectify the problem.

Corby MP Tom Pursglove and Labour Parliamentary candidate for Corby Beth Miller are united in their stance against the Shelton Road development. The MP presented to Parliament a 1,500 signature petition and Beth Miller is now calling on the committee to delay its decision on Tuesday.

She said: “I’ve written to the nine members of the committee, seven Conservative and two Labour, to request they delay or reject the application. Not one member of the committee represents Corby and I can’t help but think unconscious bias and group think is at play. I’m clear, Corby isn’t the dumping ground for half the country – we’re a thriving town and deserve better.”

Planning permission for a smaller centre on the same site was granted in September 2016 and is due to expire on Saturday (Sept 21).

The meeting takes place at 10am.