Trafford biomass plant gets the green light on appeal

Copied from Planning Portal

The highlighted paragraph, is of particular relevance to the current PREL application at Sutton Bridge for a biomass power station on Wingland site.

Trafford biomass plant gets the green light on appeal

Peel Energy has won its recovered appeal over its proposed 20 megawatt biomass power station earmarked for a site south of the Manchester Ship Canal at Davyhulme in Trafford, Greater Manchester.

The scheme – the Barton Renewable Energy Plant – was opposed by Trafford Council, many local resents as well as environmental groups.

However, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has allowed the appeal, acting on the recommendations of the inspector who held a public inquiry last November.

The Secretary of State agreed with the inspector that there was “a pressing national need for the development of renewable energy capacity”.

The decision letter said the SoS had taken account of the particular concerns which have arisen over the project but added “he sees no reason to disagree with the inspector’s conclusion that these concerns are not supported by any substantial evidence of any actual harm to health”.

Pickles added: “It is clear that in considering planning applications for waste management facilities, waste planning authorities should concern themselves with implementing the strategy for the development plan and not with the control of processes which are a matter for the pollution control authorities.

“The Secretary of State has attributed some weight to the strength of local feeling against the proposal but he agrees with the Inspector that it remains a fact that an Environmental Permit has been issued and that he must proceed on the assumption that the relevant pollution control regime will be properly applied and enforced”.

The letter went on to conclude: “Like the inspector, the Secretary of State considers that the perception of harm on the part of a large section of the local population does not outweigh the presumption in favour of granting permission for development which accords with the development plan”.

Roger Milne – 23 May 2013

Letter to local newspaper – PREL, Sutton Bridge

Dear sir,

With regards to the PREL planning application at Sutton Bridge. This application was not for an incinerator. An incinerator has only one purpose, to burn waste material. The Sutton Bridge installation will burn wood that has not been used for any other purpose. Wood is being burnt in order to produce electricity, not to dispose of it.

At the first meeting, I did not suggest that residents should have made clear that they did not want an incinerator, so no previous crystal ball gazing was required. My comments related to objections regarding increased traffic. I suggested that if residents had concerns about the Wingland site generating more traffic, these should have been raised when the site was allocated for employment use, some 10 years ago.

Some committee members suggested that they did not understand every aspect of the background information provided. I don’t feel that this undermined their ability to determine the application. Much of this information dealt with matters that were outside of the immediate planning issues and was therefore not vital to the reaching of a sound decision.

Some parties have suggested that SHDC will gain financially from this application. The district council does not own any land, or have any other financial interest in the Wingland site.

I’m mystified by the accusation that the deferment was a ruse. A discounted electricity supply, for residents, mentioned at public meetings, was referred to in lobbying letters and emails I received. Details were not provided to the committee at the first meeting. I felt it was therefore prudent to ensure that the details of this promise were clearly understood and even more importantly, the promise delivered.

Finally, the Environment Agency will be responsible for issuing the operating licence for this wood burning power station and air quality monitoring. Anybody with concerns regarding emissions from this process, should ensure that these concerns are submitted to the EA.

Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones
Chairman, Planning Committee
South Holland District Council

Attack!…. my response

09 May 2013
Re- The Proposed Incinerator development at Wingland/ Sutton Bridge

The constant reference to this application being for an incinerator, are disingenuous and clearly designed to be inflammatory, in the hope of whipping up the maximum support for the objectors’ statements.
An incinerator is designed for one purpose and one purpose only; to burn waste. The power station to be built at Sutton Bridge, will be burning unused wood, not waste wood. It is designed to generate electricity, not to dispose of waste, as in the case of an incinerator.

Mr Gambba – Jones,

I listened to the deliberations at the meeting held 17th April with dis-belief at your dismissive attitude to the objections of the proposed development; frankly it stank of nepotism, corruption, ignorance of facts and public opinions and, it seemed to be just a money making opportunity for certain individuals, plus the promoters and SHDC. But I came away hoping that you and your committee would see sense and ultimately reject the proposal. How wrong can one be?

For dismissive, substitute focussed and endeavouring to ensure that only relevant material planning considerations are discussed and used to determine the application, by the planning committee.
All the planning related facts were made available to committee members in the officer’s report. All other related documents, used by the officers to arrive at the recommendation, were available for committee members to read if they had any concerns regarding the information provided to them in the report.
Nepotism is about giving favourable treatment to a family member. I’m not aware of committee members with family connections to this development, as this would have been declared at the start of the meeting and the member would of left the chamber.
Corruption – any proof of that sir? Likewise, money making for individuals and SHDC?

As Chairman of SHDC’s planning committee, you are ultimately responsible for results and repercussions of the decisions of your committee, but it appears that you are being guided and/or manipulated by certain people and the promoters of the project, all of whom appear to have personal gain as their objective.

As chairman of the committee, my role is to keep good order, avoid time wasting through discussion of irrelevant matters and to ensure, as best I can, that the decision reached by the committee is sound and defendable should it go to appeal.
The committee is most certainly guided and in some respects manipulated, by the policies and guidance handed down to us by national government, the latest of this being the NPPF. Locally, SHDC has an adopted Local Plan, that is the basis (guide) for all our planning decisions.
All commercial developments are built for profit and some form of personal gain for those investing in the development.

How you can be so mis-guided by recently re-elected councillors who have lots to say about this project, but no conviction to vote either one way or the other, but just to leave all their options open for themselves defies belief, they are hypocrites in their own right and as such should be ignored.

Recently re-elected members? All members of the planning committee receive training in order to ensure that they understand the policies that must be used when determining planning applications. As such, the experience of the committee members is not nearly as important as their understanding of our planning policies and the national guidance.

At last nights meeting you again ignored the feelings and objections of the electorate (who ultimately pay your salary) and others, of how this development would affect the wellbeing of residents of Wingland, Sutton Bridge and beyond by bulldozing this approval through, all it seems for the price of land which I am led to believe SHDC currently owns.

Unfortunately, the planning process makes no allowance for the feelings or objections of objectors, unless these clearly relate to material planning issues. Likewise, we are not allowed to take the potential devaluing of property values into consideration when determining an application.
I and others on the committee are elected members and as such, do not receive a salary. SHDC has NO financial interest in the Wingland site and does not own any of the land allocated.

The big question is; how commercially viable is this project without government subsidies? It would appear that it is not commercially viable and as such will in time become a “white elephant” all at the expense of the tax payer and to the detriment of local residents. Probably leaving an enormous bill that SHDC will have to pick up.

In planning terms, this is no question at all. It is not for SHDC, or the planning dept, to judge the viability of any development.
There is no reason why SHDC, or the taxpayers, should suffer any financial losses should this power station project fail.

Sleep well Mr Gambba-Jones in the knowledge that your actions are making some members of your electorate very ill, they live in fear of health issues and devaluation of their properties and, that because of your decision making, you are probably at this time one of the most mistrusted and disliked people in South Lincolnshire. It is probably best that you resign your position.

It’s most unfortunate that residents if are making themselves ill worrying about issues that currently have no evidence to back them up. As stated previously, property values cannot be taken in to account when determining a planning application. I have no intention of considering my position. I am but one member of the committee. Just because I happen to be the chairman, doesn’t mean that I have any greater power, or influence, than any other member of the committee when it comes to the vote.

I don’t expect a reply because if I were you, I would not know where to begin!

As you will see from the above responses,I have no problem with knowing where to begin.

Jim Stalley – resident Sutton Bridge

Renewable energy policies give me that sinking feeling

Two articles in today’s Telegraph demonstrate the ludicrous situation our politicians have gotten us in to on renewable energy. The first, gives an insight in to the damage the Chinese are doing to the north of their country, in pursuit of the coal to needed to power their ever increasing chain of coal fired power stations. However, it’s not the fact that the Chinese are causing areas of their landscape to cave in to vast underground mines that caught my attention, but the scale of their appetite for coal, compared to the rest of the world. Quoting from the article by Malcolm Moore:

‘To keep its glittering skylines alight, China now uses more coal than the United States, Europe and Japan combined. But voracious mining has hollowed out vast tracts of the north of the country, leaving three million people living on ground that could collapse at any moment.’

The second article is entitled, Wind turbines ‘will treble under Coalition planning reforms’, by Louise Gray and contains the statement that demonstrates perfectly how the government is getting things so wrong. ‘A separate analysis by the Department of Energy and Climate Change says the reforms are essential to “deliver the infrastructure we need to reduce our carbon emissions”.

It’s that last statement that demonstrates to me, that it is the liberal fanatics who are in the driving seat when it comes to renewable energy in this country, not the pragmatists who understand how pointless the pursuit of carbon reduction is, when the Chinese so obviously don’t give a damn about their massive and ever increasing contribution to this global problem.

For me, a third article, written by Geoffrey Lean, actually strikes the right note and is much more likely to gain wider public support than continuing to bang on about reducing the UK’s measly 2% contribution to the global carbon emissions figure. This country is currently pursuing the ambitious goal of a low carbon economy, something we need to do reduce our continued reliance on fossil fuels.

I don’t agree with the emphasis we are currently seeing government place on the construction and installation of wind turbines. It would be far more beneficial to this country, if we could encourage as many residential and commercial properties as possible to install some form of renewable energy generation. Installing solar panels, air and ground source heat pumps, or maybe even anaerobic digesters, is far more likely to be both possible and productive than a wind turbine is every likely to be.

The sooner we stop the obsession with wind turbines and start using some of the ridiculous amounts of money given in subsidy to the operators across a wider audience, the sooner more of us will be making our own contribution to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and yes, our carbon emissions (a bit!).