By Tim Clarke 26/07 Updated: 27/07 00:36
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a £120million waste incinerator plant in a Worcestershire village have been backed by the Government, despite huge opposition from local residents.
The decision by the Department for Communities and Local Government has paved the way for the EnviRecover plant to be built at Hartlebury Trading Estate.
The incinerator, featuring a 75-foot tall stack, will burn 200,000 tonnes of waste each year from Worcestershire and Herefordshire and create enough electricity to power a town the size of Kidderminster.
The county council say the plant, which will be run by Mercia Waste Management, will enable them to divert more waste away from landfill.
But the plans were strongly opposed by WAIL (Worcestershire Residents Against Incineration and Landfill) amid fears over traffic levels and noise and smells generated at the site.
In a 150-page report, Secretary of State Eric Pickles said there was a ‘compelling and urgent need for the facility as proposed and that there was no other suitable alternative site within Herefordshire and Worcestershire’.
Mr Pickles also concluded there were ‘very special circumstances which clearly outweighed the potential harm to the greenbelt’.
But Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, who has strongly opposed the scheme, said he was disappointed by the decision.
“There are some modest but apparently useful conditions attached to the approval, but fundamentally the community has lost its brave fight,” he said.
“I am glad the community had a proper opportunity to put its case. Some of their agreements obviously carried great weight with the inspector, especially those relating to the greenbelt.
“But at the end of the day there was to be no happy ending to their David and Goliath story.
“I remain convinced there were better ways of dealing with the waste but, sadly, it looks unlikely that we will now be able to pursue them.”
Coun Anthony Blagg, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste Management, insisted the decision was good news for the people of Worcestershire.
“We continue to be as committed as ever to reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill,” he added.
“Sitting back and doing nothing simply was not an option because of the environmental and financial impact that it would have had in the future.”
John Plant, director of Mercia Waste Management, said the incinerator would generate enough electricity to power 20,000 homes every year.
“It endorses our belief that EnviRecover is an appropriate, robust, and sustainable waste management solution for the local authorities, a solution that brings added benefits through generating renewable energy, and stimulating the local economy.”
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