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Labour leader’s wife joins fight over gasifier

File photos dated 8/3/2012 of the Duchess of Cambridge, with Queen Elizabeth II,  and file photo dated 27/9/2011 of Justine Thornton, with her husband Ed Miliband, who are both wearing the Davina dress, part of L.K. Bennett's signature collection. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date date: Thursday March 8, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Jubilee Fashion. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

File photos dated 8/3/2012 of the Duchess of Cambridge, with Queen Elizabeth II, and file photo dated 27/9/2011 of Justine Thornton, with her husband Ed Miliband, who are both wearing the Davina dress, part of L.K. Bennett's signature collection. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date date: Thursday March 8, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Jubilee Fashion. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

The barrister wife of Labour leader Ed Miliband, Justine Thornton, will represent a Sutton Bridge grandmother in her fight against a £165million biomass gasifier.

Parish councillor Shirley Giles (74) said she knows Miss Thornton “wins cases”.

Mrs Giles said: “She’s a high profile barrister and hopefully this will draw the attention to the case that it deserves.”

The pensioner filed a judicial review on February 18 of South Holland District Council’s decision to grant planning consent to EnergyPark Sutton Bridge.

The council has been asked to clarify its decision-making on the sustainability and efficiency of the plant – and the judicial review proceedings have been stayed to allow the council time to respond.

Sutton Bridge Parish Council started the legal action – having last year set up a £10,000 fighting fund – but then abandoned it after spending £2,500 on legal advice.

Mrs Giles offered at a parish council meeting to pay a further £2,000 required to ask questions of South Holland District Council, but that wasn’t accepted and she’s now soldiering on alone.

Her solicitors, Deighton Pierce Glynn, say the case raises important questions as planning documents suggest the plant will burn mainly imported wood and wood products.

Mrs Giles said: “As a local resident, I am worried about the effect of the gasifier on air quality, traffic and the environment in general.

“It is right next to 50 residential properties and two food processing factories employing several hundred local people.

“It just doesn’t make sense to import wood to burn, producing a proportionately low amount of electricity, subsidised by the public.

“We haven’t had the answers during the planning process and the district council will not tell us where the wood will come from.”

Solicitor Sue Willman said: “This case raises important questions about the sustainability of this biomass plant and of the burning of wood for energy in the UK. It is crucial that South Holland District Council answers Mrs Giles’ questions about the efficiency and sustainability of the plant.”

• Mrs Giles is holding a public meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday in The Constitutional Club, New Road, Sutton Bridge.

 

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