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Police want to make sure Sutton Bridge gasifier protest is safe for the public

Parish councillors Vicky Hills and Shirley Giles study the EnergyPark Sutton Bridge planning application documents in the village community library. ANL-140407-172846001

Parish councillors Vicky Hills and Shirley Giles study the EnergyPark Sutton Bridge planning application documents in the village community library. ANL-140407-172846001

Police are talking to organisers of a mass demonstration against a planned gasifier to make sure their car procession on the A17 is safe for the public.

Up to 60 cars could take part in the protest against the EnergyPark Sutton Bridge plan to build the power plant on 64 acres of industrial land at Wingland, near Sutton Bridge.

The protest will go ahead at 10am on Saturday, July 26 and the route is due to take in a stretch of the A17.

Police sergeant Gareth Boxall said: “We want to support peaceful and lawful protests but our primary aim is always to ensure the safety of the public.

“It is apparent to me that a protest on the A17 at such a peak time would be unsafe and would serve to cause nothing but disruption.

“I am therefore in discussions with the organisers to ensure this event takes place safely. Any police presence on the day will be to ensure the safety of the public.”

Residents have a catalogue of concerns about the biomass plant, including fears over fires breaking out so close to two gas fired power stations – one already built and a second planned.

The biomass gasifier will be fuelled by wood – 420,000 tonnes a year – and residents’ are more alarmed than ever about the risk of fires following last month’s huge blaze at the UK’s biggest wood recycling plant in South Yorkshire, which makes fuel for the biomass industry. The fire at the plant burned for almost a fortnight.

South Holland District Council passed a planning application for the gasifier last year, but that was overturned earlier this year when great-grandma Shirley Giles (74) took the case to judicial review.

Mrs Giles won her case on an argument about sustainability, but says the council didn’t properly consider the fire risk when it passed the plans and it still isn’t seen as a “material consideration”.

She said: “We don’t want this near two gas-fired power stations – if there is an explosion, we would get wiped out.”

Sutton Bridge Parish Council and hundreds of villagers who have signed petitions are campaigning to have the amended planning application decided at a public inquiry rather than by South Holland District Council so that all 
aspects are thoroughly examined.

The parish council has called an extraordinary meeting for 11.30am on Friday to debate its latest steps over the EnergyPark Sutton Bridge planning application.

 

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