“Shame on you!” Heckling protestors campaigning against two proposed power stations at Sutton Bridge left councillors in no doubt their fight will go on after amendments to plans for one of them were agreed by the narrowest of margins.
Councillors attending the South Holland District Council meeting on Wednesday were greeted by a group of residents waving banners asking ‘We don’t want it... would you?’, as well as urging ‘Vote yes for public inquiry’ and calling for ‘No second power station in Sutton Bridge’.
But in spite of plans for the EDF gas-fired power station, on land adjacent to an existing one, being approved by seven votes to six, protestors are claiming a minor victory.
Campaigner Shirley Giles said: “It was very close and much better than last time when they all voted for it. We are not giving up.”
If both power stations are built, residents will live in the shadow of 17 towering chimneys - including two at the existing power station - and fear the combined emissions will pose a huge health hazard.
The district council is only a consultee for the application and the decision will now be left in the hands of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
But protestors feel councillors are not listening to their wishes, especially after 600 people voted in a recent referendum to demand a public referendum.
One councillor who voted against the plan this time was Coun Chris Brewis. After the meeting he said: “My particular concern is the sulphur emissions on start-up and shut down. It is already affecting residents living downwind of the current station. Whether this will be a matter for the Secretary of State we will haver to see, but I do feel there should be a public inquiry because there are far more complaints about emissions.”
Coun Michael Booth was also in favour of a public inquiry. He said: “I like to flick a switch and get electricity like anyone else, but I think many people have lost confidence and trust in the council and planning committee.”
Chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones reminded councillors that, while they sympathised with residents, they were there to consider whether the updated list of 28 conditions reflected the additional concerns of members. He said: “You have to think very carefully about calling for a public inquiry. DECC has the expertise to address concerns.”
Jeremy Bush spoke on behalf of EDF. He said: “When the application goes to DECC there will be a comprehensive updated environmental assessment that takes into account the culminative impact and climate change expectations, and opinions of highways and the Environment Agency regarding air quality. None of these agencies have raised concerns.”
Two hundred letters of concern and the petition are being sent to DECC and the Department for Communities and Local Government.